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Handcrafting a national industry : the production and patronage of Alexander Morton & Company's Donegal carpets

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Handcrafting a national industry : the production and patronage of Alexander Morton & Company's Donegal carpets

Cheasley Paterson, Elaine (1999) Handcrafting a national industry : the production and patronage of Alexander Morton & Company's Donegal carpets. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This thesis offers a social history of Alexander Morton & Company's Donegal carpets--their production and patronage. These nineteenth-century carpets were promoted as artistic products and appealed to upper- and middle-class consumers in Britain, Ireland, North America, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. The new carpet industry, based in Ireland, catered to the popular taste for all things Oriental and to the socialist ideals of the Arts and Crafts Movement (1850-1920). Donegal carpet designs ranged from Eastern motifs to Arts and Crafts florals to Celtic interlace. Prominent designers in the Arts and Crafts Movement created designs for these carpets which were also accepted as part of the visual arts of the Celtic Revival in Ireland. The Donegal carpet's success can be explained using Pierre Bourdieu's theory concerning the social formation of taste. In this study of Morton's Donegal carpets, I test the validity of three aspects of Bourdieu's theory: habitus, cultural codes, and symbolic capital. Archival material, press accounts and historical writing reveal several issues involved in this enterprise,' such as ethnicity, gender, class and cultural appropriation, These issues are addressed in an examination of this literature as well as the design transitions endorsed by Morton & Co. Ultimately, this study is an attempt to locate the Donegal carpets within the material and ideological conditions of consumption and production. In addition, a case study of the Morton designer Mary Seton Watts highlights one woman's art production.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Cheasley Paterson, Elaine
Pagination:viii, 132 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (M.A.)
Program:Art History
Date:1999
Thesis Supervisor(s):Helland, Janice
ID Code:920
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:15
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:17
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