The Georgian age, an era of wealth, industry and empire, saw consumerism – the appetite to acquire, to possess, and to display – becoming an increasingly important social and economic phenomenon. Greater numbers of the aspiring middle classes saw their disposable income increase and shopping for luxury items became a way of displaying one’s status in society. The selection and purchase of goods was transformed into a pleasurable pursuit in its own right and shopping became a fashionable leisure and social activity for both sexes.

Consuming Passions: Luxury Shopping in Georgian Britain seeks to explore the world of luxury consumption and Georgian polite shopping in the eighteenth century. Focusing on luxury objects and commodities – such as those required to furnish, fill and decorate homes in the latest taste, to clothe and accessorise, to entertain or simply satisfy the desire for the novel, a significant component of the exhibition will look at the retail experiences and shopping practices of wealthy Georgian Society. Taking its cue from the Fairfaxes, who were discerning customers and from whose household we are fortunate to have a rich archival depository to draw upon, the exhibition will examine the broader retail landscape of Georgian Britain as well as that of burgeoning provincial centres of polite society.



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Thursday 28 May 2015
until Thursday 31 Dec 2015

Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm; Sunday 11am to 4pm

Fairfax House, Castlegate, York, YO1 9RN

Free as part of admission to the house

Friends of Fairfax House