The 18th century became a turning point in which more and more people were able to have access to decorative ornaments. While the poorer people in the UK were still lagging behind in having decorative items to decorate their homes with, the middle and upper classes were becoming more interested in everything from exquisite furniture to ceramics.
Decorative ornaments can be defined as being a thing that is used to make something more appealing and attractive and can also sometimes serve no practical purpose, however this was not the case during the 1800s. The pieces people chose to decorate their homes with were often as functional as they were beautiful and were used for dining, drinking tea and for displaying flowers.
Lighting in the 18th century was hard to come by and could be rather expensive, particularly after candles were taxed in 1709. Despite this, people still found ways to keep their homes lit and sought alternative candle materials such as tallow to ensure they had a source of light in their homes. Candlesticks were a prominent feature of many households in the 1700s and some could certainly be considered decorative and ornamental due to their design and style.
One of the ways in which we have decorated our homes throughout history is through artwork in the form of paintings or pictures. Prints and paintings were very much a prominent feature in households and were hung up around the home. In the 1730’s people started to feature family portrait artwork in their homes too.
In the 18th century curtains were one of the main ways in which rooms were given some warmth and colour. Curtains were often hung in pairs and came with a valance that aimed to create a frame around the window. Curtain fabric was dyed in greens, reds and blues.
Vases were a very important way in which people could showcase their personalities in the 1700s and could be found in almost every household. Not only were these decorative and painted beautifully, they also had the added benefit of being functional and held flowers too!
Today we can often find some spectacular examples of decorative tea sets from the 1800s and their pretty designs and colours made them a popular ornament to have displayed in the house. Drinking tea was popular in the 1700s as it was a way in which people were able to catch up and entertain their friends, which is what made them such an important part of everyday life then.
It seems that the biggest difference between the decorative ornaments we use to embellish our homes today in comparison to the ones we used in the past is the fact that people in the 18th century rarely bought decorative items purely for the purpose of display. The combined force of function and fashion is something we could all look towards as inspiration for our own future purchases.