One can find real beauty in the design style known as Biedermeier. While only short lived, it was suffused with truth and dignity in its ‘rigorous simplicity’. The style’s name is a play on the word Bieder, meaning unpretentious or plain, and Maieir, a German surname much like Smith or Jones. A Beidermann embodied bourgeois values of reliability and integrity and had a good reputation, for that of a law-abiding citizen. An important aspect of the Biedermeier era (c1815 – c1830) was that every corner of a room was devoted to the pursuit of some happy and leisurely pastime completely rejecting the previous Empire style’s ideals that interiors were arranged for the sake of appearance. Instead, they reflected the personal taste and functional needs of an industrious busy bourgeouise family. In 1832 painter Constantin Hansen captured a little girl clutching a bunch of cherries staring seriously at the bird her brother holds up for her, with the family cat playing with its wool. The sofa and chair made of a light timber such as Karelian birch, and upholstered ensuite in very chic brown/black striped fabric, is characteristic of this period. As are the plain wide nailed boards on the floor. With its homely subject so characteristic of a realist approach, the precise texture and colour of every detail is this piece is beautifully composed.
Carolyn McDowall FRSA has gained considerable experience and business acumen in her professional career. An independent cultural and social historian, Carolyn is an interior designer by trade. She has been involved in the creative sector for over thirty years in Australia; completing interior design projects, creating and producing innovative corporate and not-for profit (social profit) community events. She has over that time continuously conducted independent research , while designing, developing, and producing educational art and design history programs in conjunction with renowned specialist colleagues.