So I’ve been thinking a lot about countryside artefacts, and thinking more about how it is that we’ve come to have images of pastoral landscapes and chocolate-box cottages engraved onto what remains of our national id.
I’ve also been thinking about what Oscar Wilde said about wallpaper (see this post from week one). And then looking at some of William Morris’ designs for it. I recently happened upon the Guardian’s Homes supplement part of the paper left on a bus seat which contained series of articles in which city homes and interiors sought to recreate the qualities on country living. It’s interesting to me that we use these props as ways of borrowing what is essentially the facade of a particular lifestyle and displace it deliberately and obviously- all through a few bits of china.
We tie most of our associations of idealised country life into rural and natural imagery, and this is most often displayed on objects which are closely aligned with traditional social rituals and environments. Like tea-sets, for example.
As the population of rural England continues to grow, perhaps this traditional imagery can be subverted to represent a more realistic image of Britain: the urban landscape rather than the’cultural fiction’ of the pastoral. By emulating the rose-tinted styling of china, wallpaper and chintz but with symbols of the city instead of the country, can I nurture a more idealised and romanticised view of urban Britain and help promote a more attainable way of life?
And then I got a little carried away and made a bit more…
I must admit, I really like the idea of turning the most florally-repugnant objects of the most elderly-relative variety into bad-ass ‘urban chintz’. Potentially very amusing.