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

VII: Ceilings and floors,   pp. 89-102

Page 89

To attempt even an outline of the history of ceilings in do-
    mestic architecture would exceed the scope of this book;
nor would it serve any practical purpose to trace the early forms
of vaulting and timbering which preceded the general adoption of
the modern plastered ceiling.   To understand the development
of the modern ceiling, however, one must trace the two very
different influences by which it has been shaped: that of the
timber roof of the North and that of the brick or stone vault of
the Latin builders.  This twofold tradition has curiously affected
the details of the modern ceiling.  During the Renaissance, flat
plaster ceilings were not infrequently coffered with stucco panels
exactly reproducing the lines of timber framing; and in the Villa
Vertemati, near Chiavenna, there is a curious and interesting
ceiling of carved wood made in imitation of stucco (see Plate
XXIII); while one of the rooms in the Palais de Justice at Rennes
contains an elaborate vaulted ceiling constructed entirely of wood,
with mouldings nailed on (see Plate XXIV).
 In northern countries, where the ceiling was simply the under
side of the wooden floor,1 it was natural that its decoration
 1 In France, until the sixteenth century, the same word- planclzer -was
to designate both floor and ceiling.

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