SCHMID Susanne


Freie Universität Berlin, Institut für Englische Philologie Department Studies.

Research expertise

English; history of sociability; British salons; English romanticism; history of drinking.




Luxury has always been difficult to define. The eighteenth century saw a shift from ‘old’ to ‘new’ luxury (de Vries), from aristocratic displays of wealth and power to the widespread and sociable use of commodities like porcelain and silk. Such displays of tasteful and fashionable objects enhanced individual status, in domestic settings and in public spaces.


Eighteenth-century retail underwent major developments: growing numbers of shops with increasing specialization and a wider range of goods available to individuals, who were keen to buy and consume British products as well as goods from outside Europe such as textiles and china.

Mary Berry

Mary Berry (1763-1852), renowned traveller, author, and salonnière, friend of Horace Walpole's, headed sociable circles in London but also spent time in the vicinity of Strawberry Hill.She became the posthumous editor of Walpole's correspondence, and authored two plays as well as historiographical works.


The late-seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were a veritable ‘golden age’ of the inn. Inns, where coaches arrived and departed, were nodal points of the transport system. They offered rooms to stay overnight, food, and stables, and were often huge purpose-built business complexes with shops and storage facilities, situated alongside major roads in the provinces, and town centres, and in cities.


In the eighteenth century, sugar, once a luxury item, became more affordable and was used as a sweetener for tea and baked goods at a time when the tea-table was coded as domestic and feminine.