The Rincliffe Gallery’s latest exhibition, Style Within: Interior Design of the 19th Century, offers a sense of the decorating techniques found during that dramatically changing world by combining images of historic interiors and examples of furniture and decorations.
The 19th-century home was a refuge from the fast-paced outside world introduced by the Industrial Revolution between 1750 and 1900. Styles in these homes expressed the belief that historical reference suggested good values and taste and was a way to experience life in a past seen as wonderful, beautiful and rich.
Revivalism predominates the design of furnishings and buildings of the 19th century. Furnishings that recreated past styles were familiar and less threatening in the changing world. They offered the newly wealthy and middle class, who might be unsure about good taste, a gauge for fashion and gentility.
Those furnishings also gave nations a visual way of reinforcing their political structure or unifying under a common past. Revivalism in interior design eased the growing consumer population of the 19th century into the new world of mass production, greater choice and disposable goods.
The exhibition is on display in the Rincliffe Gallery on the third floor of Main Building at 3141 Chestnut St. from Jan. 16 through March 27. It’s open and free to the public from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.