This section is from the book "The Practical Book Of Interior Decoration", by Harold Donaldson Eberlein, Abbot Mcclure, Edward Stratton Holloway. See also: The Victorian House Book: A Practical Guide to Home Repair and Decoration.
The making of furniture in willow, reed, rattan, cane and bamboo (the term wicker seems commonly used for all of them) is one of the most serviceable and useful of modern mobiliary developments. These materials have occasionally been tortured into forms to which they are not suited, but they have generally proved most satisfactory and durable. The reasonable price of willow furniture has been a great aid to those who have much to do upon small means. Those who have taken it up for this reason may congratulate themselves that with these and other simple forms they have done much better than those who have spent larger sums upon highly ornamented and often grotesque modern pieces.
The closely-woven reed furniture (Plate 94) is naturally more expensive, as it is also firmer and more compact. One writer designed and had made to order a small armchair in this material which after some years of use seems practically indestructible. Since then numerous beautiful forms have been brought out in all these materials and in close and open mesh, so that one may well grow enthusiastic over the possibilities of wicker furniture. Stained a mahogany shade and given attractive cushions such pieces go well in any but formal or luxurious rooms, and when painted in such tones as grey, grey blue, grey mauve, sage green, cream buff, yellow, rose or black and accompanied by upholstery in striped goods, cretonne or printed linen, they are often really handsome and perfectly suitable for city houses and apartments. For use with the "Modern" Decoration this furniture is often painted in brilliant colour. Frequently staining or painting is not necessary, for in some rooms their natural colour is entirely harmonious, and even interspersed among mahogany the lighter note proves occasionally a needed contrast.
For the country or seashore there is nothing better, and wicker is especially adapted to sun parlours, protected porches, morning and living-rooms. In the bedroom of either man or woman a comfortable arm-chair of this light, cool and serviceable material, with a back high enough to rest the head against, will prove a boon to tired minds and bodies for seizing a short rest while it can be had in the intervals of our busy lives.
The Oriental forms, with flaring backs, and the hour-glass chairs are still imported. Some are also made by American manufacturers. The" Dryad" furniture is also very attractive.
The Chinese bird-cages (Plate 126) and the old style cages of willow, largest in the middle and tapering at both top and bottom (Plate 93 A), are most pleasing. Hung in a sunny white-curtained window they give cheer and have the atmosphere of home. The flower baskets of flat basket-work may be mentioned here as equally attractive/