Americans in the 19th and 20th century were no less susceptible to fads than we are—and manufacturers were just as quick to feed fans’ thirst for products depicting their favorite characters. A wildly popular book, a hit song, a huge event or tragedy, the latest in home design—all showed up on American beds and, in the case of “crazy quilts,” on sofas and tables.
Gothic Style Ceramics
Picturesque ruins—not found in America, thus even more intriguing—appeared on home goods affordable to many Americans. The Gothic style maintained its popularity for much of the century, with revivals in the 1840s and 1870s.
Japan and its culture were unknown to the West for over 200 years during Japan’s extreme isolationism. When Japan was forced to open itself to the West in the 1850s, Japanese arts poured into Europe, revolutionizing art and interior design.
Japanese arts were displayed at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, attended by an estimated one-fifth of America’s population. Crazy quilts abound with Japanese motifs, and may owe their design to Japanese ceramics’ crackled glazes.