Transactions of the Royal Historical Society (Sixth Series)

Research Article

THE GENDER OF THE PLACE: BUILDING AND LANDSCAPE IN WOMEN-AUTHORED TEXTS IN ENGLAND OF THE 1790s

William Stafford

Abstract

The paper surveys almost fifty women-authored texts of the 1790s, asking what they reveal about the gendering of space in elite houses, about the meaning of buildings and landscapes for women and about women's aesthetic preferences. They imply that elite houses had largely ungendered public, private and intermediate spaces. Castles had negative meanings for women, but not ‘olden time’ houses; there was some disapproval of exclusionary landscapes and an idealisation of country life (but not for hunting) and of rural cottages (but not rural villas). A neoclassical aesthetic was endorsed by women writers alongside sensibility and the picturesque.

(Received January 01 2002)