Please join the Jane Austen Society of North-America – South Carolina Region and the Friends of the Bluffton Library as we welcome Kristen Miller Zohn for a talk on “Gender and the Decorative Arts in Jane Austen”:
When: Saturday, November 5, 2022, 2:00 – 4:00 pm
What: Talk on “Gender and the Decorative Arts in Jane Austen’s Novels” with Kristen Miller Zohn*
Where: Bluffton Library, 120 Palmetto Way, Bluffton, SC
Free and open to the public; Light refreshments will be served
During the Georgian era, men and woman alike had a great interest in architecture, interior design, and clothing, and couples often worked together to make aesthetic decisions about their homes. While expensive refurbishments were paid for by men, expenditures on things like china, glass, and linen were handled by women. Manufacturers categorized and scaled furniture according to gender as a marketing technique, producing massive “men’s” and petite “ladies’’ tables, desks, and mirrors. Serving pots were used at Coffee Houses that were exclusively male haunts, while the woman of the house reigned over the tea table as she made the beverage in a social ceremony. Not only objects, but rooms were gendered, as well. Georgian ladies withdrew after dinner to the drawing room, which was considered the domain of women and was therefore generally decorated in a feminine mode. They left the men in the room to drink, smoke and talk over “manly” subjects, and dining rooms were therefore decorated with masculine style.
This slide lecture will present images of Regency-era decorative arts and interiors to enlighten how those described in Austen’s novels speak to gender roles. Examples will include: how Elinor and Edward Ferrars make plans for modest changes for the Parsonage at Delaford together by choosing wallpapers and deciding on ornamental plantings; why a visitor to Longbourn is so insistent that the men should not separate the women when they arrive in the drawing room as the tea is being served may be because they have had too much to drink in the dining room; and how the fact that General Tilney is so familiar with all of the adornments of his drawing room suggests that he had a hand in procuring them, perhaps without the advice of his wife, whose domain it should have been.
Kristen Miller Zohn lives and works in Columbus, Georgia, where she is the Executive Director of the Costume Society of America, an organization dedicated to advancing the global understanding of all aspects of dress and appearance. She also serves as Curator of Collections and Exhibitions for the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art in Laurel, Mississippi, which houses a collection of European and American art, Native American baskets, and Japanese woodblock prints. Her book The Currency of Taste: The Gibbons Georgian Silver Collection of the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art focuses on another important collection of the Museum. Kristen has an M.A. from Florida State University and a B.A. from Salem College in North Carolina, both in Art History. She is a 2016 graduate of The Summer School of the Attingham Trust for the Study of Historic Houses and Collections. She has written numerous exhibition catalogues and is a contributing author to Central to Their Lives: Southern Women Artists in the Johnson Collection; Grandeur of the Everyday: The Paintings of Dale Kennington; and the forthcoming The Edinburgh Companion to Jane Austen and the Arts from Edinburgh University Press. She is second author on an upcoming article about the Regency designer Thomas Hope and his influence on Neoclassical dress in the International Journal of the Classical Tradition. She has published essays about Jane Austen and the visual arts in Persuasions On-Line and Persuasions, and is a frequent lecturer on portraiture and decorative arts of the nineteenth century. Kristen has presented at eight AGMs, is a Life Member of JASNA, serves as a member of the national board, and was the co-coordinator with Jennifer Swenson for the 2021 AGM in Chicago.
Please RSVP: jasnavermont [at] gmail.com or the Bluffton Library, 843-255-6503