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Arrowsmith, Henry William / The house decorator and painter's guide; containing a series of designs for decorating apartments, suited to the various styles of architecture
(1840)

[Interior decoration, continued],   pp. 101-104


Page 101


101
  Having described the various styles of architecture and internal decoration
which have prevailed in England from the time of the Romans to the reign
of Elizabeth, it cannot be uninteresting to inquire into the form or fashion
of
the furniture, so far as it may be said to be connected with the subject
to
which we are immediately directing the attention of the reader.        In
the
decoration of a house or an apartment, the character of the furniture is
by no
means unimportant; for it should always be chosen with reference to the archi-
tectural style and ornament of the place. Nothing could appear more ridiculous
than heavy, carved, oak tables and chairs in a modern drawing-room, or
the light, though elegant, inlaid furniture of modern workmanship, in an
ancient dining-hall; and yet so great is the ignorance of many who pretend
to furnish our dwellings, that it is by 0no means uncommon to see contrasts
hardly less striking or absurd. It was not thus, however, in the dwellings
of our ancestors; for however rude may have been their furniture in the
estimation of the modern fashionable, and however destitute it may have been
of what is now called elegance, it was at least appropriate.
   We may here also remark, that to the decorator the colour of the furniture
is of almost as much importance as its style, for there can be no appropriate
decoration, if this be not an element of calculation. What, for instance,
can
be more absurd than a light and elegant arabesque, or French style, intro-
duced into a room which is to be furnished with mahogany chairs and tables?
But this subject is fully discussed in the "House Painter."
   The great hall, being the principal room in a baronial residence, was
one
in which we might expect to find a style of furnishing having some pre-
tension to grandeur; but every thing presented to our notice disappoints
the
sanguine expectations which were at first indulged. Oak tables, with the
necessary stools and benches, were almost the only articles in the ancient
dining-hall.  These were sometimies carved with great skill, but were more
frequently rude in construction, and without ornament.     The tables, as
well


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