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Neat and Not too Showy

Episode 25 of 30

Duration:
15 minutes
First broadcast:
Friday 30 October 2009

Historian Amanda Vickery presents a series which reveals the hidden history of home over 400 years. She draws on first-hand accounts from letters and diaries, many of which have never been heard before. Including songs which have been specially recorded for the series.

These days we take it for granted that the home is a place of refuge in which we express our true self; that idea was an invention of the 18th century. Prof Vickery explores the invention of taste, and the role of interior decor in creating both social prestige and a successful marriage.

Moving into the 19th century, Prof Vickery explores the homes of people lower down the social scale and their ideas about how they wanted them to look. She draws on a series of funny and revealing letters which she discovered in the archive of a wallpaper company.

Readers: Deborah Findlay, John Sessions, Madeleine Brolly and Simon Tcherniak.

Singers: Gwyneth Herbert and Thomas Guthrie, with David Owen Norris at the keyboard.

A Loftus production for BBC Radio 4.

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