Physical and emotional comfort in the country house, England and Sweden c.1680-1820
Physical comfort and emotional well-being are common expectations and aspirations across 21st-century Europe. This Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowship explores an important episode in the historical development of these cultural and social norms.
The project involves Dr Cristina Prytz (Marie-Curie Fellow) and Professor Jon Stobart, and focuses on the changing relationship between physical and emotional comfort in the context of the 18th-century country house in England and Sweden. It explores a number of key questions about how the desire for physical comfort and convenience was reflected in different arrangement of rooms and in the deployment of new forms of technology. But we also focus on house the arrangement of furniture created a comfortable room and the ongoing and mundane spending necessary to service and maintain a comfortable life. Comfort was also found through personal relationships with family and friends, and in the reassurance of familiar surroundings. It was embodied through consuming food and drink and avoiding harmful influences, from smoke to bugs. Exploring these various aspects of comfort in very different economic, social and climatic contexts reveals the common values, needs and desires of the European elite.