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Wharton, Edith (1862-1937); Codman Jr., Ogden (1863-1951) / The decoration of houses
(1898)

IX: hall and stairs,   pp. 106-121


Page 106

                          Ix
                HALL AND STAIRS
WHAT is technically known as the staircase (in German
       the Treppenbaus) has, in our lax modern speech, come to
be designated as the hail.
  In Gwilt's Encyclopedia of Architeflure the staircase is defined
as "that part or subdivision of a building containing the stairs
which enable people to ascend or descend from one floor to an-
other"; while the hail is described as follows: "The first large
apartment on entering a house.  . . . In magnificent edifices,
where the hail is larger and loftier than usual, and is placed in the
middle of the house, it is called a saloon; and a royal apartment
consists of a hail, or chamber of guards, etc."
  It is clear that, in the technical acceptance of the term, a haIl is
something quite different from a staircase; yet the two words
were used interchangeably by so early a writer as Isaac Ware,
who, in his Complete Body of Architeflure, published in 1756,
continually speaks of the staircase as the hall.  This confusion of
terms is difficult to explain, for in early times the staircase was as
distinct from the hall as it continued to be in France and Italy, and,
with rare exceptions, in England also, until the present century.
  In glancing over the plans of the feudal dwellings of northern
Europe it will be seen that, far from being based on any definite
                          io6


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