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‘Vulgarity’, Portrait by John Deakin, jugs photographed by Elsie Collins

‘Vulgarity’, Portrait by John Deakin, jugs photographed by Elsie Collins

Image in Alan Jarvis, The Things We See No. 1 Indoors and Out, West Drayton, Middlesex: Penguin, 1946, 47. Permission, Design Council / University of Brighton Design Archives. CC-BY.

Jarvis shows how visual rhetoric can communicate class and gender norms. He contributes to a tradition of teaching consumers to distinguish between good and bad, which extends back to nineteenth-century design reform, for example Augustus Welby Pugin’s True Principles (1841). Jarvis wrote ‘…by vulgarity we mean just this kind of coarseness of body, cheapness of ornament, and insensitive application of make-up. The parallel in the case of pottery is exact, in its florid shape and crude cosmetic decoration’.