Accepted paper:

From a residence to a home: concepts of comfort and luxury of the Swedish ironmasters during the late 18th and early 19th century


Marie Steinrud (Stockholm University)

Paper short abstract:

My paper focuses on how a new elite, the ironmasters of Bergslagen in Sweden, constructed and re-constructed places they came to call home. How did they interpret the correlation between ideas of ‘home’ and ‘comfort’ as well as ‘luxury’?

Paper long abstract:

My paper is a part of my research project that focuses on the ironmasters of Bergslagen, a district in Sweden where mining and metallurgic industry have been important since the Middle Ages. In my project I study how the ironmasters build a common identity and common goals, as well as forming themselves as an influential elite group in society. This paper focuses on their mansions and the idea of creating a home, suitable for an up and coming ironmaster. From the late 18th century, many of the ironmasters lived permanently on their estates close to the iron works. Smaller and simpler houses were kept in the cities, mostly Stockholm, to ensure connections to the corridors of power and to the pleasures of the country's capital city. The mansions were often situated in remote places, depending on good roads or at least a decent winter that made it possible to travel and transport heavy goods, such as the vital charcoal and iron, but also goods to the mansions. What did the ironmasters discuss regarding their homes? How did they furnished (and re-model) their mansions and what did they consider needed to be there, to make it a comfortable home? And what was 'comfort' for them and how did this correlate with how the notion of 'home' was conceptualized?

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Dis)comforts of home: historical and cultural perspectives