Eva Forster-Garbutt

(A)dressing the room: Decorative interior linings in New Zealand’s Victorian and Edwardian homes (1837-1914)

Eva photo

Decorative interior linings such as carpets, linoleum, wallpaper, and patterned ceilings, are the backgrounds against which our interiors are designed. They reflect consumer choices influenced by the availability of products, individual tastes, design trends and the wider social and economic context. This is as true today as it was in the past. An understanding of the types of interior linings used in historic houses can assist in the development of chronologies of the home, inform its restoration, and shed light on the individuals who occupied them and the broader contexts they operated within. This knowledge is of value to architectural historians and heritage professionals who are tasked with the assessment, documentation, or restoration of houses.

Eva’s research proposes to establish a reference source of interior linings imported and used in New Zealand homes during the Victorian and Edwardian period to inform the practice of heritage professionals, and to build towards a comprehensive understanding of New Zealand’s interior design history and the factors that influenced this. The research will draw on archival sources as well as physical samples of linings held in museum collections, associated with heritage properties, and those that have been documented by conservation architects and buildings archaeologists in New Zealand.


Dr Nigel Isaacs and Prof Joanna Merwood-Salisbury