Considered a realm of refinement, tranquility, and security, the nineteenth-century home was intrinsically bound to the expectations of women’s roles in the family and society. Domestic ideals of the period were conveyed through women’s magazines and manuals, fictional works, songs, and other elements of popular culture, emphasizing the responsibilities and creative inclinations of mothers and daughters alike.
Although an age of increasing mass production and consumption of goods, the nineteenth century emphasized the “feminine” implement of the needle as an economical way of beautifying the home and enhancing one’s appearance. The exploration of domestic crafts in this exhibition is centered around examples of needlework from the Raynham Hall Collection. Whether plain or decorative, handcrafted or machine-made, these pieces showcase the artistic dexterity and dedication of their makers.