Wharton, Edith (1862-1937); Codman Jr., Ogden (1863-1951) / The decoration of houses
III: walls, pp. 31-47
32 The Decoration of Houses regarded in some measure the claims of symmetry and proportion in planning the interior of the house, and the decorator who in- sists upon those claims without being able to justify his demands by any explanation comprehensible to the unprofessional? It is inevitable that the decorator, who comes last, should fare worse, especially as he makes his appearance at a time when contractors' bills are pouring in, and the proposition to move a mantelpiece or change the dimensions of a door opens fresh vistas of expense to the client's terrified imagination. Undoubtedly these difficulties have diminished in the last few years. Architects are turning anew to the lost tradition of sym- metry and to a scientific study of the relation between voids and masses, and the decorator's task has become correspondingly easier. Still, there are many cases where his work is complicated by some trifling obstacle, the removal of which the client opposes only because he cannot in imagination foresee the improvement which would follow. If the client permits the change to be made, he has no difficulty in appreciating the result: he cannot see it in advance. A few words from Isaac Ware's admirable chapter on "The Origin of Proportions in the Orders "1 may serve to show the im- portance of proportion in all schemes of decoration, and the neces- sity of conforming to certain rules that may at first appear both arbitrary and incomprehensible. "An architect of genius," Ware writes (alluding to the latitude which the ancients allowed themselves in using the orders), "will think himself happy, in designing a building that is to be enriched with the Doric order, that he has all the latitude between two and a half and seventeen for the projecture of its capital; that he can 1 ~A Complete Body of~Arcbitet~ure, Book II, chap. Hi.
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