Mary Evans collection of the week: The Museum of the Home
We’ve been doing a lot of stuff at home this year. Just about everything in fact. And Christmas will be no different, so we thought we’d revisit a collection this week that specialises in the subject.
The Museum of the Home, formerly known as the Geffrye Museum, explores the home and the way people have lived over the past 400 years, reflecting changes in society and behaviour as well as style, fashion and taste.
The museum, set in former almshouses of the Ironmongers’ Company in Hoxton, east London, was opened in 1914, and the 18th century buildings and gardens provide a perfect setting for the series of rooms through which the home of the past can be explored.
The museum has been closed for refurbishment recently with plans to reopen at some point in 2021, Covid allowing. But those who have visited in the past during December and early January, will know that the rooms decorated for Christmas are a particular treat.
The image collection includes photographs of furniture, paintings, chinaware, catalogues and other domestic and personal objects such as tea caddies, wine glasses, Christmas baubles and childhood toys. For wallpaper connoisseurs, there are samples galore, as well as fascinating and finely detailed furniture catalogues. A handwritten cookery book dating from 1724 and containing recipes for such delights as consumption syrup and calves’ head hash is a particular favourite, as is what might be the most tragically minimalist Christmas tree ever from the 1930s.
You can view an edited selection here.Mary Evans Picture Library newsletter – 18 December, 2020.