A Lady’s Worktable in the Corner, or Rethinking Everyday Practice in Eighteenth-Century Life

Submission 2024

An Eighteenth-Century Lady's Worktable for Sewing and Embroidering
Submitted by:Kyung Hwa Eun
Department:English and Film Studies

This photo features an eighteenth-century worktable in the corner of a lady’s bedroom at a house museum in Bath, England. The worktable might be too ordinary to pay attention to so that it can go unnoticed as a piece of furniture that fills the corner. However, I found this table intriguing as I began to rethink it as a space of individuality in which eighteenth-century women empower themselves to construct and practice their creativity and intellectual ability through everyday practice of sewing and embroidering: designing decorative patterns and presenting their interpretation of literary works in pictorial needlework.

My research analyses descriptions of everyday practice of shopping and shopkeeping in eighteenth-century novels that are usually neglected as backdrops which have nothing to do with plot development. I argue that the descriptions play a pivotal role in constructing a narrative of individuality, rethinking the descriptions as an empowering space in which female characters develop and present their desire for social identity and economic independence.

I hope my research to help many community members appreciate sometimes easily forgotten moments in everyday life.

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How was your image created?
I took this photo with an iPhone without a flash. It is an original image–without cropping, alteration, or editing (photoshopping).