Bachelors of a different sort

Queer aesthetics, material culture and the modern interior in Britain

By John Potvin

Bachelors of a different sort


  • Paperback

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8499-7
  • Pages: 328
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £75.00
  • Published Date: May 2014
  • BIC Category: HISTORY / Social History, Humanities / Social & cultural history, History, Social & cultural history
  • Series: Studies in Design and Material Culture


The bachelor has long held an ambivalent, uncomfortable and even at times unfriendly position in society. This book carefully considers the complicated relationships between the modern queer bachelor and interior design, material culture and aesthetics in Britain between 1885 and 1957. The seven deadly sins of the modern bachelor (queerness, idolatry, askesis, decadence, decoration, glamour and artifice) comprise a contested site and reveal in their respective ways the distinctly queer twinning of shame and resistance. It pays close attention to the interiors of Lord Ronald Gower, Alfred Taylor, Oscar Wilde, Charles Shannon and Charles Ricketts, Edward Perry Warren and John Marshall, Sir Cedric Morris and Arthur Lett-Haines, Noël Coward and Cecil Beaton. Richly illustrated and written in a lively and accessible manner, Bachelors of a different sort is at once theoretically ambitious and rich in its use of archival and various historical sources.


John Potvin is Associate Professor in Art History at Concordia University, Canada



Historians of British Art book prize for a single-author work relating to a period after 1800


1. Men of a different sort: the seven deadly sins of the modern bachelor
Wilde spaces
2. 'God save the Queen': Lord Gower, idolatry and the cult of the bric-à-brac diva
3. Vale(d) decadence: Charles Ricketts, Charles Shannon and the Wilde factor
Country living
4. Askesis and the Greek Ideal: Edward Perry Warren and Lewes House
5. Of art and irises: Cedric Morris, Arthur Lett-Haines and the decorative ideal
Stage design for living
6. Coward in the room: interwar glamour and the performances of a queer modernity
7. Cecil Beaton: artifice as resistance
8. Conclusion: manifesto for a queer home of one's own

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