Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Eric H. Ash


This project examines the refinement of sexuality over the course of the long eighteenth century in Britain in relation to a changing social and material world. The class connotations associated with seduction and sexual violence were used to elevate and denigrate men who aligned on one side of the divide between restraint and force, and the sexual nature of men was often indicated by the positional goods they were associated with. In person and in print, objects became freighted with meanings connecting sexuality and status in ways that could not be separated. By analyzing the decorative objects and luxury furnishings depicted in prints and literature, it is possible to understand the construction of many social norms connected to sexuality. Masculinity, restraint, feminine posture, and ‘turkey rugs’ were diachronically and synchronically linked to the representations of people and objects in social situations, shaping and shaped by the magnification inherent in visual reproductions.

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