Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 122

Curtain Rod Holder

ca. 1848 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Object Type
This bracket (one of a pair) was intended to support a curtain rail unning across the top of a window frame from which the window curtains were suspended.

Historical Associations
This curtain-rod holder was amongst the 78 objects included in Henry Cole's notorious exhibition, Examples of False Principles of Decoration, held at Marlborough House in 1852. In an appendix to the exhibition catalogue, Cole wrote; 'There has arisen a new species of ornament of the most objectionable kind, which is desirable at once to deprecate on account of its complete departure from just taste and true principles. This may be called the natural or imitative style, and is seen in its worst development in some of the articles of form.' This bracket is dismissed as being 'a direct imitation of nature' and therefore 'possessing unfitness of purpose.' The didactic role of the 'False Principles' display was to discourage the public from purchasing articles deemed undesirable by the Museum's organisers and to guide consumption away from the 'ignorant search after the merely novel'.

People
The reception accorded this exhibition quickly proved that Cole and his assistant, the artist Richard Redgrave had rather misjudged matters. Every article selected for the exhibition, however unprincipled its design might be, was at least commercially very successful. The public were merely amused by the selection but remained unconverted. The manufacturers whose products were criticised were mortified and immediately complained. The exhibition was closed after only two weeks.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Gilt brass and white glass
Brief Description
Gilt brass and white glass, England, Birmingham (probably), made by R.W. Winfield, ca.1848
Physical Description
Curtain rod holder of gilt brass and glass, the stem bent in a U shape to accommodate the rod, the front decorated with cast leaves and surmounted by a convolvulus flower in white glass; the metal gilt.
Dimensions
  • Height: 36cm
  • Width: 14cm
  • Depth: 10cm
Dimensions checked: Measured; 11/05/1999 by Met.Cons.
Gallery Label
British Galleries: Several of the items singled out for criticism at Marlborough House were in fact popular and best-selling articles for their manufacturers, including these curtain brackets in the shape of a flower.(27/03/2003)
Subjects depicted
Summary
Object Type
This bracket (one of a pair) was intended to support a curtain rail unning across the top of a window frame from which the window curtains were suspended.

Historical Associations
This curtain-rod holder was amongst the 78 objects included in Henry Cole's notorious exhibition, Examples of False Principles of Decoration, held at Marlborough House in 1852. In an appendix to the exhibition catalogue, Cole wrote; 'There has arisen a new species of ornament of the most objectionable kind, which is desirable at once to deprecate on account of its complete departure from just taste and true principles. This may be called the natural or imitative style, and is seen in its worst development in some of the articles of form.' This bracket is dismissed as being 'a direct imitation of nature' and therefore 'possessing unfitness of purpose.' The didactic role of the 'False Principles' display was to discourage the public from purchasing articles deemed undesirable by the Museum's organisers and to guide consumption away from the 'ignorant search after the merely novel'.

People
The reception accorded this exhibition quickly proved that Cole and his assistant, the artist Richard Redgrave had rather misjudged matters. Every article selected for the exhibition, however unprincipled its design might be, was at least commercially very successful. The public were merely amused by the selection but remained unconverted. The manufacturers whose products were criticised were mortified and immediately complained. The exhibition was closed after only two weeks.
Collection
Accession Number
M.19-1974

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record createdMarch 27, 2003
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