This book, which Jeremy Aynsley co-edited with Dr Charlotte Grant, is the major publication derived from a five-year programme of research carried out by the AHRC RCA Centre for the Study of the Domestic Interior which Aysnley led as the Centre's Director. It represents an ambitious and authoritative overview of changing representations of the domestic interior and offers 10 thematic chapters that deal with specific genres of representation of the interior, with discrete geographical and chronological foci.
Imagined Interiors examines in detail the changing ways in which the domestic interior has been represented in the West over the last 500 years. It looks at a rich array of depictions of the home, including paintings, novels, architectural plans, advertisements, television, film, diaries, sketches and photographs. Dealing with both public and private attitudes to the domestic interior, the book analyses a vast range of material, from grand decorative schemes to homely cottages. Its originality lies in its consideration of a broad range of representational media at times of their increasing significance.
Aynsley's co-authored essay, Displaying Designs for the Interior in Europe and America, 1870–1950, analyses the various strategies employed to present designs for the domestic interior to a professional and public audience in Europe and America in the period of early Modernism. Aynsley argues that the period witnessed a concerted effort among professional bodies to promote an advanced vision of the modern interior, while at the level of popular representation more traditional and national values were also often current, and were central to a conventional meaning of 'home'.
Presentations on the research undertaken towards the book included Aarhus University, Department of Art History, February 2004; Barcelona University, Department of Art History, April 2004; The Wolfsonian, Florida International University, December 2005; and Bard Center for Graduate Studies, New York, March 2006.
Domestic Interiors Database comprises a broad-ranging analytical survey of the ways in which the interior has been represented since the Renaissance in Western Europe and North America. With over 3,300 entries, the database brings together a carefully selected group of representations of the interior across six centuries that are more extensive, numerous and accessible than anything previously available.
Jeremy Aynsley's contribution to the Domestic Interiors Database was to manage the research project in its entirety. This involved steering researchers in their content and research methodologies and presenting the project on a regular basis to the Centre for the Study of the Domestic Interiors's Academic Advisory Committee. In the final year, he chaired themed workshops on particular areas of the history of the domestic interior. He also managed the editorial stages of the project, including reviewing over 1,000 entries in preparation for their going online.Aynsley's own 130 individual entries arose from his research into late nineteenth- and twentieth-century European and American design and the domestic interior. They were intended to draw attention to lesser-known sources for interpreting the domestic interior and were chosen to complement the entries made by other members of the research team. Equal attention was given to visual and textual sources. His entries include US trade literature of the 1930s in which new materials for the building industry were promoted. Literary sources in the form of extracts from novels, poetry and stage instructions written by major playwrights are included to show their importance for establishing the imagined interior and various means employed by writers to convey subject-object relations within fictional domestic space. Another group of entries indicates the changing views of the gendered nature of the interior and its philosophical implications in the writings of Walter Benjamin, Pierre Bourdieu, Gaston Bachelard, Georges Perec and Laura Mulvey.