Among these I thought I had found something of commercial value. It appeared to be a sketch in oils for William Orchardsons The First Cloud, a painting of the 1890’s now in the collection of the Tate Gallery in London. Orchardson’s is the story painting of an elegant young woman walking from a room as her young husband, formally attired, his hands thrust into his cummerbund, watches her retreating back. He looks angry and puzzled; evidently they have just argued and it is their “first cloud.”
The painting easily puts in mind, to anyone with a taste for the Victorian era, a famous declaration of faith in the virtues of the home that John Ruskin made in Sesame and Lilies, first published in 1865:

This is the true nature of home—it is the place of peace: the shelter, not only from all injury, but from all terror, doubt and division. in so far as it is not this, it is not home; so far as the anxieties of the outer life penetrate into it, and the inconsistently-minded, unloved, or hostile society of the outer world is allowed by either husband or wife to cross the threshold it ceases to be a home; it is theii only a part of the outer world which you have roofed over and lighted fire in. But so far as it is a sacred place, a vestal temple, a temple of the hearth. . . it is a home.[ John Ruskin, Sesame and Lilies (New York’ Metropolitan Publishing Co., 1891), pp. 136—37.]

In the course of Sesame and Lilies, the dream of a safe interior spoke to Ruskin ever more strongly, as it spoke to his age. The sketch of Orchardson’s painting before me, a painting equally celebrated in its time, showed a couple awakening from Ruskin’s dream.
Of course it is burdening this modest painting with unfair symbolic duty to say it shows the denouement of Christian faith made buildable. And yet it shows, I think, the mundane reality of a larger difficulty, the difficulty of making Christian vision work in the secular world, The words “sacred” and “secular” are of course not simple opposites. The coming of the Industrial Revolution aroused a great longing for sanctuary, and the workers who first faced the Industrial Revolution quite naturally turned to religion for words to express their grievances and to sustain them in their trials. Something of the same resource occurred more broadly in society when people sought for images of protection; they drew upon religious images of places of sanctuary. Stated baldly, “home” became the secular version of spiritual refuge; the geography of safety shifted from a sanctuary in the urban center to the domestic interior. However, just as industrial workers found that God’s wrath at Mammon could not quite encompass the evil of machine-based labor, so those who sought sanctuary in a home found often that the very act of taking domestic refuge only increased their miseries. This is what Orchardson’s painting shows: suddenly the young people at home see one another too clearly.
The long shadow religion has cast over the world created by the Industrial Revolution was first of all a matter of connection between the interior and inner life. Augustine had begun this connection by supposing that the person who found faith would require God’s protection from the world; the medieval builders sought to separate the life of the street from spiritual life, protecting the spirit within church walls. Now, in the secular dimension, it was psychological understanding that seemed to crystallize and define itself when one had withdrawn inside from the world.
A century before the Industrial Revolution which prompted Ruskin’s dream, the notion of a spiritual interior was not as compelling to an age that celebrated Nature. It seemed perfectly plausible to understand someone by looking at him or her outside. In the eighteenth century, painters like Gainshorough sought to reveal the character of sitters by placing them on the open air: the lady posed in a simple dress lounging on the grass, her face framed in bramble and leaves, the gentleman leaning at her side with his shirt open at the neck; she looks at us, amused; he talks to her, his expression animated - Nature has revealed them. To convey what people were really like a century later, the portrait painter placed them inside a room in the midst of a family scene. Orchardson’s contemporary James Tuxen, called upon to paint Queen Victoria celebrating her golding jubilee  in 1887, places the elderly queen in a chair that she shares with two little girls who are her grandchildren, the old and young bodies crowded into a seat meant for one surrounded in turn by other little girls to the left and right, another grandchild behind them, the old woman peacefully surrounded by squirming bundles of soft flesh; the dignitaries of the British Empire are all background in this official portrait, which was painted in the queen’s private apartments rather than in a state chamber. The reason Tuxen orchestrated his sitters this way is perfectly plain. Here, inside, in the bosom of her family, you see what your queen is really like.

The public world of the street was harsh, crime ridden, cold, and above all, confused in its very complexity. The private realm sought order and clarity through applying the division of labor to the emotional realm of the family, partitioning its experience into rooms. The logic is one of breaking something into its component parts; then you know what it is. However, unlike the medieval discontinuity between chaos and clarity, the process of fragmentation begun in the public realm simply continued into the private sphere via the division of labor. Separation created isolation in the family as much as it did on the street.
The signs were evident to our forebears that they had failed to create the shelter they sought. A German critic of architecture writing in the 1800’s, the first fervent decade in the worship of the domestic, put the matter emphatically about the divisive effect in old houses when cut up according to new principles:

Our private town-houses of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries opened to the visitor at once larger areas, halls, and courts  … those large spaces were for the use of all the members of the household … in the modern residences of the wealthy citizen, however, all the spaces belonging to the communality of the family and household have been reduced to the least possible compass. [Donald J. Olsen, The City as a Work of Art (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986), p. 102 for both his own and the contemporary’s words. In the latter quote I have taken the liberty of substituting visitor for corner, which was Professor Olsen’s undoubtedly correct literal translation of the German.]

In the words of a modern critic, the logic of enclosure and partition did not “work to encourage domestic intimacy. The hearth was supposed to give warmth, yet the division of labor, embodied in the interior as the search for ever more specific interiors for the various forms of subjective life, gradually also cast its own chill. In this way the visual clarification of the interior failed to provide sanctuary.
The home failed as a refuge in a second, equally consequent way. It failed to keep out inequality. In church, all became equally worthy of charity. The sacred interior expanded the moral value, as it were, of those who were weak and poor. As “home” took form in the nineteenth century, women instead entered a kind of secular purdah that would have been unthinkable and economically impracticable in earlier ages. Home was the moral refuge where women were secluded, while men were permitted the street. It would be inaccurate, however, to conceive simply of men suffocating women within in the interior. Women dominated women in the same way, forcing others into an interior space.
Working-class women in London, for instance, could not afford to dream Ruskin’s dream. Domestic necessities like hanging out the laundry took them into the streets. Poor women who worked shared the pleasures of male laborers, drinking after work in cafés or pubs. In the eyes of middle-class women, these laundresses, cleaners, and seamstresses were exposed to moral as well as physical danger; mothering would suffer from exterior exposure. Of the origin of the home visit by social workers, Christine Stansell remarks that

the ideology of domesticity thus provided the initial impetus for what would become a class invention, the movement of reformers into the working-class neighborhoods and the households of the poor between 1830 and 1860. [Christine Stansell. City of Women: Sex and Class in New York, 1789—1860 (New York:
Knopf, 1986; University of Illinois Press, 1987), p. 65. ]

The more generous-minded felt it only proper to intervene in the lives of the poor to take them inside, into a sheltered domesticity, where at last their lives would supposedly become more orderly. Orderly, therefore moral. This dominion was far from the upheaval of faith Jesus sought to arouse among the poor.
These were the two perverse consequences of the search for refuge in secular society: an increase in isolation and in inequality. In the modern industrial order, as it first took form in the nineteenths century, the labor process accentuated unequal, isolating divisions among people. This process invaded the building of interior space. As a result, there was ever greater emigration intérieure rather than Gemeinschaft in the home. Yet an important caveat needs to be entered, to understand the shadows the nineteenth century casts over our own. Despite the intimate isolation, “The deep belief in the home as the locus of moral reform remained unshaken”[ Gwendnlyn Wright. Moralism and the Model Home (Chicago: University of Chicago Press,
1980), p. 292.] .In an article called “A Further Notion or Two about Domestic Bliss” appearing in Appleton’s Journal in1879, an angry writer declared that the home is not a woman’s

retreat but her battleground, her arena, her boundary, her sphere. To a woman, the house is life militant; to a maii, it is life in repose. . . . She has no other sphere for her activities. Woman by the very necessities of her existence must have a different idea of home than what a man has. [Quoted in Ibid. p. 99]

The interior is a compelling place because it is the place of truth, a good housewife’s place of truth as much as Sarah Bernhardt’s. The rooms of her house appeared as a magnetizing “arena. . . boundary … sphere”.
The belief that the interior is the true scene for inner life is a legacy, in secular society, of an older Christian ideal. But now this interior space of the soul had become a space for a new kind of inner life. The home has come to seem so necessary a refuge because of the modern secular idea of human character: that it is malleable, and that its most significant molding moments happen early in the life cycle. To mold a young human being, you must protect it from destructive outside influences. This belief, self-evident to us, was not at all self-evident to earlier ages, who practiced what would seem to us a shocking disregard of the young.

Sennet, Richard, The conscience of the eye, “The Modern Fear of Exposure”, New York, W-W. Norton, 1990, pàg. 19-31