Gene Bawden

Examining the scripting of Australia's nineteenth-century domestic interiors.

PhD candidate

  • Gene Bawden

Via three significant, but largely under acknowledged locally authored advice manuals: William Henry Rocke’s Remarks on Furniture and the Interior Decoration of Houses (1874); Harriet Frances Wicken’s Australian Home (1891) and Wilhelmina Rawson’s Australian Enquiry Book (1891), Comfort and Judgement reflects on the manuals’ re-imagining of the traditions of the English interior; the persuasive authority of nineteenth-century printed matter; and the period’s use of language as a tool of social identification. It encourages a union between the disciplines of interior and graphic design; and explores how 120 year-old domestic advice can shape twenty first-century typographic mark-making.

The analysis of the manuals provided the historical framework for the practice, and shaped how the words were to be rendered as both items of graphic design and interior objects that ‘speak’ of comfort–in emotional belonging and physical repose–and judgement–of taste, class and gender.