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Wharton, Edith, 1862-1937; Codman, Ogden / The decoration of houses
(1898)

Introduction,   pp. xix-xxii


Page xxii

xxii                     Introduction
get it too.  The vulgarity of current decoration has its source in
the indifference of the wealthy to architectural fitness.  Every good
moulding, every carefully studied detail, exacted by those who can
afford to indulge their taste, will in time find its way to the car-
penter-built cottage.  Once the right precedent is established, it
costs less to follow tha.n to oppose it.
 In conclusion, it may be well to explain the seeming lack of ac-
cord between the arguments used in this book and the illustrations
chosen to interpret them,  While much is said of simplicity, the
illustrations used are chiefly taken from houses of some impor-
tance.  This has been done in order that only such apartments as
are accessible to the traveller might be given as examples.      Un-
professional readers will probably be more interested in studying
rooms that they have seen, or at least heard of, than those in
the ordinary private dwelling; and the arguments advanced are
indirectly sustained by the most ornate rooms here shown, since
their effect is based on such harmony of line that their superficial
ornament might be removed without loss to the composition.
 Moreover, as some of the illustrations prove, the most magnifi-
cent palaces of Europe contain rooms as simple as those in any
private house; and to point out that simplicity is at home even
in palaces is perhaps not the least service that may be rendered
to the modern decorator.


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