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

VI: Fireplaces,   pp. 74-88

Page 74

THE fireplace was formerly always regarded as the chief
     feature of the room, and so treated in every well-thought-
out scheme of decoration.
  The practical reasons which make it important that the win-
dows in a room should be carried up to the cornice have already
been given, and it has been shown that the lines of the other
openings should be extended to the same height.    This applies
to fireplaces as well as to doors, and, indeed, as an architectural
principle concerning all kinds of openings, it has never been
questioned until the present day.   The hood of the vast Gothic
fireplace always descended from the springing of the vaulted roof,
and the monumental chimney-pieces of the Renaissance followed
the same lines (see Plate XX).     The importance of giving an
architectural character to the chimney-piece is insisted on by
Blondel, whose     remark, "Je voudrais n'appliquer A une che-
min~e que des ornements       convenables A larchitecture,~~ is a
valuable axiom for the decorator.   It is a mistake to think that
this treatment necessitates a large mantel-piece and a monumental
style of panelling.   The smallest mantel, surmounted by a picture
or a mirror set in simple mouldings, may be as architectural as the
great chimney-pieces at Urbino or Cheverny: all depends on the

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