Interiors of empire

Objects, space and identity within the Indian Subcontinent, c. 1800-1947

By Robin Jones

Interiors of empire

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-6942-0
  • Pages: 272
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: November 2007
  • BIC Category: Humanities / Colonialism & imperialism, Professional Interior Design, HISTORY / Social History, ARCHITECTURE / Interior Design / General, Colonialism & imperialism, Social & cultural history, History
  • Series: Studies in Design and Material Culture


Interiors of Empire uses the methods of design history and material culture studies to analyse the domestic and public interiors of the British and local middle class during the heyday of the British Raj. It contrasts representations of that space within contemporary discourse with analysis of historical evidence, the varying uses of such space, and relevant social practices.

Through detailed discussion of these texts, spaces, objects and practices, this study locates the domestic interiors and public spaces of empire in the history of the British colonisation of India. The book discusses the imagined barrier of the domestic against the local environment, the intrusions of the local and the effects of this on the British in India, and assesses the gradual westernisation of domestic and public spaces of empire.

This work will be of interest to students and scholars of design history, material culture and colonial history.


List of figures
1. Locating the East Indian home: settlement, forms of housing and the local environment
2. Objects, memory and identity: the Anglo-Indian domestic sphere
3. 'Furnished in English style': globalization of local elite domestic interiors
4. Domesticating authority in the public spaces of empire


Robin D. Jones is Principal Lecturer in Design History and Visual Art Studies at Southampton Solent University

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