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Wharton, Edith, 1862-1937; Codman, Ogden / The decoration of houses

XIII: The dining-room,   pp. 155-161

Page 155

               THE DINING-ROOM
THE dining-room, as we know it, is a comparatively recent
    innovation in house-planning.  In the early middle ages the
noble and his retainers ate in the hail; then the grand'salle, built
for ceremonial uses, began to serve as a banqueting-room, while
the meals eaten in private were served in the lord's chamber.  As
house-planning adapted itself to the growing complexity of life,
the medi~val bedroom developed into a private suite of living-
rooms, preceded by an antechamber; and this antechamber, or one
of the small adjoining cabinets, was used as the family dining-room,
the banqueting-hall being still reserved for state entertainments.
 The plan of dining at haphazard in any of the family living-rooms
persisted on the Continent until the beginning of the eighteenth
century: even then it was comparatively rare, in France, to see a
room set apart for the purpose of dining.   In small b6tels and
apartments, people continued to dine in the antechamber; where
there were two antechambers, the inner was used for that purpose;
and it was only in grand houses, or in the luxurious establish-
ments of the femme& galantes, that dining-rooms were to be found.
Even in such cases the room described as a salle d manger was
often only a central antechamber or saloon into which the living-
rooms opened; indeed, Madame du Barry's sumptuous dining-

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