Sunday, May 20, 2007

The House Decorator and Painter's Guide

"the present age is distinguished from all others in
having no style which can properly be called its own"


style observed at pompeii
Style observed at Pompeii



Pompeiian style
Pompeiian style



classical style
Classical style



Italian style of residence
for the Italian style of residence



Italian ornament
Italian ornament



Moorish and perpendicular gothic styles
Moorish and perpendicular Gothic styles



Louis XIV style
Louis Quatorze style



Louis Quatorze style
Louis Quatorze style



Louis XV style
Louis Quinze style



Arabesque style of the cinq-cento
Arabesque style of the cinq-cento



Arabesque style of the cinq-cento a
Arabesque style of the cinq-cento



Elizabethan ornament
Elizabethan ornament



Elizabethan style
Elizabethan style



Elizabethan style a
Elizabethan style



Elizabethan style b
Elizabethan style

"In what beauty consists the philosopher and the artist are alike unable to determine, for it is impossible to find a judge. That which is exceedingly pleasing to one person, and impresses his mind with delightful sensations, is seen by another with indifference or disgust. That the process of eduacation has a great effect, there can be no doubt; and that natural propensities have an influence, is equally certain. Could we remove a wandering savage of America or Africa, whom we misname a savage, from the forest or desert over which he has been accustomed to roam without any other protective covering than the skins of beasts, or the spreading branches of trees, to the richly-decorated drawing-room of an European prince, he would, we doubt not, be overcome with amazement; but whether he would experience a sensation of pleasure is very doubtful.

We have seen the uncultivated tillers of our own soil, in apartments decorated with all the taste of modern art, who have found no other words to express the sensation produced upon them than, "How grand!" We have also seen in the same situation the artisan, who was not only accustomed to such scenes, but contributed his part to the production of the general effect; and he has, upon completion of the whole (especially when colour and light have added their effect, after his labour was finished), expressed himself in similar terms. But introduce an artist, how low soever may be his rank, and however unaccustomed he may be to the grandeur of a well-lighted and elegantly-decorated drawing-room; and as soon as his eye can bear the blaze of light and colour, which at first has an effect even upon him, he will point out the portions which are to him unpleasant, and those which he admires. In his opinion he may differ from others equally as well educated as himself; and what he calls beautiful another may object to as a defect. It would, therefore, seem probable that a certain degree of education is necessary for the appreciation of the decorations employed in our edifices; and that the sentiments of beauty experienced by individuals depend on habit of natural disposition, or both."

In the face of such understated and sage advice and equipped with only a modern day retrospective attitude of mocking disdain, I'll say nothing.

WH & A Arrowsmith: 'The House Decorator and Painter's Guide; Containing a Series of Designs for Decorating Apartments, Suited to the Various Styles of Architecture', 1840, newly uploaded to the Digital Library of the Decorative Arts and Material Culture at the University of Wisconsin. There are about 50 plates in total. Note the 'Gallery View' link in the margin.
{I remain hugely busy - with good reason - but hopefully things will pick up here again soonish}

7 comments :

Meg said...

i'm a sucker for filigree. this is great stuff.

also, if you run across any antique wallpaper patterns, please post!

Princess Haiku said...

This is an interesting post and had me wondering which filigree I would choose.

phoenix said...

So beautiful. I like the geometry of Louis Quatorze...and the simple(r) flourish of the Classical.

Karla said...

Astonishing how everything manages to look relatively 18th-century (or perhaps a bit Biedermeier considering the publication date). I'm trying to figure out whether this is due to the delicate rendition style in the prints, or to the color scheme. Probably a bit of both. The photographs I've seen of Pompeian decor indicate a much more robust palette with lots of deep red walls (Villa of the Mysteries, for instance, but I think elsewhere as well... Villa of the Mysteries can hardly have been quite the ordinary house, any more than the brothel wall paintings were exactly standard Pompeian home decor either).

Very lovely reinterpretations of all the historical styles, though!

Marco Acevedo said...

"the present age is distinguished from all others in
having no style which can properly be called its own"

Interesting how a sentiment like that has been kicking around for so long, to be revived every now and then. I remember thinking that through most of the 90s. We seem to have only developed a distinctive post-post-modern style in the last five years or so, in architecure, interiors, product design. But it's all pretty subjective anyhow.

phaneronoemikon said...

How grand!

Sharon said...

Thank you for posting such interesting material!

Post a Comment

Comments are all moderated so don't waste your time spamming: they will never show up.

If you include ANY links that aren't pertinent to the blog post or discussion they will be deleted and a rash will break out in your underwear.

Also: please play the ball and not the person.

 
Creative Commons License