The Art of Interior Decoration
by Grace Wood
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"The celebrated Count Rumford has paid particular attention to the subject of Warm Bathing; he has examined it by the test of experiments, long and frequently repeated, and bears testimony to its excellent effects. 'It is not merely on account of the advantages,' says the count, 'which I happen to see from Warm Bathing, which renders me so much an advocate of the practice; exclusive of the wholesomeness of the warm bath, the luxury of bathing is so great, and the tranquil state of the mind and body which follows, is so exquisitely delightful, that I think it quite impossible to recommend it too highly, if we consider it merely as a rational and elegant refinement. The manner in which the warm bath operates, in producing the salutary consequences, seems very evident. The genial warmth which is so applied to the skin in the place of the cold air of the atmosphere, by which we are commonly surrounded, expands all those very small vessels, where the extremities of the arteries and veins unite, and by gently stimulating the whole frame, produces a full and free circulation, which if continued for a certain time, removes all obstructions in the vascular system, and puts all the organs into that state of regular, free, and full motion which is essential to health, and also to that delightful repose, accompanied by a consciousness of the power of exertion, which constitutes the highest animal enjoyment of which we are capable.'

"N.B.: As the Bath is generally occupied on Saturday evenings and Sunday mornings, it is recommended to those who would wish to enjoy the Bath and avoid the crowded moment, to call at other times. The support of the public will be gratefully received and every exertion made to deserve it. For the Proprietor, G. Wright.

"Strangers will recognise the Bathing House from the front being extended over two lots of ground, and the centre basement being of free-stone."

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The bathtub then was the simple tin sort, on the order of the round English tub. To-day the variety of bathtubs as to size, shape, material and appointments is bewildering; tubs there are on feet and tubs without feet, tubs sunken in the floor so that one goes down steps into them, tubs of large dimensions and tubs of small, and all with or without "showers," as the purchaser may prefer. Truly the warm baths so highly recommended in Count Rumford's rhapsody are to be had for the turning of one's own faucet at any moment of the day or night!

The Count Rumford in question is that romantic figure, born of simple English parents, in New England (Woburn, Mass., 1753), who went abroad when very young and by the great force of his personality and genius, became the power behind the throne in Bavaria, where he was made Minister of War and Field Marshal by the Elector, and later knighted in recognition of his scientific attainments and innumerable civic reforms. There is a large monument erected to the memory of Count Rumford in Munich. He died at Auteuil, France, in 1814.



We use the term "period rooms" with full knowledge of the difficulties involved, in defining Louis XIV, Louis XV, Louis XVI, Directoire, Jacobean, Empire, Georgian, Victorian and Colonial decorations. Each period certainly has its distinctive earmarks in line and typical decoration, but you must realise that a period gradually evolves, at first exhibiting characteristics of its ancestors, then as it matures, showing a definite new type, and, later, when the elation of success has worn off, yielding to various foreign influences. By way of example, note the Chinese decoration on some of the painted furniture of the Louis XVI type, the Dutch influence on Chippendale in line, and the Egyptian on Empire.

One fascinating way of becoming familiar with history, is to delve into the origin and development of periods in furniture. The story of Napoleon is recorded in the unpretentious Directoire, the ornate Empire of Fontainebleau, while the conversion of round columns into obelisk-like pilasters surmounted by heads, the bronze and gilded-wood ornaments in the form of the Sphynx, are frank souvenirs of Egypt.

Every period, whether ascribed to England, France, Italy or Holland, has found expression in all adjacent countries. An Italian Louis XVI chair, mirror or applique is frequently sold in Paris or London as French and Empire furniture was "made in Germany." Periods have no restricted nationality; but nationality often declares itself in periods. That is to say, lines may be copied; but workmanship is another thing. Apropos of this take the French Empire furniture, massive as much of it is, built squarely and solidly to the floor, but showing most extraordinary grace on account of the amazing delicacy of intricate designs, done by the greatest French sculptors of the time and worked out in metal by the trained hands of men who had a special genius for this art. At no other time, nor in any other country, has an equal degree of perfection in the fine chiselling of metals so much as approached the standard attained during the Louis[1] and the Empire periods. If in your wandering, you happen upon a genuine bit of this work in silver or ormoulu, buy it. The writer once found in a New Jersey antique shop, a rare Empire bronze vase, urn-shaped, a specimen of the very finest kind of this metal engraving. The price asked for it (in ignorance, of course) was $2.50! The piece would have brought $40 in Paris. But the quest of the antique is another story.

When one realises the eternal borrowing of one country from another, the ever-recurring renaissance of past periods and the legitimate and illegitimate mixing of styles, it is no wonder that the amateur feels nervously uncertain, or frankly ignorant. Many a professional decorator hesitates to give a final judgment.

To take one case in point, we glibly speak of "Colonial" furniture, that term which covers such a multitude of sins, and inspiring virtues, too! We have the Colonial which closely resembles the Empire, and we have what is sometimes styled the Chippendale Colonial, following the Chippendale of England. Our Colonial cabinet-makers used as models, beautiful pieces imported from England, Holland and France by the wealthier members of our communities. Also a Chinese and Japanese influence crept in, on account of the lacquer and carved teak wood, brought home by our seafaring ancestors. It is quite possible that the carved teak wood stimulated the clever maker of some of the most beautiful Victorian furniture made in America, which is gradually finding its way into the hands of collectors. Some of these cabinet-makers glued together and put under heavy pressure seven to nine layers of rosewood with the grain running at every angle, so as to produce strength. When the layers had been crushed into a solid block, they carved their open designs, using one continuous piece of wood for the ornamental rim of even large sofas. The best of the Victorian period is attractive, but how can we express our opinion of those American monstrosities of the sixties or seventies, beds in rosewood and walnut, the head-boards covering the side of a room, bureaus proportionately huge, following out the idea that a piece of furniture to be beautiful must be very large and very expensive! It is to be hoped that the lovely rosewood and walnut wasted at that time are to-day being rescued by wary cabinet-makers.

The art of furniture making, like every other art, came into being to serve a clearly defined purpose. This must not be forgotten. A chair and a sofa are to sit on; a mirror, to reflect. Remember this last fact when hanging one. It is important that your mirror reflect one of the most attractive parts of your room, and thus contribute its quota to your scheme of decoration. It is interesting to note that chairs were made with solid wooden seats when men wore armour, velvet cushions followed more fragile raiment, and tapestries while always mural decorations were first used in place of doors and partitions, in feudal castles, before there were interior doors and partitions. Any piece of furniture is artistically bad when it does not satisfactorily serve its purpose. The equally fundamental law that everything useful should at the same time be beautiful cannot be repeated too often.

Period rooms which slavishly repeat, in every piece of furniture and ornament, only one type, have but a museum interest. If your rooms are to serve as a home, give them a winning, human quality, keep before your mind's eye, not royal palaces which have become museums, but homes, built and furnished by men and women whose traditions and associations gave them standards of beauty, so that they bought the choicest furniture both at home and abroad. In such a home, whether it be an intimate palace in Europe, a Colonial mansion in New England, or a Victorian interior of the best type, an extraneous period is often represented by some objet d'art as a delightful, because harmonious note of contrast.

For example, in a Louis XVI salon, where the colour scheme is harmonious, one gradually realises that one of the dominant ornaments in the room is a rare old Chinese vase, brought back from the Orient by one of the family and given a place of honour on account of its uniqueness.

Every one understands and feels deeply the difference between the museum palace or the period rooms of the commonplace decorator, and such a marvellous, living, breathing, palatial home as that "Italian palace" in Boston, Massachusetts, created, not inherited, by Mrs. John L. Gardner. Here we have a splendid example to illustrate the point we are trying to make; namely, regardless of its dimensions, make your home home-like and like you, its owner. Never allow any one, professional or amateur, to persuade you to put anything in it which you do not like yourself; but if an expert advises against a thing, give careful consideration to the advice before rejecting it. Mrs. Gardner's house is unique among the great houses of America as having that quality of the intimate palaces abroad,—a subtle mellowness which in the old world took time and generations of cultivated lovers of the rare and beautiful, to create. Adequate means, innate art appreciation, experience and the knowledge which comes from keeping in touch with experts, account for the intrinsic value of Mrs. Gardner's collection; but the subtle quality of harmony and vitality is her own personal touch. The colour scheme is so wisely chosen that it actually does unite all periods and countries. One is surprised to note how perfectly at home even the modern paintings appear in this version of an old Italian palace.

Be sure that you aim at the same combination of beauty, usefulness, and harmony between colour scheme and objets d'art. It is in colour scheme that we feel the personality of our host or hostess, therefore give attention to this point. Always have a colour scheme sympathetic to you. Make your rooms take on the air of being your abode. It is really very simple. What has been done with vast wealth can be just as easily done by the man of one room and a bath. Know what you want, and buy the best you can afford; by best, meaning useful things, indisputably beautiful in line and colour. Use your Colonial furniture; but if you find a wonderful Empire desk, with beautiful brass mounts and like it, buy it. They are of the same period in point of date, as it happens, and your Louis XVI bronze candlesticks will add a touch of grace. The writer recalls a simple room which was really a milestone in the development of taste, for it was so completely harmonious in colouring, arrangement of furniture, and placing of ornaments. Built for a painter's studio, with top light, it was used, at the time of which we speak, for music, as a Steinway grand indicated. The room was large, the floors painted black and covered with faded Oriental rugs; woodwork and walls were dark-green, as were the long, low, open bookcases, above which a large foliage tapestry was hung. On the other walls were modern paintings with antique frames of dulled gold, while a Louis XVI inlaid desk stood across one corner, and there was an old Italian oval table of black wood, with great, gold birds, as pedestal and legs, at which we dined simply, using fine old silver, and foreign pottery. This room was responsible for starting more than one person on the pursuit of the antique, for pervading it was a magic atmosphere, that wizard touch which comes of knowing, loving and demanding beautiful things, and then treating them very humanly. Use your lovely vases for your flowers. Hang your modern painting; but let its link with the faded tapestry be the dull, old frame. To be explicit, use lustreless frames and faded colours with old furniture and tapestry. Your grandmother wears mauves and greys—not bright red.

If your taste is for modern painted furniture and vivid Bakst colours in cushions and hangings, take your lovely old tapestry away. Speaking of tapestries, do not imagine that they can never be used in small rooms and narrow halls. Plate XIV shows an illustration of a hall in an old-fashioned country house, that was so narrow that it aroused despair. We call attention to the fact that it gains greatly in width from the perspective shown in the tapestry, one of the rare, old, painted kind, which depicts distance, wide vistas and a scene flooded with light. (An architectural picture can often be used with equally good results.) To increase size of this hall, the woodwork, walls and carpets were kept the same shade of pale-grey. The landscape paper in our Colonial houses of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, often large in design, pushed back the walls to the same amazing degree.


[Footnote 1: Louis XIV, XV, and XVI.]



Periods in furniture are amazingly interesting if one plunges into the story, not with tense nerves, but gaily, for mere amusement, and then floats gently, in a drifting mood. One gathers in this way many sparkling historical anecdotes, and much substantial data really not so cumbersome as some imagine!

To know anything at all about a subject one must begin at the beginning, and to make the long run seems a mere spin in an auto, let us at once remind you that the whole fascinating tale lies between the covers of one delightful book, the "Illustrated History of Furniture," by Frederick Litchfield, published by Truslove & Hanson, London, and by John Lane, New York. There are other books—many of them—but first exhaust Litchfield and apply what he tells you as you wander through public and private collections of furniture.

If you care for furniture at all, this book, which tells all that is known of its history, will prove highly instructive.

One cannot speak of the gradual development of furniture and furnishing; it is more a case of waves of types, and the story begins on the crest of a wave in Assyria, about 3000 years before Christ! Yes, seriously, interior decoration was an art back in that period and can be traced without any lost links in the chain of evidence.

From Assyria we turn to Egypt and learn from the frescoes and bas-reliefs on walls of ruined tombs, that about that same time, 3000 B.C., rooms on the banks of the Nile were decorated more or less as they are to-day. The cultured classes had beautiful ceilings, gilded furniture, cushions and mattresses of dyed linen and wools, stuffed with downy feathers taken from water fowl, curtains that were suspended between columns, and, what is still more interesting to the lover of furniture, we find that the style known as Empire when revived by Napoleon I was at that time in vogue. Even more remarkable is the fact that parts of legs and rails of furniture were turned as perfectly (I quote Litchfield) as if by a modern lathe. The variety of beautiful woods used by the Egyptians for furniture included ebony, cedar, sycamore and acacia. Marquetry was employed as well as wonderful inlaying with ivory, from both the elephant and hippopotamus. Footstools had little feet made like lion's claws or bull's hoofs. According to Austin Leyard, the very earliest Assyrian chairs, as well as those of Egypt, had the legs terminating in the same lion's feet or bull's hoofs, which reappear in the Greek, Roman, Empire and even Sheraton furniture of England (eighteenth century).

The first Assyrian chairs were made without backs and of beautifully wrought gold and bronze, an art highly developed at that time. In Egypt we find the heads of animals capping the backs of chairs in the way that we now see done on Spanish chairs.

The pilasters shown on the Empire furniture, Plate XVI, capped by women's heads with little gold feet at base, and caryatides of a kind, were souvenirs of the Egyptian throne seats which rested on the backs of slaves—possibly prisoners of war. These chairs were wonderful works of art in gold or bronze. We fancy we can see those interiors, the chairs and beds covered with woven materials in rich colours and leopard skins thrown over chairs, the carpets of a woven palm-fibre and mats of the same, which were used as seats.

Early Egyptian rooms were beautiful in line because simple; never crowded with superfluous furnishings. It is amusing to see on the very earliest bas-reliefs Egyptian belles and beaux reclining against what we know to-day as Empire rolls,—seen also on beds in old French prints of the fourteenth century. Who knows, even with the Egyptians this may have been a revived style!

One talks of new notes in colour scheme. The Bakst thing was being done in Assyria, 700 B.C.! Sir George Green proved it when he opened up six rooms of a king's palace and found the walls all done in horizontal stripes of red, yellow and green! Also, he states that each entrance had the same number of pilasters. Oh wise Assyrian King and truly neutral, if as is supposed, those rooms were for his six wives!

In furniture, the epoch-making styles have been those showing line, and if decorated, then only with such decorations as were subservient to line; pure Greek and purest Roman, Gothic and early Renaissance, the best of the Louis, Directoire and First Empire, Chippendale, Adam, Sheraton and Heppelwhite.

The bad styles are those where ornamentations envelop and conceal line as in late Renaissance, the Italian Rococo, the Portuguese Barrocco (baroque), the curving and contorted degenerate forms of Louis XIV and XV and the Victorian—all examples of the same thing, i.e.: perfect line achieved, acclaimed, flattered, losing its head and going to the bad in extravagant exuberance of over-ornamentation.

There is a psychic connection between the outline of furniture and the inline of man.

Perfect line, chaste ornamentation, the elimination of the superfluous was the result of the Greek idea of restraint—self-control in all things and in all expression. The immense authority of the law-makers enforced simple austerity as the right and only setting for the daily life of an Athenian, worthy of the name. There were exceptions, but as a rule all citizens, regardless of their wealth and station, had impressed upon them the civic obligation to express their taste for the beautiful, in the erecting of public buildings in their city of Athens, monuments of perfect art, by God-like artists, Phidias, Apelles, and Praxiteles.



From Greece, culture, borne on the wings of the arts, moved on to Rome, and at first, Roman architecture and decoration reproduced only the classic Greek types; but, as Rome grew, her arts took on another and very different outline, showing how the history of decorative art is to a fascinating degree the history of customs and manners.

Rome became prosperous, greedy, powerful and imperious, enslaving the civilised world, and, not having the restraining laws of Greece, waxed luxurious and licentious, and chafed, in consequence, at the austere rigidity of the Greek style of furnishing.

We know that in the time of Augustus Caesar the Romans had wonderful furniture of the most costly kind, made from cedar, pine, elm, olive, ash, ilex, beach and maple, carved to represent the legs, feet, hoofs and heads of animals, as in earlier days was the fashion in Assyria, Egypt and Greece, while intricate carvings in relief, showed Greek subjects taken from mythology and legend. Caesar, it is related, owned a table costing a million sesterces ($40,000).

But gradually the pure line swerved, ever more and more influenced by the Orient, for Rome, always successful in war, had established colonies in the East. Soon Byzantine art reached Rome, bringing its arabesques and geometrical designs, its warm, glowing colours, soft cushions, gorgeous hangings, embroideries, and rich carpets. In fact all the glowing luxury that the new Roman craved.

The effect of this mesalliance upon all Art, including interior decoration, was to cause its immediate decline. Elaboration and banal designs, too much splendour of gold and silver and ivory inlaid with gold, resulted in a decadent art which reflected a decadent race and Rome fell! Not all at once; it took five hundred years for the neighbouring races to crush her power, but continuous hectoring did it, in 476 A.D. Then began the Dark Ages merging into the Middle Ages (fifth to fifteenth centuries).

Dark they were, but what picturesque and productive darkness! Rome fell, but the Carlovingian family arose, and with it the great nations of Western Europe, to give us, especially in France, another supreme flowering of interior decoration. Britain was torn from the grasp of Rome by the Saxons, Danes and Normans, and as a result the great Anglo-Saxon race was born to create art periods. Mahomet appeared and scored as an epoch-maker, recording a remarkable life and a spiritual cycle. The Moors conquered Spain, but in so doing enriched her arts a thousandfold, leaving the Alhambra as a beacon-light through the ages. Finally the crusades united all warring races against the infidels. Blood was shed, but at the same time routes were opened up, by which the arts, as well as the commerce, of the Orient, reached Europe. And so the Byzantine continued to contend with Gothic art—that art which preceded from the Christian Church and stretched like a canopy over Western Europe, all through the Middle Ages. It was in the churches and monasteries that Christian art, driven from pillar to post by wars, was obliged to take refuge, and there produced that marvellous development known as the Gothic style,—of the Church, for the Church, by the Church, perfected in countless Gothic cathedrals,—crystallised glorias lifting their manifold spires to heaven,—ethereal monuments of an intrepid Faith which gave material form to its adoration, its fasting and prayer, in an unrivalled art.

There is one early Gothic chair which has come down to us, Charlemagne's, made of gilt-bronze and preserved in the Louvre, at Paris. Any knowledge beyond this one piece, as to what Carlovingian furniture was like (the eighth century) we get only from old manuscripts which show it to have been the pseudo-classic, that is, the classic modified by Byzantine influence, and very like the Empire style of Napoleon I. Here is the reason for the type. Constantinople was the capital of the Eastern Empire, when in 726 A.D., Emperor Leo III prohibited image worship, and the artists and artisans of his part of the world, in order to earn a livelihood, scattered over Europe, settling in the various capitals, where they were eagerly welcomed and employed.

Even so late as the tenth to fourteenth centuries the knowledge we have of Gothic furniture still comes from illustrated manuscripts and missals preserved in museums or in the national libraries.

Rome fell as an empire in the fifth century. In the eighth century, Venice asserted herself, later becoming the great, wealthy, Merchant City of Eastern Europe, the golden gate between Byzantium and the West (eleventh to fifteenth centuries). Her merchants visiting every country naturally carried home all art expressions, but, so far as we know, her own chief artistic output in very early days, was in the nature of richly carved wooden furniture, no specimens of which remain.



The Gothic Period is the pointed period, and dominated the art of Europe from about the tenth to the fifteenth century. Its origin was Teutonic, its development and perfection French.

At first, the house of a feudal lord meant one large hall with a raised dais, curtained off for him and his immediate family, and subdivided into sleeping apartments for the women. On this dais a table ran crossways, at which the lord and his family with their guests, ate, while a few steps lower, at a long table running lengthwise of the hall, sat the retainers. The hall was, also, the living-room for all within the walls of the castle. Sand was strewn on the stone floor and the dogs of the knights ate what was thrown to them, gnawing the bones at their leisure. This rude scene was surrounded by wonderful tapestries hung from the walls:—woman's record of man's deeds.

Later, we read of stairs and of another room known as the Parloir or talking-room, and here begins the sub-division of homes, which in democratic America has arrived at a point where more than 200 rooms are often sheltered under one private roof!

Oak chests figured prominently among the furnishings of a Gothic home, because the possessions of those feudal lords, who were constantly at war with one another, often had to be moved in haste. As men's lives became more settled, their possessions gradually multiplied; but even at the end of the eleventh century bedsteads were provided only for the nobility, probably on account of expense, as they were very grand affairs, carved and draped. To that time and later belong the wonderfully carved presses or wardrobes.

Carved wood panelling was an important addition to interior decoration during the reign of Henry III (1216-72).

In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries England with Flanders led in the production of mediaeval art.

Hallmarks of the Gothic period are animals and reptiles carved to ornament the structural parts of furniture and to ornament panels. Favourite subjects with the wood carvers of that time were scenes from the lives of the saints (the Church dominated the State) and from the romances, chanted by the minstrels.



Following the Gothic Period came the Renaissance of Greek art which began in Italy under the leadership of Leonardo Da Vinci and Raphael, who, rejecting the existing types of degraded decorative art, in Italy a combination of the Byzantine and Gothic—turned to the antique, the purest Greek styles of Pericles' time. The result was another period of perfect line and proportion, called the Italian Renaissance, a great wave of art which swept over all Europe, gaining impetus from the wise patronage of the ruling Medicis. One of them (Pope Leo X with the co-operation of Italy's reigning dukes and princes) employed and so developed the extraordinary powers of Michael Angelo, Titian, Raphael, Andrea del Sarto and Correggio.

By the end of the fifteenth century, Classic Greek art was engrossing the mind of Western Europe, classical literature was becoming the fashion and there was even an attempt to make Latin the popular language.

It was during the Renaissance that Palladio rebuilt the palaces of Italy,—beautiful beyond words, and that Benvenuto Cellini designed in gold, silver and bronze in a manner never since equalled. From that same period dates the world-famous Majolica of Urbino, Pesaro and Gubbio, shown in our museums. So far as house-furnishing went, aside from palaces, there was but little that was appropriate for intimate domestic life. The early Renaissance furniture was palatial, architectural in outline and, one might almost say, in proportions. The tables were impossibly high, the chairs were stiff, and the cabinets immense and formal in outline. It had, however, much stately beauty, and very lovely are certain old pieces of carved and gilded wood where the gilt, put on over a red preparation and highly burnished, has rubbed off with time, and shows a soft glow of colour through the gold.

But as always, the curse of over-elaboration to please perverted minds, was resorted to by cabinet-makers who copied mosaics with their inlaying, and invented that form known as pietra-dura—polished bits of marble, agates, pebbles and lapis lazuli. Ivory was carved and used as bas-reliefs and ivory and tortoise shell, brass and mother-of-pearl used as inlay. Elaborate Arabesque designs inlaid were souvenirs of the Orient, and where the cabinetmaker's saw left a line, the cuts were filled in with black wood or stained glue, which brought out the design and so gave an added decorative effect. Skilled artisans had other designs bitten into wood by acids, and shading was managed by pouring hot sand on the surface of the wood. Hallmarks of the Renaissance are designs which were taken from Greek and Roman mythology, and allegories representing the elements, seasons, months and virtues. Also, battle scenes and triumphal marches.

The insatiable love for decoration found still another expression in silver and gold plaques of the highest artistic quality, embossed and engraved for those princes of Florence, Urbino, Ferrara, Rome, Venice and Naples, who vied with one another in extravagance until the inevitable reaction came.


An example of good mantel decoration. The vases and clock are Empire, the chairs Directoire, and footstools Louis XV.

A low bowl of modern green Venetian glass holds flowers.

Edmund Bonneffe says that in the latter part of the Renaissance, while the effort of the Italians seems to have been to disguise wood, French cabinet-makers emphasised its value—an interesting point to bear in mind.

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If we trace the Renaissance movement in Germany we find that it was Albrecht Duerer who led it. Then, as always, the Germans were foremost in wood carving; with Holland and Belgium they are responsible for much of the antique oak furniture on Renaissance lines. The Scandinavians have also done wonderful wood carving, which is easily confused with the early wood carving of the Russians, for the reason that the Swedes settled Finland, and Russia's Ruric rulers (before the Romanoff house,—sixteenth century) were from Finland.

In the sixteenth century metal work in steel, iron and brass reached its height in Germany and Italy. It is supposed that the elaborate mounts in furniture which were later perfected in France had their origin in iron corners and hinge-plates used, at first, merely to strengthen, but as the men who worked in metals became more and more skilful, the mounts were made with the intent of mere decoration and to draw attention to the beauty of the wood itself.

Before Duerer turned Germany's mind toward the Greek revival of Art, the craftsmen of his country had been following Dutch models. This was natural enough, for Charles V was king at that time, of Holland, Germany and Spain, and the arts of the three countries, as well as their commerce were interchangeable. In fact it was the Dutch painter, Van Eyck, who took the Renaissance into Spain when called thereto paint royalty. Sculptors, tapestry weavers, books on art, etc., followed.

That was the Spanish awakening, but the art of Spain during the sixteenth century shows that the two most powerful influences were Moorish and Italian. The most characteristically Spanish furniture of that period are those cabinets,—"Vargueos," made of wood ornamented on the outside with wrought iron, while inside are little columns made of fine bone, painted and gilded. Much of the old Spanish furniture reproduces German and Italian styles. Embossed leather put on with heavy nails has always been characteristic of Spain, and in the seventeenth century very fine Spanish mahogany and chestnut were decorated with tortoise-shell inlaid with ivory, so as to make elaborate pictures in the Italian style. (See Baron Davillier on Spanish Furniture.).



The classic periods in French furniture were those known as Francis I, Henry II and the three Louis,—XIV, XV, and XVI. One can get an idea of all French periods in furnishing by visiting the collection in Paris belonging to the government, "Mobilier National," in the new wing of the Louvre.

It is always necessary to consult political history in order to understand artistic invasions. Turn to it now and you will find that Charles VIII of France held Naples for two years (1495-6), and when he went home took with him Italian artists to decorate his palaces. Read on and find that later Henry II married Catherine de Medici and loved Diane de Poitiers, and that, fortunately for France, both his queen and his mistress were patronesses of the arts. So France bloomed in the sunshine of royal favour and Greek influence, as few countries ever had. Fontainebleau (begun by Francis I) was the first of a chain of French royal palaces, all monuments without and within, to a picturesque system of monarchy,—Kings who could do no wrong, wafting sceptres over powerless subjects, whose toil produced Art in the form of architecture, cabinetmaking, tapestry weaving, mural decoration, unrivalled porcelain, exquisitely wrought silver and gold plate, silks, lovely as flower gardens (showing the "pomegranate" and "vase" patterns) and velvets like the skies! And for what? Did these things represent the wise planning of wise monarchs for dependent subjects? We know better, for it is only in modern times that simple living and small incomes have achieved surroundings of artistic beauty and comfort.

The marvels of interior decoration during the classic French periods were created for kings and their queens, mistresses and favoured courtiers. Diane de Poitiers wished—perhaps only dreamed—and an epoch-making art project was born. Madame du Barry admired and made her own the since famous du Barry rose colour, and the Sevres porcelain factories reproduced it for her. But how to produce this particular illusive shade of deep, purplish-pink became a forgotten art, when the seductive person of the king's mistress was no more.

If you would learn all there is to know concerning the sixteenth century furnishings in France read Edmund Bonneffe's "Sixteenth Century Furniture."

It was the Henry II interior decoration and architecture which first showed the Renaissance of pure line and classic proportion, followed by the never-failing reaction from the simple line to the undulating over-ornate when decoration repeated the elaboration of the most luxurious, licentious periods of the past.

One has but to walk through the royal palaces of France to see French history beguilingly illustrated, in a series of volumes open to all, the pages of which are vibrant with the names and personalities of men and women who will always live in history as products of an age of great culture and art.


A delightful bit of a room. The furniture, in line, shows a Directoire influence. The striped French satin sofa and one chair is blue, yellow and faun, the Brussels tapestry in faded blues, fauns and greys. Over a charmingly painted table is a Louis XV gilt applique, the screen is dark in tone and has painted panels.

The rug, done in cross-stitch, black ground and design colours, was discovered in a forgotten corner of a shop, its condition so dingy from the dust of ages that only an expert would have recognised its possibilities.

The Louis XIV, XV and XVI periods in furniture are all related. Rare brocades, flowered and in stripes, bronze mounts as garlands, bow-knots and rosettes, on intricate inlaying, mark their common relationship. The story of these periods is that gradually decoration becomes over-elaborated and in the end dominates the Greek outline.

The three Louis mark a succession of great periods. Louis XIV, though beautiful at its best, is of the three the most ornate and is characterised in its worst stage by the extremely bowed (cabriole) legs of the furniture, ludicrously suggestive of certain debauched courtiers who surrounded the Grande Monarch.

Louis XV legs show a curve, also, but no longer the stoggy, squat cabriole of the over-fed gallant. Instead we are entranced by an ethereal grace and lightness of movement in every line and decoration. Here cabriole means but a courtly knee swiftly bending to salute some beauty's hand. So subtly waving is the curving outline of this furniture that one scarcely knows where it begins or ends, and it is the same with the decorations—exquisitely delicate waving traceries of vines and flora, gold on gold, inlay, or paint in delicate tones. All this gives to the Louis XV period supremacy over Louis XVI, whose round, grooved, tapering straight legs, one tires of more quickly, although fine gold and lovely paint make this type winning and beloved.

From Louis XVI we pass to the Directoire, when, following the Revolution, the voice of the populace decried all ostentation and everything savouring of the superfluous. The Great Napoleon in his first period affected simplicity and there were no longer bronze mounts, in rosettes, garlands and bow-knots, elaborate inlaying, nor painted furniture with lovely flowering surfaces; in the most severe examples not even fluted legs! Instead, simple but delicately proportioned furniture with slender, squarely cut, chastely tapering legs, arms and backs, was the fashion. In fact, the Directoire type is one of ideal proportions, graceful outlines with a flowing movement and the decoration when present, kept well within bounds, entirely subservient to the main structural material. One feels an almost Quaker-like quality about the Directoire, whether of natural wood or plain painted surface.

With Napoleon's assumption of regal power and habits, we get the Empire (he had been to Rome and Egypt), pseudo-classic in outline and richly ornamented with mounts in ormoulu characteristic of the Louis.

The Empire period in furniture was dethroned by the succeeding regime.

When we see old French chairs with leather seats and backs, sometimes embossed, in the Portuguese style, with small regular design, put on with heavy nails and twisted or straight stretchers (pieces of wood extending between legs of chairs), we know that they belong to the time of Henry IV or Louis XIII. Some of the large chairs show the shell design in their broad, elaborate stretchers.

The beautiful small side tables of the Louis and First Empire called consoles, were made for the display of their marvellously wrought pieces of silver, hammered and chiselled by hand,—"museum pieces," indeed, and lucky is the collector who chances upon any specimen adrift.



The only way to learn how to distinguish the three Louis is to study these periods in collections of furniture and objects of art, or, where this is impossible, to go through books showing interiors of those periods. In this way one learns to visualise the salient features of any period and gradually to acquire a feeling for them, that subtle sense which is not dependent wholly upon outline, decoration, nor colour, but upon the combined result.

French writers who specialise along the lines of interior decoration often refer to the three types as follows:

Period of Louis XIV—heavily, stolidly masculine;

Period of Louis XV—coquettishly feminine;

Period of Louis XVI—lightly, alertly masculine.

One soon sees why, for Louis XIV furniture does suggest masculinity by its weight and size. It is squarely made, straight (classic) in line, equally balanced, heavily ponderous and magnificent. Over its surface, masses of decoration immobile as stone carving, are evenly dispersed, and contribute a grandiose air to all this furniture.

There was impressive gallantry to the Louis XIV style, a ceremonious masculine gallantry, while Louis XV furniture—the period dominated by women when "poetry and sculpture sang of love" and life revolved about the boudoir—shows a type entirely intime, sinuously, lightly, gracefully, coquettishly feminine, bending and courtesying, with no fixed outline, no equal balance of proportions. Louis XV was the period when outline and decoration were merged in one and the shell which figured in Louis XIV merely as an ornament, gave its form (in a curved outline) and its name "rococo" (Italian for shell) to the style.

As a reaction from this we get the Louis XVI period, again masculine in its straight rigidity of line, its perfectly poised proportions, the directness of its appeal to the eye, a "reflection of the more serious mental attitude of the nation." Louis XVI had an aristocratic sobriety and was masculine in a light, alert, mental way, if one can so express it, which stimulates the imagination, in direct contrast to the material and literal type of Louis XIV which, as we have said, was masculine in its ponderous magnificence, and unyielding over-ornamentation.

So much for outline. Now for the decoration of the three periods.

Remember that the Louis XIV, XV and XVI periods took their ideas for decoration from the Greeks, via Italy, and the extreme Orient. A national touch was added by means of their Sevres porcelain medallions set into furniture, and the finely chiselled bronzes known as ormoulu, a superior alloy of metals of a rich gold colour. The subjects for these chiselled bronzes were taken from Greek and Roman mythology; gods, goddesses, and cupids the insignia of which were torches, quivers, arrows, and tridents. There were, also, wreaths, garlands, festoons and draperies, as well as rosettes, ribbons, bow-knots, medallion heads, and the shell and acanthus leaf. One finds these in various combinations or as individual motives on the furniture of the Louis.


Shows the red-tiled entrance hall of a duplex apartment in New York.

On the walls are two Italian mirrors (Louis XVI), a side table (console) of the same epoch, and two Italian carved chairs.

The backgrounds for these mounts were the woods finely inlaid with ivory shell and brass in the style of the Italian Renaissance. Oriental lacquer and painted furniture, at that time heavily gilded.

The legs of chairs, sofas and tables of the Louis XIV period were cabrioles (curved outward)—a development of the animal legs of carved wood, bronze or gold, used by the ancient Assyrians, Egyptians and Greeks as supports for tables and chairs. Square grooved legs also appeared in this type.

The same grooves are found on round tapering legs of Louis XVI's time. In fact that type of leg is far more typical of the Louis XVI period than the cabriole or square legs grooved, but one sees all three styles.

Other hallmarks of the Louis XVI period are the straight outlines, perfectly balanced proportions, the rosettes, ribbon and bow-knot with torch and arrows in chiselled bronze.

That all "painting and sculpture sang of love" is as true of Louis XVI as of Louis XV. In both reigns the colouring was that of spring-tender greens, pale blossoms, the grey of mists, sky-blues, and yellows of sunshine.

During Louis XV's time soft cushions fitted into the sinuous lines of the furniture, and as some Frenchman has put it, "a vague, discreet perfume pervaded the whole period, in contrast to the heavier odour of the First Empire."

The walls and ceilings of the three Louis were richly decorated in accordance with a scheme, surpassing in magnificence any other period.

An intricate system of mouldings (to master which, students at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris, must devote years) encrusted sidewalls and ceilings, forming panels and medallions, over-doors and chimney-pieces, into which were let paintings by the great masters of the time, whose subjects reflected the moods and interests of each period. The Louis XV and XVI paintings are tender and vague as to subject and the colours veiled in a greyish tone, full of sentiment.

That was the great period of tapestry weaving—Beauvais, Arras and Gobelin, and these filled panels or hung before doors.

It may be said that the period of Louis XVI profited by antiquity, but continued French traditions; it was a renaissance of line and decoration kept alive, while the First Empire was classic form inanimate, because an abrupt innovation rather than an influence and a development. One may go farther and quote the French claim that the colour scheme of Louis XVI was intensely suggestive and personal, while the Empire colouring was literal and impersonal.

Under Louis XVI furniture was all but lost in a crowd of other articles, tapestry, draperies of velvet, flowered silks, little objects of art in porcelain, more or less useless, silver and ormoulu, exquisitely decorated with a precieuse intricacy of chiselled designs.

The Louis XVI period was rigid in its aristocratic sobriety, for although torch and arrows figured, as did love-birds, in decoration—(souvenirs of the painter Boucher), everything was set and decorous, even the arrow was often the warrior's not cupid's; in the same way the torch was that of the ancients, and when a medallion showed a pastoral subject, its frame of straight lines linked it to the period. Even if Cupid appeared, he was decorously framed or pedestaled.

To be sure, Marie Antoinette and the ladies of her court played at farming in the Park of the Petite Trainon, at Versailles; but they wore silk gowns and powdered wigs. To be rustic was the fad of the day (there was a cult for gardening in England); but shepherdesses were confined to tapestries, and, while the aristocracy held the stage, it played the game of life in gloves.

There was about the interior decoration of Louis XVI, as about the lives of aristocratic society of that time, a "penetrating perfume of love and gallantry," to which all admirers of the beautiful must ever return for refreshment and standards of beauty and grace.

Speaking generally of the three Louis one can say that on a background of a great variety of wonderful inlaid woods, ivory, shell, mother-of-pearl and brass, or woods painted and gilded, following the Italian Renaissance, or lacquered in the manner of the Orient, were ormoulu wrought and finely chiselled, showing Greek mythological subjects; gods, goddesses and their insignia, with garlands, wreaths, festoons, draperies, ribbons, bow-knots, rosettes and medallions of cameo, Sevres porcelain, or Wedgwood paste. Among the lost arts of that time are inlaying as done by Boule and the finish known as Vernis Martin.


This large studio is a marked example of comfort and interest where the laws of appropriateness, practicableness, proportion and balance are so observed as to communicate at once a sense of restfulness.

Here the comfortable antiques and beautifully proportioned modern furniture make an ideal combination of living-room and painter's studio.

Tapestries and mural paintings were framed by a marvellous system of mouldings which covered ceilings and sidewalls.

The colour scheme was such as would naturally be dictated by the general mood of artificiality in an age when dreams were lived and the ruling classes obsessed by a passion for amusements, invented to divert the mind from actualities. This colour scheme was beautifully light in tone and harmoniously gay, whether in tapestries, draperies and upholstery of velvets, or flowered silks, frescoes or painted furniture. It had the appearance of being intended to act as a soporific upon society, whose aim it was to ignore those jarring contrasts which lay beneath the surface of every age.



LOUIS XIV, 1643 to {Compressed regularity {Straight, square, 1715 { giving way in { grooved and very Key-note { reaction to a { squat cabriole The Grand { ponderous ugliness. { legs. Audience Rooms { {

THE REGENCY AND {The Reign of Woman. {Cabriole legs of a LOUIS XV, 1715 to { { perfect lightness 1774 { { and grace. Key-note { { The Boudoir { {

{The transition style {Legs tapering { between the Bourbon { straight, rounded { Interior Decoration { and grooved. A { and that of { few square-grooved { the "Directorate" { legs and LOUIS XVI, 1774 to { and "Empire," { a few graceful, 1793 { characterised by a { slender cabriole Key-note { return to the classic { legs. The Salon Intime { line which reflects { { a more serious turn { { of mind on part of { { the Nation in an age { { of great mental { { activity. {

{Classic lines. {Classic decorations with subjects taken from { Greek mythologies. {Winged figures, emblems of liberty; antique { heads of helmeted warriors, made like { medallions, wreaths, lyres, torches, { rosettes, etc. {Besides the wonderful mounts of Ormoulu, { designed by the great sculptors and painters { of the period, there was a great deal { of fine brass inlaying. {Antique vases taken from ancient tombs were THE FIRST EMPIRE, { placed in recesses in the walls of rooms NAPOLEON I, 1804 { after the style of the ancient "Columbaria." to 1814 {Every effort was made to surround Napoleon I { with the dignity and austere sumptuousness { of a great Roman Emperor. As we have said, { he had been in Rome and he had been in Egypt; { the art of the French Empire was reminiscent { of both. Napoleon would outstrip the other { conquerors of the world. {Some Empire furniture shows the same fine { turning which characterizes Jacobean furniture { of both oak and walnut periods. We refer to { the round, not spiral, turning. See legs of { Empire sofa on which Madame Recamier reclines { in the well-known portrait by David (Louvre).


{Gothic, through 14th Century. THE OAK PERIOD {Renaissance, 16th Century. (including early {Elizabethan, 16th Century. Jacobean) {Jacobean or Stuart, 17th Century; James I, { Charles I and II, and James II, 1603-1688.

{Late Jacobean. THE WALNUT PERIOD {William and Mary, 1688. {Queen Anne, 1702.

"MAHOGANY" PERIOD {Chippendale. {18th Century. (and other imported {HEPPELWHITE. { woods), or {SHERATON { CHIPPENDALE PERIOD. {THE ADAM BROTHERS. {

{Almost no furniture exists of the 13th { Century. We get the majority of our GOTHIC PERIOD, { ideas from illustrated manuscripts of Through 14th Century. { that time. The furniture was carved { oak or plain oak ornamented with { iron scroll work, intended both for { strength and decoration.

RENAISSANCE OR {The characteristic, heavy, wide mouldings ELIZABETHAN, { and small panels, and heavy round 16th Century. { carving.

{Panels large and mouldings very narrow and { flat, or no mouldings at all, and flat { carving. The classic influence shown during JACOBEAN OR { the period of the Commonwealth in designs, STUART PERIOD, { pilastars and pediments was the result of a 17th Century. { classic reaction, all elaboration being { resented. WALNUT PERIOD, {The Restoration brought in elaborate late 17th Century. { carving. Dutch influence is exemplified { in the fashion for inlaying imported from { Holland, as well as the tulip design. { Turned legs, stretchers, borders and spiral { turnings, characterized Jacobean style.

In the GOTHIC PERIOD (extending { through 14th Century), as { the delightful irregularity in { line and decoration shows, {Tables, chests, presses (wardrobes), there was NO SET TYPE; each { chairs and benches or piece was an individual creation { settles. and showed the personality { of maker. {

During RENAISSANCE OR ELIZABETHAN { PERIOD (16th Century) {Table chests, presses, chairs, types begin to establish { benches, settles, and small and repeat themselves. { chests of drawers.

{Inlaying in ebony, ivory, { mother-of-pearl, and ebonised { oblong bosses of the jewel type { (last half of 17th Century). In the JACOBEAN (17th Century) { The tulip design introduced there was already a set type, { from Holland as decoration. pieces made all alike, turned {Turned and carved frames and out by the hundreds. { stretchers; caned seats and { backs to chairs, velvet cushions, { velvet satin damask and { needlework upholstery, the { seats stuffed.

Henry VIII made England Protestant, it having been Roman Catholic for several hundred years before the coming of the Anglo-Saxons and for a thousand years after.

{QUEEN ELIZABETH. PROTESTANT. { {"The Elizabethan Period."

STUART. {JAMES I. 1603. ROMAN CATHOLIC. { "JACOBEAN." {CHARLES I. (Puritan Revolution), 1628.

{Oliver Cromwell. 1649. PURITAN. { {Commonwealth.

STUART. {Charles II. (1660), Restoration. ROMAN CATHOLIC. { "JACOBEAN." {James II. (1686), Deposition and Flight.

{William—Prince of Orange (Holland), 1688. PROTESTANT. { Who had married the English Princess { Mary and was the only available Protestant { (1688).

PROTESTANT. —Queen Anne (1702-1714).



It is interesting to note that the Great Fire of London started the importation of foreign woods from across the Baltic, as great quantities were needed at once for the purpose of rebuilding. These soft woods aroused the invention of the cabinet-makers, and were especially useful for inlaying; so we find in addition to oak, that mahogany, pear and lime woods were used in fine furniture, it being lime-wood that Grinling Gibbons carved when working with Sir Christopher Wren, the famous architect (seventeenth century).

During the early Georgian period the oak carvings were merely poor imitations of Elizabethan and Stuart designs. There seemed to have been no artist wood-carvers with originality, which may have been partly due to a lack of stimulus, as the fashion in the decoration of furniture turned toward inlaying.


are characterised by turned work, giving way to flattened forms, and the disappearance of the elaborate front stretcher on Charles II chairs.

The coming of mahogany into England and its great popularity there gives its name to that period when Chippendale, Heppelwhite, Sheraton and the Adam Brothers were the great creative cabinet-makers. The entire period is often called CHIPPENDALE, because Chippendale's books on furniture, written to stimulate trade by arousing good taste and educating his public, are considered the best of that time. There were three editions: 1754, 1759, and 1762.

The work was entitled "The Gentleman and Cabinet-maker's Director and Useful Designs of Household Furniture in the Gothic, Chinese and Modern Taste" (and there was still more to the title!).

Chippendale's genius lay in taking the best wherever he found it and blending the whole into a type so graceful, beautiful, perfectly proportioned, light in weight and appearance, and so singularly suited to the uses for which it was intended, that it amounted to creation.

The "Chinese Craze" in England was partly due to a book so called, written by Sir William Chambers, architect, who went to China and not only studied, but sketched, the furniture, he saw there.

Thomas Sheraton, we are assured, was the most cultivated of this group of cabinet-makers. The three men made both good and bad styles. The work of the three men can be distinguished one from the other and, also, it can be very easily confused. To read up a period helps; but to really know any type of furniture with certainty, one must become familiar with its various and varying characteristics.

The houses and furniture designed and made by the Adam brothers were an epoch in themselves. These creations were the result of the co-operation of a little band of artists, consisting of Michael Angelo Pergolesi, who published in 1777, "Designs for Various Ornaments"; Angelica Kauffman and Cipriani, two artist-painters who decorated the walls, ceilings, woodwork and furniture designed by the Adam brothers; and another colleague, the great Josiah Wedgwood, whose medallions and plaques, cameo-like creations in his jasper paste, showed both classic form and spirit.

The Adam brothers' creations were rare exotics, with no forerunners and no imitators, like nothing the world had ever seen—yet reflecting the purest Greek period in line and design.

One of the characteristics of the Mahogany Period was the cabriole leg, which is, also, associated with Italian and French furniture of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. As a matter of fact this form of leg is as old as the Romans and is really the same as the animal legs of wood or bronze, used as supports for tripods and tables by Assyrians, Egyptians and Greeks. The cabriole leg may be defined as "a convex curve above a concave one, with the point of junction smoothed away. On Italian console tables and French commodes we see the two simple curves disguised by terminal figures."

The rocaille (shell) ornament on the Chippendale as well as the cabriole leg copied from Italy and France, and the Dutch foot from Holland, substantiate our claim that Chippendale used what he found wherever he found it irrespective of the stigma of plagiarism.

There is a beautiful book by F.S. Robinson in which the entire subject of English furniture is treated in a most charming fashion.

Now let us return a moment to the Jacobean period. It was under Charles I that couches and settles became prominent pieces of furniture. Some of the Jacobean chairs are like those made in Italy, in the seventeenth century, with crossed legs, backs and seats covered with red velvet. Other Jacobean chairs had scrollwork carved and pierced, with central panel in the back of embroidery, while the seat was of cane.

Some of the Jacobean cabinets had panels of ebony, the other parts inlaid with mother-of-pearl and ivory.

The silver Jacobean furniture is interesting and the best examples of this type are said to be those belonging to Lord Sackville. They are of ebony with silver mountings.

Yorkshire is noted for its Jacobean furniture, but some famous rooms done in this style are at Langleys, in Essex, the seat of Col. Tufnell, where the ceilings and mantels are especially fine and the library boasts interesting panelled walls, once enlivened by stained glass windows, when this room was used as a private chapel for the family.

Jacobean carving was never ornate.

Twenty years later came the Queen Anne period. Queen Anne chairs show a solid splat, sometimes vase-shaped, and strap-work arabesques. Most of the legs were cabriole, instead of the twisted turnings (on Stuart lines) which had been Supports for chairs, cabinets and tables. The Queen Anne chair legs terminated when cabriole, in claws and balls or simple balls. Settees for two were then called "love seats," and "pole-screens" belonged to this period, tall, slender poles with small, sliding screens.

Queen Anne hangings were of rich damasks, silks and velvets, and the wainscot of rooms was painted some pale colour as an effective background to set off the dark, turned walnut or gorgeous lacquer made in red, green or black, and ornamented with gold. Some of the Queen Anne pieces of this variety had hinges and lockplates of chased brass. Another variety was of oak, veneered with walnut and inlaid.

The very high ceilings of the Queen Anne period led to the use of "tall boys" or family bureaus, those many-storied conveniences which comprised a book-case above, writing desk in the middle, and drawers below.

Lockwood says in giving the history of chairs, in his "Cabinet Makers from 1750 to 1840": "Extravagance of taste and fluctuation of fashion had reached high water mark due to increase of wealth in England and her colonies. From the plain, stately pieces of Queen Anne the public turned to the rococo French designs of early Chippendale, then tiring of that, veered back to classic lines, as done by the Adam brothers, and so on, from heavy Chippendale to the overlight and perishable Heppelwhite. Then public taste turned to the gaudily painted Sheraton and finally, took to copying the French Empire."

The American Revolutionary War stopped the exportation of furniture to America, with the result that cabinet-makers in the United States copied Chippendale and neglected all other later artists. When America began again to import models, Sheraton was an established and not a transitional type. Beautiful specimens are shown in the Nichols house, at Salem, Mass., furnished in 1783. The furniture used by George Washington when President of the United States in 1789, and now in the City Hall, New York, is pure Sheraton. (See Colonial Furniture, Luke Vincent Lockwood.)

Sir Christopher Wren, architect, with Grinling Gibbons, designer and wood-carver, were chiefly responsible for the beautifully elaborate mouldings on ceilings and walls, carved from oak and used for forming large panels with wide bevels, into which were sometimes set tapestries.

The Italian stucco mouldings were also used at that time. The fashion for elaborate ceilings and sidewalls had come to England via Italy and France. The most elaborate ones of those times were executed under Charles II and William III, the ceilings rivalling those of Louis XIV.

William and Mary (1687-1702) brought over with them from Holland, Dutch cabinet makers, which accounts for the marked Dutch influence on the Mahogany Period, an influence which shows in a Dutch style of inlaying, cabriole legs and the tulip design. A sure sign of the William and Mary period is the presence of jasmine, as designed for inlaying in bone, ivory or hollywood.

Lacquer came to England via Holland, the Dutch having imported Chinese workmen.

The entire Mahogany Period, including the Adam brothers, used the shell as a design and the backs of settees resembled several chair backs places side by side.

A feature of the Mahogany Period were the knife-boxes and cases for bottles, made of mahogany and often inlaid, which stood upon pedestals constructed for the purpose, at each side of the sideboard. Later the pedestals became a part of the sideboard. The urn-shaped knife-boxes were extremely graceful as made by Adam, Chippendale and Heppelwhite.

It is impossible to clearly define all of the work of the cabinet-makers of the mahogany or any other period, for reasons already stated. So one must be prepared to find Chippendale sofas which show the shapes originated by him and, also, at times, show Louis XVI legs and Louis XV outline. Chippendale's contemporaries were quite as apt to vary their types, and it is only by experience that one can learn to distinguish between the different artists, to appreciate the hall marks of creative individuality.

The early Chippendale was almost identical with Queen Anne furniture and continued the use of cabriole leg and claw and ball feet. The top of the Chippendale chairs were bow-shaped with ends extending beyond the sides of the back and usually turned up. If turned down they never rounded into the sides, as in the case of Queen Anne chairs. The splats have an upward movement and were joined to chair seats, and not to a cross-rail. They were pierced and showed elaborate ribbon and other designs in carving. There were, also, "ladder backs," and the Chinese Chippendale chairs, with lattice work open carved and extending over entire backs. The characteristic Chippendale leg is cabriole with claw and ball foot.

The setting for Chippendale furniture was a panelled dado, classic mantelpiece, architraves and frieze, and stretched over sidewalks, above dado, was silk or paper showing a large pattern harmonising with the furniture. The Chinese craze brought about a fashion for Chinese wall papers with Chinese designs. This Chinese fashion continued for fifty years.

Chippendale carved the posts of his bedsteads, and so the bed curtains were drawn back and only a short valance was used around the top, whereas in the time of William and Mary bed curtains enveloped all the woodwork. Still earlier in the Elizabethan period bed posts were elaborately carved.

In the eighteenth century it was the fashion to embroider the bed curtains.

The Chippendale china-cabinets with glass fronts, were the outcome of the fad for collecting Chinese and French porcelain, and excellent taste was displayed in collecting these small articles within definite and appropriate limits. Cabinets with glass doors were also used as receptacles for silverware.

Thomas Sheraton (1760-1786), another great name in the Mahogany Period, admired Louis XV and Louis XVI and one can easily trace French influence in the "light, rhythmic style" he originated. Sheraton's contribution to interior decoration was furniture. His rooms, walls, ceilings, over-doors, windows and chimney pieces, are considered very poor; which accounts for the fact that Sheraton furniture as well as Heppelwhite was used in Adam rooms.

Sheraton made a specialty of pieces of furniture designed to serve several purposes, and therefore adapted for use in small rooms; such as dressing-tables with folding mirrors, library step-ladders convertible into tables, etc.

The backs of Sheraton chairs had straight tops and several small splats joined to a cross-rail, and not to the seat. The legs were straight.

Sheraton introduced the use of turned work on the legs and outer supports of the backs of chairs, and produced fine examples of painted furniture, especially painted satin-wood. He, also, did some very fine inlaying and used cane in the seats and backs of chairs which he painted black and gold. Among those who decorated for him was Angelica Kauffman.

Heppelwhite chairs are unmistakable on account of their shield, heart or oval backs and open splats, which were not joined to the seat in the centre of backs. The most beautiful were those with carved Prince of Wales feathers, held together by a bow-knot delicately carved. They were sometimes painted. The legs of Heppelwhite furniture were straight.

We see in the book published by A. Heppelwhite & Co., a curious statement to the effect that cabriole chairs were those having stuffed backs. This idea must have arisen from the fact that many chairs of the eighteenth century with cabriole legs, did have stuffed backs.

Robert Adam, born in 1785, was an architect and decorative artist. The Adam rooms, walls, ceilings, mantels, etc., are the most perfect of the period; beautiful classic mouldings encrust ceilings and sidewalls, forming panels into which were let paintings, while in drawing-rooms the side panels were either recessed so as to hold statuary in the antique style, or were covered with damask or tapestry. It is stated that damask and tapestry were never used on the walls of Adam dining-rooms. James Adam, a brother, worked with Robert.

Every period had its own weak points, so we find the Adam brothers at times making wall-brackets which were too heavy with ram's heads, garlands, etc., and the Adam chairs were undoubtedly bad. They had backs with straight tops, rather like Sheraton chairs, and several small splats joining top rail to seat. The bad chairs by Adam, were improved upon by Sheraton and Heppelwhite. The legs of Adam furniture were straight.

The ideal eighteenth century interior in England was undoubtedly an Adam room with Heppelwhite or Sheraton furniture.

Sir John Soane, architect, had one of the last good house interiors, for the ugly Georgian style came on the scene about 1812. Grinling Gibbons' carvings of heavy fruits and flowers, festoons and masks made to be used architecturally we now see used on furniture, and often heavily gilded.

William Morris was an epoch maker in English interior decoration, for he stood out for the "great, simple note" in furnishings. The pre-Raphaelites worked successfully to the same end, reviving classic simplicity and establishing the value of elimination. The good, modern furniture of to-day, designed with reference to meeting the demands of modern conditions, undoubtedly received a great impetus from that reaction to the simple and harmonious.



The furniture made in America during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries was reproduced from English models and shows the influence of Chippendale, Sheraton, Heppelwhite and the Adam brothers. For those interested in these early types of American output, the Sage and other collections in the Metropolitan Museum, New York, give a delightful object lesson, and there has been much written on the subject in case any data is desired.

If some of our readers own heirlooms and plan reproducing Colonial interiors of the finest type, we would advise making an effort to see some of the beautiful New England or Virginia homes, which remain quite as they were in the old days; fine square rooms with hand-carved woodwork, painted white, their walls panelled in wood and painted the same white. Into these panels were set hand-painted wall paper. The authors saw some made for a house in Peabody, near Salem, Massachusetts, some time between 1760 and 1800, and were amazed to find that the colours were as vivid as when first put on.

Here let us say that the study of interior decoration throws a strong light on the history of walls. In Gothic days the stone or wood of the feudal hall was partially concealed by tapestries,—the needlework of the women of the household, a record of the gallant deeds of men used as interior decoration. Later of course, the making of tapestries became a great industry in Italy, France and Belgium, an industry patronised by kings and the nobility, and subsidised by governments.

Next we have walls sheathed with wood panelling. Then during the late Renaissance, painted portraits were let into these panels and became a part of the walls. Later, the upper half, or two-thirds of the panelling, was left off, and only a low panelling, or "dado," remained. This, too, disappeared in time.

Landscape paper was the bridge between the panelled walls with pictures built into them, and the painted or papered walls with pictures hung on them. The paper which we have already referred to, is one of the finest examples of its kind, and while there is only enough for one side of a room, it is valued at $5,000. The design is eight feet high, each strip 22 inches wide, and there are eighteen of the original twenty strips. Two breaks occur, numbers 16 and 18. The owner believes that the Puritan attitude of her ancestors caused them to destroy the panels which showed nude figures engaged in battle. This paper is now the property of Mrs. Eliza Brown of Salem, Massachusetts. It was found in her grandfather's attic in Gloucester, and was given to Mrs. Brown by her grandmother. It was in an army chest belonging to Judutham Baldwin, a Colonel of Engineers in the Revolutionary Army, who laid out the forts in Boston Harbour.

Kate Sanborn, in her book on "Old Wall Papers" speaks of this particular paper. "Paper from the Ham House at Peabody, Massachusetts, now occupied by Dr. Worcester. Shows tropical scenes. These scenes are quite similar to those of the Pizarro paper and may have been the work of the same designer." (The so-called "Pizarro in Peru" paper is shown in plate 34 and 35 of the same book, and is in Duxbury, Mass.) Pizarro's invasion of Peru was in 1531. The colouring of Mrs. Brown's paper is white background with foliage in vivid greens, while figures of Peruvians wear costumes of brilliant blues and vermillion reds, a striking contrast to their soft, brown skins.

This paper is now in the market, but let us hope it may finally rest in a museum.



The revival of Directoire and Empire furniture within the past few years, is attributed by some, to that highly artistic, and altogether illuminating publication, the Gazette do Bon Ton—Arts, Modes and Frivolities—published in Paris by the Librarie Centrale des Beaux Arts, 13 rue Lafayette and contributed to by the leading artists of Paris—the ultra moderns.

There was a time, fifteen or twenty years ago, when one could buy Empire furniture at very low figures, for in those days there was many a chance to pick up such pieces. To-day, a genuine antique or a hand-made reproduction of an antique made sixty years ago, will command a large price, and even in Paris one has difficulty in finding them in the shops at any price.

Empire furniture ceased to be admired in America when the public got "fed up" on this type by its indiscriminate use in hotels and other public buildings.

The best designers of modern painted furniture are partly responsible for the revived interest in both Empire and Directoire. From their reproductions of the beautiful simple outlines, we, as a people, are once more beginning to feel line and to recognise it as an intrinsic part of beauty.


A Victorian group in a small portion of a very large parlour, 70 x 40 feet, one of the few remaining, if not the last, of the old Victorian mansions in New York City, very interesting as a specimen of the most elegant style of furnishing in the first half of the nineteenth century.

We would call attention to the heavy moulding of ceilings, the walls painted in panels (painted panels or wall paper to represent panels, is a Victorian hallmark), beautifully hand-carved woodwork, elaboration of design and colon carpet, woven in one piece for the room; in fact the characteristic richness of elaboration everywhere: Pictures in gilded carved frames, hung on double silk cords with tassels, heavily carved furniture made in England, showing fruits, flowers and medallion heads, and a similar elaboration and combination of flora and figures on bronze gas fixtures.

Heavy curtains of satin damask hung at the windows, held back by great cords and tassels, from enormous brass cornices in the form of gigantic flowers.

Also of the period is an immense glass case of stuffed birds, standing in the corner of the large dining-room. This interior was at the height of its glory at the time of the Civil War, and one is told of wonderful parties when the uniforms of the Northern officers decorated the stately rooms and large shaded gardens adjoining the house.

As things go in New York it may be but a matter of months before this picturesque landmark is swept away by relentless Progress.



Gradually architecture and interior decoration drew apart, becoming two distinct professions, until during the Victorian era the two were unrelated with the result that the period of Victorian furniture is one of the worst on record.

There were two reasons for this divorce of the arts, which for centuries had been one in origin and spirit; first, the application of steam to machinery (1815) leading to machine-made furniture, and second, the invention of wall-paper which gradually took the place of wood panelling and shut off the architects from all jurisdiction over the decoration of the home.

With the advent of machine-made furniture came cheap imitations of antiques and the rapid decadence of this art. Hand-made reproductions are quite another thing. Sir Richard Wallace (of the Wallace Collection, London) is said to have given $40,000 for a reproduction of the bureau du Louvre.

Fortunately, of late years a tide has set in which favours simple, well made furniture, designed with fine lines and having special reference to the purposes for which each piece is intended, and to-day our houses can be beautiful even if only very simple and inexpensive furniture is used.

In the Victorian prime, even the carved furniture, so much of which was made in England both for that country and the United States (see Plate XXI), was not of the finest workmanship, compared with carvings of the same time in Belgium, France, Germany and Austria.

To-day Victorian cross-stitch and bead work in chairs, screens, footstools and bell-pulls, artificial flowers of wax and linen, and stuffed birds, as well as Bristol glass in blue, green and violet, are brought out from their hiding places and serve as touches of colour to give some of the notes of variety which good interior decoration demands.

To be fascinating, a person must not be too rigidly one type. There must be moments of relaxation, of light and shade in mood, or one is not charmed even by great beauty. So your perfect room must not be kept too rigidly in one style. To have attraction it must have variety in both line and colour, and reflect the taste of generations of home lovers. The contents of dusty garrets may add piquancy to modern decorations, giving a touch of the unusual which is very charming.



Painted furniture is, at present, the vogue, so if you own a piece made by the Adam brothers of England, decorated by the hand of Angelica Kauffman, or Pergolesi, from Greek designs, now is the moment to "star" it.

Different in decoration, but equal in charm, is the seventeenth and eighteenth century painted lacquers of Italy, France, China and Japan. In those days great masters laboured at cabinetmaking and decorating, while distinguished artists carved the woodwork of rooms, and painted the ceilings and walls of even private dwellings.

To-day we have reproductions (good and bad) of the veteran types, and some commendable inventions, more or less classic in line, and original in colouring and style of decoration. At times, one wishes there was less evident effort to be original. We long for the repose of classic colour schemes and classic line. In art, the line and the combination of colours which have continued most popular throughout the ages, are very apt to be those with which one can live longest and not tire. For this reason, a frank copy of an antique piece of painted furniture is generally more satisfactory than a modern original.

If you are using dull coloured carpets and hangings, have your modern reproductions antiqued. If you prefer gay, cheering tones, let the painted furniture be bright. These schemes are equally interesting in different ways. It is stupid to decry new things, since every grey antique had its frivolous, vivid youth.

One American decorator has succeeded in making the stolid, uncompromising squareness of mission furniture take on a certain lightness and charm by painting it black and discreetly lining it with yellow and red. Yellow velour is used for the seat pads and heavy hangings, thin yellow silk curtains are hung at the windows, and the black woodwork is set off by Japanese gold paper. In a large house, or in a summer home where there are young people coming and going, a room decorated in this fashion is both gay and charming and makes a pleasant contrast to darker rooms. Then, too, yellow is a lovely setting for all flowers, the effect being to intensify their beauty, as when flooded by sunshine.

Another clever treatment of the mission type, which we include under the heading Painted Furniture, is to have it stained a rich dark brown, instead of the usual dark green. Give your dealer time to order your furniture unfinished from the factory, and have stained to your own liking; or, should you by any chance be planning to use mission in one of those cottages so often built in Maine, for summer occupancy, where the walls are of unplastered, unstained, dove-tailed boards, and the floors are unstained and covered with matting rugs, try using this furniture in its natural colour—unfinished. The effect is delightfully harmonious and artistic and quite Japanese in feeling.

In such a cottage, the living-room has a raftered ceiling, the sidewalls, woodwork, settles by the fireplaces, open bookcases and floor, are all stained dark walnut. The floor colour is very dark, the sidewalls, woodwork and book shelves are a trifle lighter, and the ceiling boards still lighter between the almost black, heavy rafters. The mission furniture is dark brown, the hangings and cushions are of mahogany-coloured corduroy, and the floor is strewn with skins of animals. There are no pictures, the idea being to avoid jarring notes in another key. Instead, copper and brass bowls contribute a note of variety, as well as large jars filled with great branches of flowers, gathered in the nearby woods. The chimney is exposed. It and the large open fireplace are of rough, dark mottled brick.

A room of this character would be utterly spoiled by introducing white as ornaments, table covers, window curtains or picture-mats; it is a colour scheme of dull wood-browns, old reds and greens in various tones. If you want your friends' photographs about you in such a room, congregate them on one or two shelves above your books.



The experience of the author is that the most attractive, inexpensive furniture is that made by the Leavens factory in Boston. This furniture is so popular with all interior decorators that it needs no further advertising. Order for each single iron bed two foot boards, instead of a head and a footboard. This the factory will supply upon demand. Then have your bed painted one of the colours you have chosen as in the colour scheme for your room. Say, the prevailing note of your chintz. Have two rolls made, to use at the head and foot (which are now of equal height) and cover these and the bed with chintz, or, if preferred, with sun-proof material in one of the other colours in your chintz. By this treatment your cheap iron bed of ungainly proportions, has attained the quality of an interesting, as well as unique, "day-bed."


Two designs for day-beds which are done in colours to suit the scheme of any room.

These beds are fitted with box springs and a luxurious mattress of feathers or down, covered with silk or chintz, coverlet and cushions of similar material, in colours harmonising with beds. If desired, these lounges can be made higher from the floor.

The most attractive cheap bureau is one ordered "in the plain" from the factory, and painted like the bed. If you would entirely remove the factory look, have the mirror taken off the bureau and hang it on the wall over what, by your operation, has become a chest of drawers. If you want a long mirror in your rooms, the cheapest variety is mirror glass, fastened to the back of doors with picture moulding to match woodwork. This is also the cheapest variety of over-mantel mirrors. We have seen it used with great success, let into walls of narrow halls and bedrooms and framed with a dull-gold moulding in the style of room.

For chairs, use the straight wooden ones which are made to match the bureau, and paint them like the bed and bureau.

For comfortable arm-chairs, wicker ones with chintz-covered pads for seat and back are best for the price, and these can also be painted.

Cheap tables, which match the bureau, when painted will do nicely as a small writing-table or a night-table for water, clock, book, etc.

If the floors are new and of hard wood, wax them and use a square of plain velvet carpet in a dark tone of your dominant colour. Or if economy is your aim, use attractive rag rugs which are very cheap and will wash.

If your floors are old and you intend using a large velvet square, paint the edges of the floor white, or some pale shade to match the colour of the walls. Or, use filling all over the floor. If you cannot afford either and must use small rugs, stain or paint your floors a dark colour, to be practical, and use only necessary rugs; that is, one before bed, bureau and fireplace.

Sofas are always expensive. That is one reason for advising that beds be treated like "day-beds."

Wall papers, at ten cents a roll, come in charming colours and designs, and with a few cheap French coloured prints, framed in passepartout, your room is attractive at once.

If your prints are black and white use broad passepartout in same colour as the wall paper, only a tone deeper. If you use favourite photographs, suppress all margins and frame with narrow black passepartout.

For curtains use one of the sixty-or seventy-cent chintzes which come in attractive designs and colours, or what is still cheaper, sun-proof material, fifty inches wide (from $1.10 to $1.50 a yard), and split it in half for curtains, edging them with a narrow fringe of a contrasting colour which appears in the chintz of chair-pads. Another variety of cheap curtains is heavy cream scrim with straps (for looping back) and valance of chintz. These come cheaper than all chintz curtains and are very effective, suggesting the now popular and expensive combination of plain toned taffetas combined with chintz.

Use for sash curtains plain scrim or marquesette.

Let your lamps be made of inexpensive one-toned pottery vases, choosing for these still another colour which appears in the chintz. The lamp shades can be made of a pretty near-silk, in a plain colour, with a fringe made up of one, two or three of the colours in the chintz.

If you happen to have your heart set on deep rose walls and your bedroom furniture is mahogany, find a chintz with rose and French blue, and then cover your arm-chair pads and bed with chintz, but make your curtains of blue sun-proof material, having a narrow fringe of rose, and use a deep rose carpet, or rugs, or if preferred, a dull brown carpet to harmonise with the furniture. A plain red Wilton carpet will dye an artistic deep mulberry brown. They are often bought in the red and dyed to get this shade of brown.

For attractive cheap dining-room furniture, buy simple shapes, unfinished, and have the table, sideboard and chairs painted dark or light, as you prefer.

In your dining-room and halls, if the house is old and floors bad, and economy necessary, use a solid dark linoleum, either deep blue or red, and have it waxed, as an economical measure as well as to improve its appearance.

In a small home, where no great formality is observed, well chosen doilies may be used on all occasions, instead of table cloths. By this expedient you suppress one large item on the laundry bill, the care of the doilies in such cases falling to the waitress.

To make comfortable, convenient and therefore livable, a part of a house, formerly an attic, or an extension with small rooms and low ceilings, seems to be the special province of a certain type of mind, which works best when there is a tax on the imagination.

When reclaiming attic rooms, one of the problems is how to get wall space, especially if there are dormer windows and very slanting ceilings. One way, is to place a dressing table in the dormer, under windows, covering the sides of the dormer recess with mirror glass, edged with narrow moulding. The dressing-table is not stationary, therefore it can be easily moved by a maid, when the rooms are cleaned.



(Where economy is not an item of importance)

Here we can indulge our tastes for beautiful quality of materials and fine workmanship, as well as good line and colour, so we describe a room which has elegant distinction and atmosphere, yet is not a so-called period room—rather a modern room, in the sense that it combines beautiful lines and exquisite colouring with every modern development for genuine comfort and convenience.

The walls are panelled and painted a soft taupe—there are no pictures; simply one very beautiful mirror in a dull-gold frame, a Louis XVI reproduction.


In another suite we have a boudoir done in sage greens and soft browns. The curtains of taffeta, in stripes of the two colours. Two tiers of creme net form sash curtains.

The carpet is a rich mulberry brown, day-bed a reproduction of an antique, painted in faded greens with panier fleuri design on back, in lovely faded colours, taffeta cushions of sage green and an occasional note about the room of mulberry and dull blue. Electric light shades are of decorated parchment paper.

Really an enchanting nest, and as it is in a New York apartment, and occasionally used as a bedroom, a piece of furniture has been designed for it similar to the wardrobe shown in picture, only not so high. The glass door, when open, disclose a toilet table, completely fitted out, the presence of which one would never suspect.

The carpet made of dark taupe velvet covers the entire floor. The furniture is Louis XV, of the wonderful painted sort, the beautiful bed with its low head and foot boards exactly the same height, curving backward; the edges a waved line, the ground-colour a lovely pistache green, and the decoration gay old-fashioned garden flowers in every possible shade. The bureau has three or four drawers and a bowed front with clambering flowers. These two pieces, and a delightful night-table are exact copies of the Clyde Fitch set in the Cooper Hewitt Museum, at New York; the originals are genuine antiques, and their colour soft from age.

A graceful dressing-table, with winged mirrors, has been designed to go with this set, and is painted like the bureau. The glass is a modern reproduction of the lovely old eighteenth century mirror glass which has designs cut into it, forming a frame.

For chairs, all-over upholstered ones are used, of good lines and proportions; two or three for comfort, and a low slipper-chair for convenience. These are covered in a chintz with a light green ground, like the furniture, and flowered in roses and violets, green foliage and lovely blue sprays.

The window curtains are of soft, apple-green taffeta, trimmed with a broad puffing of the same silk, edged on each side by black moss-trimming, two inches wide. These curtains hang from dull-gold cornices of wood, with open carving, through which one gets glimpses of the green taffeta of the curtains.

The sash-curtains are of the very finest cream net, and the window shades are of glazed linen, a deep cream ground, with a pattern showing a green lattice over which climb pink roses. The shades are edged at the bottom with a narrow pink fringe.

The bed has a cover of green taffeta exactly like curtains, with the same trimming of puffed taffeta, edged with a black moss-trimming.

The mantelpiece is true to artistic standards and realises the responsibility of its position as keynote to the room. Placed upon it are a beautiful old clock and two vases, correct as to line and colour.

Always be careful not to spoil a beautiful mantel or beautiful ornaments by having them out of proportion one with the other. Plate XXIV shows a mantel which fails as a composition because the bust, an original by Behnes, beautiful in itself, is too heavy for the mantel it stands on and too large for the mirror which reflects it and serves as its background.

Keep everything in correct proportion to the whole. We have in mind the instance of some rarely beautiful walls taken from an ancient monastery in Parma, Italy. They were ideal in their original setting, but since they have been transported to America, no setting seems right. They belonged in a building where there were a succession of small rooms with low ceilings, each room perfect like so many pearls on a string. Here in America their only suitable place would be a museum, or to frame the tiny "devotional" of some precieuse Flower of Modernity.



An original scheme for a dining-room was recently carried out in a country house in England by a woman whose hobby is illuminating. It will appeal to experts in the advance guard of interior decoration. The woman in question was stimulated for her task by coming into possession of some interesting Jacobean pieces of furniture, of oak, squarely and solidly made, with flat carvings, characteristic of the period.


A beautiful mantel, a beautiful mirror, beautiful ornaments, and a rare and beautiful marble bust by Behnes, but because the bust is too large for both mantel and reflecting mirror, the composition is poor.

The large Jacobean chest happened to be lined, as many of those old chests were, with quaint figured paper, showing a coat-of-arms alternating with another design in large squares of black and grey. This paper, the owner had reproduced to cover the walls of her dining-room, and then she stained her woodwork black (giving the effect of old black oak), also, the four corner cupboards, but the inside of these cupboards—doors and all—she made a rich Pompeian red and lackered it. The doors are left open and one sees on the shelves of the corner cupboards a wonderful collection of old china, much of it done in rich gold. At night the whole is illuminated with invisible electric bulbs. The gleaming effect is quite marvellous.

The seat-pads on chairs, are made of hides, gilded all over, and on the gilt the owner has painted large baskets holding fruit and flowers done in gay colours. The long Jacobean bench has a golden cushion with baskets painted on it in gay colours.

A part of the wonderful gold china is used at every meal, and the rest of it being left on the shelves of the four cupboards with their Pompeian red lining, when lit up, forms part of the glowing blaze of colour, concentrated in all four corners of this unique room.

The Jacobean library in this house has the same black oak effect for panelling and at the windows, hang long, red silk curtains, with deep borders of gold on which are painted gay flowers. This blaze of colour is truly Jacobean and recalls the bedroom at Knole, occupied by James I where the bed-curtains were of red silk embroidered in gorgeous gold, and the high post bedstead heavily carved, covered with gold and silver tissue, lined with red silk, its head-board carved and gilded.

Another room at Knole was known as the "Spangle" bedroom. James I gave the furniture in it to Lionel, Earl of Middlesex. Bed curtains, as well as the seats of chairs and stools, are of crimson, heavily embroidered in gold and silver.



"Sun-rooms" are now a feature of country and some town houses. One of the first we remember was in Madrid, at the home of Canovas del Castillo, Prime Minister during the Regency. Dejeuner used to be served at one end of the conservatory, in the shadow of tall palms, while fountains played, birds with gay plumage sang, and the air was as fragrant as the tropics. For comfort, deep red rugs were put down on the white marble floors. Which reminds us that in many Spanish hand-made rugs, what is known as "Isabella white" figures conspicuously. The term arises from the following story. It seems that Queen Isabella during the progress of some war, vowed she would not have her linen washed until her army returned victorious. The war was long, hence the term!

In furnishing a conservatory or porch breakfast room, it is best to use some variety of informal tables and chairs, such as painted furniture, willow or bamboo, and coloured, not white, table cloths, doilies and napkins, to avoid the glare from the reflection of strong light. Also, informal china, glass, etc.

Screens, if necessary, should have frames to accord with the furniture, and the panels should be of wood, or some simple material such as sacking or rough linen, which comes in lovely vivid, out-of-door colours.

The bizarre and fascinating sports balconies overlooking squash courts, tennis courts, golf links, croquet grounds, etc., are among the newest inventions of the decorator. Furnished porches we have all grown accustomed to, and when made so as to be enclosed by glass, in inclement weather, they may be treated like inside rooms in the way of comforts and conveniences.

The smart porch-room is furnished with only such chairs, tables, sofas and rugs as are appropriate to a place not thoroughly protected from the elements, for while glass is provided for protection, a summer shower can outstrip a slow-footed servant and valuable articles made for indoors cannot long brave the effect of rain and hot sun.


In this case the house stood so near the road that there was no privacy, so the ingenious architect-decorator became landscape-gardener and by making a high but ornamental fence and numerous arbours, carried the eye to the green trees beyond and back to the refreshing tangle of shrubs and flowers in the immediate foreground, until the illusion of being secluded was so complete that the nearby road was forgotten.

For this reason furnish your porch with colours which do not fade, and with wicker furniture which knows how to contract and expand to order!

The same rule applies to rugs. Put your Oriental rugs indoors, and use inexpensive, effective porch rugs which, with a light heart, you can renew each season, if necessary.

The sports balcony is fitted out with special reference to the comfort of those who figure as audience for sports, and as a lounge between games, and each hostess vies with her friends in the originality and completeness of equipment, as well as in the costumes she dons in her commendable desire to make of herself a part of her scheme of decoration.

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