Looking at Domestic Textiles: An Eye-Tracking Experiment Analysing Influences on Viewing Behaviour at Owlpen Manor

Benjamin W. Tatler*, Ross G. Macdonald, Tara Hamling, Catherine Richardson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Decorative textiles were once ubiquitous and important, occupying a significant social and cultural space in the early modern interior, yet their impact upon how individuals engaged with domestic spaces is largely unknown. One way of approaching their impact is through an exploration of how present-day individuals engage visually with them in relation to other objects as they walk around an historic space. This article reports on one such investigation, an eye-tracking study which explored responses to the narrative hangings in Queen Margaret's Chamber at Owlpen Manor in Gloucestershire. Using eye-tracking equipment, we compared the viewing behaviour of two groups of participants, to whom we gave key information before they entered the room. We found that both the expertise of the viewers and the information provided influenced their viewing behaviour. Our findings highlight the importance of individual understanding and information provided to viewers when engaging with historic spaces, and can inform museum and heritage practice as well as enhancing our comprehension of how viewers engage with such textiles in historic spaces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-118
Number of pages25
JournalTextile history
Volume47
Issue number1
Early online date13 Apr 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2016

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