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Friday, 7 October 2011

Terence Conran and the Seventies Victorian Revival

A still from the BBC’s If Walls Could Talk: The History of the Home

I’ve been absolutely riveted by the two episodes of  the BBC’s If Walls Could Talk: The History of the Home that I have seen. I find the history of the home so inspiring and illuminating. In the episode that’s available on BBC iPlayer until October 13th 2011, historian Lucy Worsley looks at the story of the kitchen. The section on the Sixties and Seventies Victorian revival caught my attention because it was very in sync with the ‘new country’ style I’m so inspired by at the moment.

This is from the programme: ‘Having spent all their money creating open-plan kitchens, hunting for cheap antique Victoriana became chic among young middle-class people. Terence Conran led this new style in home décor.  And along with open-plan kitchens he introduced Victorian style reproduction crockery and cheap pine tables to the country, through Habitat. [Conran:] “I’ve always been fascinated by the below-the-stairs objects of the Victorian era, which were made as very useful, simple objects, the design of them probably wasn’t really considered as such, they just had to do their job. And I found these objects very satisfying, very beautiful, and they’ve certainly influenced my taste.”’

I love rummaging for very ordinary kitchenalia whenever I get the chance; earthenware pots, wooden chopping boards and spoons, aluminium colanders and I have a collection of horn handled knives that is getting out of hand - so it was encouraging to read the great TC’s thoughts on the subject. For me too these objects are deeply satisfying to use and infinitely preferable to plastic. 

A still from the BBC’s If Walls Could Talk: The History of the Home