Edith Wharton.

The decoration of houses online

. (page 16 of 16)
Online LibraryEdith WhartonThe decoration of houses → online text (page 16 of 16)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


that it may be invoked on both sides of an argument without
risk of misunderstanding.

This is true at least of those forms of art that minister only to
the aesthetic sense. With architecture and its allied branches the
case is different. Here beauty depends on fitness, and the prac-
tical requirements of life are the ultimate test of fitness.

If, therefore, it can be proved that the old practice was based
upon a clearer perception of these requirements than is shown by

modern decorators, it may be claimed not unreasonably that the

196



Conclusion 1 97

old methods are better than the new. It seems, however, that
the distinction between the various offices of art is no longer
clearly recognized. The merit of house-decoration is now seldom
measured by the standard of practical fitness; and those who
would set up such a standard are suspected of proclaiming indi-
vidual preferences under the guise of general principles.

In this book, an endeavor has been made to draw no conclu-
sion unwarranted by the premises; but whatever may be thought
of the soundness of some of the deductions, they must be re-
garded, not as a criticism of individual work, but simply of certain
tendencies in modern architecture. It must be remembered, too,
that the book is merely a sketch, intended to indicate the lines
along which further study may profitably advance.

It may seem inconsequent that an elementary work should in-
clude much apparently unimportant detail. To pass in a single
chapter from a discussion of abstract architectural laws to the
combination of colors in a bedroom carpet seems to show lack of
plan; yet the transition is logically justified. In the composition
of a whole there is no negligible quantity : if the decoration of a
room is planned on certain definite principles, whatever contrib-
utes line or color becomes a factor in the composition. The
relation of proportion to decoration is like that of anatomy to
sculpture : underneath are the everlasting laws. It was the rec-
ognition of this principle that kept the work of the old architect-
decorators (for the two were one) free from the superfluous, free
from the intemperate accumulation that marks so many modern
rooms. Where each detail had its determinate part, no superficial
accessories were needed to make up a whole : a great draughts-
man represents with a few strokes what lesser artists can express
only by a multiplicity of lines.



198 The Decoration of Houses

The supreme excellence is simplicity. Moderation, fitness, rele-
vance these are the qualities that give permanence to the work
of the great architects. Tout ce qui riest pas nicexsaire est nuisi-
ble. There is a sense in which works of art may be said to
endure by virtue of that which is left out of them, and it is this
"tact of omission " that characterizes the master-hand.

Modern civilization has been called a varnished barbarism: a
definition that might well be applied to the superficial graces of
much modern decoration. Only a return to architectural princi-
ples can raise the decoration of houses to the level of the past.
Vasari said of the Farnesina palace that it was not built, but really
born non murato ma veramente nato ; and this phrase is but the
expression of an ever-present sense the sense of interrelation of
parts, of unity of the whole.

There is no absolute perfection, there is no communicable
ideal; but much that is empiric, much that is confused and
extravagant, will give way before the application of principles
based on common sense and regulated by the laws of harmony
and proportion.



INDEX



Adam, ceiling ornaments of, 93
Andirons, 84

Appliques, in hall and staircase, 119
Araldi's ceiling in the convent of St. Paul,

Parma, 97
Architrave of door, see Doorway; of

mantel-piece, 82
Arm-chair, modern, 128
Armoires, old French and Italian, 1 17
Ashby, Castle, Inigo Jones's stairs in, in
Aviler, d', his description of dining-room

fountain, 158

Ball-room, 137; in Italy, 138; Louis XIV,

139; lighting of, 140; chairs, 140
Barry, Madame du, dining-room of, 156
Bath-room, 172; in Pitti Palace, 172
Bedroom, development of, 162; Renais-
sance, 162; Louis XIV, 162; XVIII-
century, 163; cotton hangings in, 164;
suite, plan of, 169; children's, 182
Bedstead, history of, 163
Belvedere, at Versailles, frescoes in, 42
Berain, ceiling arabesques of, 98
Bergere, origin of, 7; design of, 128
Bernini, his staircase in the Vatican, 108
Bindings, decorative value of, 146
Blinds, 73

Blois, spiral stairs in court-yard of cha-
teau, 109; cabinet of Catherine de'
Medici, 123

Blondel, on doors, 58; on fireplaces, 74
Book-cases, medieval, 145; in Catherine
de' Medici's cabinet, 145; in France in



the XVII century, 146; built into the

wall, 147; in England, 149; modern,

148
Books in the middle ages, 145; in the

Renaissance, 146
Bosse, Abraham, engravings of Louis

XIII interiors, 69; examples of state

bedrooms, 123

Boudoir, 130; modern decoration of, 170
Bramante, his use of the mezzanin floor, 5
Breakfast-room, 160
Bric-a-brac, definition of, 184; knowledge

of, 187; superiority of old over new,

100
Burckhardt, on medieval house-planning,

107, note
Byfield, G., his stairs at Hurlingham, 1 1 1

Cabinet, Italian origin of, 123; used in
French Renaissance houses, 123; of
Catherine de' Medici, book-cases in,

45

Campbell's fitruvius Britannicus, ex-
ample of Palladian manner, 4; of Eng-
lish house-planning, 135

Carpets, in general color-scheme, 29 ;
choice of, 100; Savonnerie, 100; de-
signs of, 101 ; stair-carpets, 102, 118;
hall-carpets, 118

Caserta, staircase in royal palace, 108

Casino del Grotto, near Mantua, frescoes
in, 42 ; ceilings in, 98

Casts in vestibule, 105; in hall, 118; in
school-room, 178



199



200



Index



Ceilings, 89; timbered, 90; in France and
England, 91; Elizabethan, 92; Louis
XIII, 92; Louis XV, 92; Louis XVI,
93; Adam, 93, 96; objections to
wooden, 94; modern treatment of, 95;
frescoed, 97

Chambord, staircase at, 109

Cbambre de parade, 123

Chandeliers, 140, 159

Chanteloup, library of, 149

Chantilly, stair-rail at, 113

Chevening, Inigo Jones's stairs at, 1 1 1

Cheverny, fireplace at, 74

Chinese art, influence of, on stuff patterns,
1 66

Chippendale's designs for grates, 8 1

"Colonial" style, the, 81

Color, use of, in decoration, 28; predomi-
nance of one color in each room, 28;
color-schemes, 29

Cornices, interior, Durand on, 94

Cortile, Italian, modern adaptation of, 117

Coutant d'lvry's stair-rail in the Palais
Royal, 113

Curtains, mediaeval and Renaissance, 69;
in XVII and XVIII centuries, 70; mus-
lin, 72

Dado, the, 37; sometimes omitted in lob-
bies and corridors, 38

Decoration and furniture, harmony be-
tween, 13; individuality in decoration,
17; graduated scheme of, 24

" Den," furniture of, 152; decoration of,

'53

Dining-chairs, mediaeval, 156; XVII cen-
tury, 159; XVIII century, 159

Dining-room, origin of, 155; in France,
154; in England, 155; furniture of, 156;
French, XVIII century, 157; fountains in,
158; decoration of modern, 160; light-
ing of, 160; state, 1 60; heating of, 161

Dining-table, mediaeval, 156; modern,
101

Donowell, J., his stairs at West Wy-
combe, 1 1 1

Doors, 48; sliding, origin of, 49; double,
49; mediaeval, 51 ; in palace of Urbino,



52; in Italy, 52-54; locks and hinges,
55; in the Hotels de Rohan, de Soubise,
and de Toulouse, 56; glass doors, 57;
treatment in England, 57; mahogany,
58; panelling, principles of, 59; veneer-
ing, 6 1 ; concealed doors, 61 ; entrance-
door, 103

Doorway, proper dimensions of, 51, 60;
treatment of, in Italy, 52; in France,
55; in England, 57

Drawing-room, in modern town houses,
20; evolution of, in England, 122; in
France, 122; origin of modern, 124;
treatment of, in England and America,
124; furniture of, 127

Dressing-room, 171

Duchesse, 130

Durand, J. L. N., on originality in archi-
tecture, 10; on interior cornices, 94



Easton Neston, use of panel-pictures at,

46

Entrance, treatment of, 103; entrance-
door, 103



Fenders, 85

Fire-backs, 80

Fire-boards, 86

Fireplaces, 74; mediaeval, construction

of, 75; in Italy, 75; in France, 76;

lining of, 80; American, 81 ; accessories

of, 84

Fire-screens, 86
Floors, 89; of brick or stone, 99; marble

and mosaic, in Italy, 99; parquet, 99;

of vestibule, 104; of ball-room, 140
Fontana, his staircase in the royal palace,

Naples, 108

Fountains in dining-rooms, 158
Fresco-painting, in wall-decoration, 41 ;

examples of, in Italy and France, 42;

in ceiling-decoration, 97; in Italy, 97;

in France, 98; in Italian gala rooms,

139

Furniture, in the middle ages, 7; furniture
and decoration, harmony between, 25;



Index



201



modern English and American, 26;
XV11I century, in France and England,
27; in vestibule, 105; in hall, 117; in
salon de compagnie, 125; in drawing-
room, 127, 128; English, XVIII century,
129; in dining-room, 156; in bedroom,
171; in school-room, 180

Gabriel, influence of, on ornamental de-
tail, 56; on ceilings, 93; on stair-rails,
114

Gala rooms, 134; uses of, 135; in Italy,
136

Gallery, 137

Genoa, royal palace, doors in, 54

Gibbons, Grinling, carvings for panel-
pictures, 46

Gilding, deterioration of, 192

Giulio Romano's frescoes in the Palazzo
del T, 136

Grand 'salle, mediaeval, 1 10

Grates, 81

Gwilt, his definition of staircase, 106

Hall, 106; old English, 110; uses of, 115;
modern treatment of, 115; decoration
of, 117; furniture, 117; floor of, 118;
lighting of, 119; prints and pictures in,
119

Holkham, over-mantels at, 81
Hotel de Rohan, doors in, 56
de Soubise, doors in, 56
de Toulouse, doors in, 56
Houghton Hall, doors in, 57, note
House, Carlton, stair-rail in, 114

Devonshire, stair-rail in, 114
Norfolk, stair-rail in, 114

Individuality in decoration, 17
Isabella of Este's apartment at Mantua,
doorways in, 52

Jones, Inigo, his introduction of Palladian
manner in England, 4, note; influence
on ceiling-decoration, 92; on plan of
English hall, no; his stairs at Gastle
Ashby, in; at Chevening, 1 1 1

Juvara, his staircase in the Palazzo Ma-
dama, Turin, 108



Lambrequin, origin of, 71

Lamour, Jean, his wrought-iron work at
Nancy, 1 12

Lantern in vestibule, 105

Laurano, Luciano da, palace of Urbino
built by, 6

Lebrun, door-locks in Galerie d'/ipollon
designed by, 55

Le Riche, frescoes of, in Belvedere, Ver-
sailles, 42

Library, 145; in the university at Nancy,
149; of Louis XVI, at Versailles, 149;
of Chanteloup, 149; modern, decora-
tion of, 1 50

Lit de parade, 122

Lit de repos, 130

Longhi, frescoes of, in Palazzo Sina, Ven-
ice, 145

Louis XIII, windows, 69; ceilings, 92

Louis XIV, modern house-furnishing dates
from his reign, 8; style, characteristics
of, 14; window-shutters, 69; influ-
ence on French, 77; mantels, 78; ceil-
ings, 98; stair-rails, 112; ball-rooms,
140

Louis XV style, characteristics of, 13;
doors, 56; ceilings, 92; wrought-iron
work, 112; stair-rails, 113

Louis XVI style, characteristics of, 12;
Gabriel's influence on, 56, 93; doors,
57; ceilings, 93; stair-rails, 114

Luciennes, Madame du Barry's dining-
room at, 157



Mantegna's ceiling, palace of Mantua, 97
Mantel-pieces, Italian Renaissance, 77;

French Renaissance, 77; Louis XIV,

78; XVIII century, 79; American, 82;

facing of, 83
Mantua, doorways in palace, 52, 54;

Mantegna's ceiling in, 97 ; cabinet of

Isabella of Este, 123
Mario dei Fieri, 1 39
Massimi alle Colonne, palace of, in

Rome, 6

Mezzanin, origin of, 5; treatment of, 6
Ministere de la Marine, Paris, door in, 61



202



Index



Mirrors, use of, in over-mantel, 79; paint-
ed, in Borghese Palace, Rome, 139; in
ball-rooms, 141

Morelli's staircase in Palazzo Braschi,
Rome, 1 08

Morning-room, 132

Mullions, use of, 66

Music-room, 142; at Remiremont, 143

Music-stand, 144

Music-stool, 144

Nancy, wrought-iron work at, 112; li-
brary in the university, 149
Naples, staircase in royal palace, 108
Niches, in hall and staircase, 1 1 7
Nursery, 181

Oberkampf, inventor of color-printing
on cotton, 166

Object of art, definition of, 187; repro-
ductions of, 191

Openings, placing and proportion of, 23 ;
lines of, carried up to ceiling, 37, 52,
65, 74; treatment of, in rocaille style, 56

Orders, use of, in wall-decoration, 36;
application to doorways in Italy, 53;
in France, 54; in England, 57; in ball-
rooms, 139

Originality in art, 9; J. L. N. Durand
on, 10

Over-doors, mediaeval treatment of, 52;
in Italy, 53; in France, 55; Louis
XVI, 57

Over-mantels, Renaissance, 76; use of
mirror in, 79; XVIII-century treatment,
79; in England, 81

Palais Royal, stair-rail in, 113

Palazzo Borghese, Rome, painted mirrors

in, 139

Braschi, Rome, staircase in, 108
Gondi, Florence, stairs in, 108
Labia, Venice, frescoes in, 136
Madama, Turin, staircase in, 108
Massimi alle Colonne, Rome,

date of, 6
Piccolomini, at Pienza, staircase

in, 108, note



Pitti, Florence, bath-room in, ^72
Reale, Caserta, staircase in, 108
Reale, Naples, staircase in, 108
Riccardi, staircase in, 108, note
Sina, Venice, frescoes in, 143
del T, Mantua, frescoes in, 136
Palladian window, 67
Panelling, in Italy and north of the Alps,

40; wood, stone and stucco, 40, 42;

subdivisions of, 43
Parma, Araldi's ceiling in convent of St.

Paul, 97; rocaille stoves in museum, 121
Pavia, Certosa of, doorways in, 52
Perroquets, 141

Perugia, ceiling in the Sala del Cam-
bio, 97
Perugino's ceiling in the Sala del Cambio,

Perugia, 97
Peruzzi, Baldassare, his use of the mez-

zanin, 5

Piano, design of, 143
Pictures, proper background for, 45;

mode of hanging, 46; in hall, 119; in

dining-room, 160; in school-room, 1 80
Picture-frames, selection of, 45
Plan of house in relation to decoration, 23
Plate-glass in windows, 67
Pompadour, Madame de, dining-room

fountain of, 158
Pompeii, wall-frescoes of, 41
Portiere, use of, 59
Presses, old English, 1 1 7
Prints in hall, 120; in school-room, 180
Privacy, modern indifference to, 22
Proportion, definition of, 31; Isaac Ware

on, 32
Pyne's Royal Residences, examples of

pictures set in panels, 46



Rambouillet, Madame de, her influence

on house-planning, 8
Raphael, ceilings of, 97
Remiremont, music-room at, 143
Renaissance, characteristics of domestic
architecture, 4; doors, 52; window-
curtains, 69 ; mantels, 76, 77; ceilings,
90-92 ; French architects of, 1 09



Index



203



Rennes, Palais de Justice, carved wooden
ceilings, 89

Rugs, Oriental, 29, 100; modem Euro-
pean, 101



Salon a I'ltalienne, see Saloon

Salon de compagnie, origin and use of,
123, 125; decoration and furniture of,
125; lighting of, 126

Salon defamille, origin and use of, 123

Saloon, adaptation of, in England by
Inigo Jones, 1 1 1 ; introduction in
France, 123; uses in Italy, 136; at Vaux-
le-Vicomte, 137

School-room, 172; decoration of, 178

Screen in Tudor halls, 1 10

Shobden Court, stairs in, 1 1 1

Shutters, interior decoration of, 69; at
Vaux-le-Vicomte, 69; in rooms of
Mesdames de France, Versailles, 69;
purpose of, 72

Sideboard, mediaeval, 156; in France, 157

Smoking-room, 151

Stairs, 106; development of, in Italy, 107;
in the Palladian period, 108; in the
XVII and XVIII centuries, 108; spiral,
109; in hall, in England, in; con-
struction of, in Italy, 112 ; in France,
112

Stair-carpets, 1 18

Staircase, meaning of term, 106; walls
of, 117; in simple houses, 1 19; lighting
of, 119

Stair-rails, in Italy and France, 112; Louis
XIV and XV, 113; Louis XVI and Em-
pire, 113; Tudor and Elizabethan, 114;
Palladian, in England, 1 14

Stoves, use of, in hall, 120; examples of
old stoves, 121; in dining-room, 161

Stucco, use of, in decoration, 40; pan-
elling, in Italy, 40; in ceilings, 00; in
Elizabethan ceilings, 92; combined
with painting, 97

Stuff hangings, 44

Stupinigi, frescoes at, 42; over-mantels
at, 80

Styles, essence of, 1 1 ; conformity to, 13



Symmetry, definition of, 33; advantages
of, 34

Tapestry, use of, in northern Europe, 39;
its subordination to architectural lines
of room, 39

Tiepolo, frescoes of, in the Villa Val-
marana, 42 ; in the Palazzo Labia, 1 36

Titian's " Presentation of the Virgin,"
doorway in, 53

Toilet dejouy, 166

Trianon-sous-Bois, fountains in banquet-
ing-gallery, 158

Udine, Giovanni da, ceilings of, in col-
laboration with Raphael, 97

Urbino, ducal palace of, 6; doors in, 52;
fireplace in, 74; cabinet of Isabella of
Este, 123

Vanvitelli's staircase at Caserta, 108
Vatican, Bernini's staircase in, 108
Vault, the Roman, influence of, on ceil-
ings, 191
Vaux-le-Vicomte, interior shutters at, 69;

saloon at, 137

Versailles, frescoes in Belvedere, 42; win-
dows in rooms of Mesdames de France,
68; shutters in same, 69; library of
Louis XVI, 148

Vestibule, 104; furniture of, 105; lighting
of, 105; absence of, in English house-
planning, 1 10

Villa, Italian, chief features of, 4, note
Villa Giacomelli, at Maser, over-mantel

in, 76

Madama, in Rome, ceiling of log-
gia, 97
Rotonda, near Vicenza, saloon in,

136
Valmarana, near Vicenza, frescoes

in, 42

Vertemati, near Chiavenna, over-
mantel in, 76; carved wooden
ceiling in, 89
Viollet-le-Duc, on doorways, 52, note;

on mediaeval house-planning, 109
Vogue, Hotel, at Dijon, 7



204



Index



Wall-decoration, 38

Wall-papers, 44

Walls, 31

Ware, Isaac, on proportion, 32; on slid-
ing doors, 49; his definition of stair-
case, 1 06



Windows, decorative value of, 64; di-
mensions of, 65; plate-glass in, 67;
French or casement, 68; sash, 68;
curtains, 69, 70; shutters, 69, 72; lam-
brequin, 71 ; muslin curtains, 72; blinds,
73



West Wycombe, Donowell's stairs at, 1 1 1 Wood-box, 86







GENERAL LIBRARY - U.C. BERKELEY




UXIYKRSITY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARY





1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 16

Online LibraryEdith WhartonThe decoration of houses → online text (page 16 of 16)