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

V: windows,   pp. 64-73

Page 72

72                The Decoration of Houses
the d~placernents so frequent at that period.  In like manner, the
decorator who regarded curtains as a necessity rather than as
part of the decoration of the room knew (what the modern up-
holsterer fails to understand) that, the beauty of a room depend-
ing chiefly on its openings, to conceal these under draperies is to
hide the key of the whole decorative scheme.
  The muslin window-curtain is a recent innovation.       Its only
purpose is to protect the interior of the room from public view:
a need not felt before the use of large sheets of glass, since it is
difficult to look through a subdivided sash from the outside.
Under such circumstances muslin curtains are, of course, useful;
but where they may be dispensed with, owing to the situation
of the room or the subdivision of panes, they are no loss.   Lin-
gerie effects do not combine well with architecture, and the more
architecturally a window is treated, the less it need be dressed up
in ruffles.  To put such curtains in a window, and then ioop them
back so that they form a mere frame to the pane, is to do away
with their real purpose, and to substitute a textile for an archi-
tectural effect.  Where muslin curtains are necessary, they should
be a mere transparent screen hung against the glass.     In town
houses  especially   all outward  show  of    richness should be
avoided;     the  use of elaborate lace-figured  curtains, besides
obstructing the view, seems an attempt to protrude the luxury
of the interior upon the street.  It is needless to point out the
futility of the second layer of muslin which, in some houses,
hangs inside the sash-curtains.
  The solid inside shutter, now so generally discarded, save in
France, formerly served the purposes    for which curtains and
shades are used, and, combined with outside blinds, afforded all
the protection that a window really requires (see Plate XIX).

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