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Interior Decoration: Its Principles And Practice | by Frank Alvah Parsons



>Much confusion exists at the present time as to the artistic essentials of a modern house. A great deal has been written - perhaps more has been said - about this subject, and still it is vague to most of us. This vagueness is partly because we have not realized fully that a house is but the normal expression of one's intellectual concept of fitness and his aesthetic ideal of what is beautiful. The house is but the externalized man; himself expressed in colour, form, line and texture. To be sure, he is usually limited in means, hampered by a contrary and penurious landlord or by family heirlooms, and often he cannot find just what he wants in the trade; but still the house is his house...

TitleInterior Decoration: Its Principles And Practice
AuthorFrank Alvah Parsons
PublisherDoubleday, Page & Company
Year1916
Copyright1916, Doubleday, Page & Company
AmazonInterior Decoration: Its Principles and Practice

By Frank Alvah Parsons, B. S., President Of New York School Or Fine And Applied Art

Interior Decoration Its Principles And Practice 2

This Book Is Dedicated To My Friend William M. Odom Whose Loyal And Sympathetic Cooperation Has Done Much To Crystallize Its Contents

A MODERN LIVING ROOM IN A COUNTRY HOUSE

A modern living-room in a country house. in choice, treatment and ar-rangement this room (using material from various period styles) expresses successfully the modern american idea. Periods are successfully combined to express a sequence of qualities resulting in a distinct personality, individual charm and an illustration of good taste in the application of the fundamental principles of interior decoration.

-Foreword
MUCH confusion exists at the present time as to the artistic essentials of a modern house. A great deal has been written - perhaps more has been said - about this subject, and still it is vague to mos...
-Part I. Introduction. When, Where, And How To Decorate
THE very term interior decoration is misleading, and is the cause of much of the bad interpretation of the decorative idea for which it stands. Love of beauty and the desire to create it is a primal...
-When, Where, And How To Decorate. Part 2
In the same way, the living-room is meant to live in. We associate with this room objects which one needs to have about him for comfort, use, companionship, and personal enjoyment. The drawing-room o...
-When, Where, And How To Decorate. Part 3
The chimney piece with its mantel shelf frequently has classic mouldings or simple lines bordering and bounding it. In this case the moulding becomes a decorative idea because it has followed and stre...
-When, Where, And How To Decorate. Part 4
The first division of this art quality is that of fitness or function, which we have discussed. This requires an element of intellectual ability on the part of the art producer. The aesthetic, or seco...
-Chapter I. Colour And Its Relation To The Decorative Idea
MAN expresses his ideas or conveys his thoughts to others by means of language, and language consists of a set of symbols which serve to establish a standard system of communication between all person...
-Colour And Its Relation To The Decorative Idea. Part 2
All of us have seen blue turn to green when seen under artificial light. We have seen violet almost become red, and another tone of violet appear gray. These are perfectly natural changes, and are due...
-Colour And Its Relation To The Decorative Idea. Part 3
The skillful use of red brings out - particularly in town houses - a quality of warmth and inviting hospitality not to be despised. On the other hand, a use of it in any considerable quantity in the c...
-Colour And Its Relation To The Decorative Idea. Part 4
Add to normal yellow the slightest bit of red, and the colour approaches orange. In fact, it is a yellow orange, and all tones made up of red and yellow, which are nearer yellow than orange, belong to...
-Colour And Its Relation To The Decorative Idea. Part 5
The preeminent importance of the room as a background for the application of the decorative idea cannot be too often emphasized. The question of value in relation to background is a delicate but impor...
-Colour And Its Relation To The Decorative Idea. Part 6
Rugs are probably more often badly related in values than any other one article used in furnishing a house. The epidemic of Oriental rugs has been so severe in the last twenty-five years that the term...
-Colour And Its Relation To The Decorative Idea. Part 7
A colour is neutralized by introducing into it as a normal colour the normal complement. In proportion as the complement enters into it, it loses its own natural vital force, and not only holds itself...
-Colour And Its Relation To The Decorative Idea. Part 8
This thought would be incomplete unless a caution were given in regard to the intensity of the rug or parts of it. The most effective rug is that in which the whole is keyed by one colour with all oth...
-Colour And Its Relation To The Decorative Idea. Part 9
The same is true of orange and blue and purple and yellow, though, perhaps, in a somewhat lesser degree because of the luminosity quality of colour which is to be considered later. Neutralization, or...
-Colour And Its Relation To The Decorative Idea. Part 10
The danger of upsetting completely the room scheme by the use of the wrong colour in a lamp shade, the wrong window hangings, or any other thing through which light is filtered, is increased tenfold w...
-Colour And Its Relation To The Decorative Idea. Part 11
French consciousness combines the colour preferences of more peoples, gathered from a broader range of area, and a wider scope in kind. There is also a native tendency to amalgamate these in a greater...
-Chapter II. The Principles Of Form And Their Relation To The Decorative Idea
THE term design has generally meant the choice and arrangement of certain shapes or forms to produce a decorative effect. It should include not only form but colour, or rather colour and form, for w...
-The Principles Of Form And Their Relation To The Decorative Idea. Part 2
One must dominate. The only sensible thing is to place the rugs in harmony with the structure of the floor; then let the tables, divans, chairs, cabinets and other articles of furniture be placed in t...
-The Principles Of Form And Their Relation To The Decorative Idea. Part 3
A second principle of form is that shapes and sizes should be consistent. Its analysis has to do with the selective element in form and size as well as the problem of arranging these selected forms in...
-The Principles Of Form And Their Relation To The Decorative Idea. Part 4
The circle, the most monotonous of curve-lined figures, whose circumference changes its direction at every point equally, has no quality in common with the vertical wall space. It is, therefore, quite...
-The Principles Of Form And Their Relation To The Decorative Idea. Part 5
It sometimes happens that a round table must be used in a room. This is possible from the standpoint of function, in the dining-room, if over the table there is a decorative circular ceiling treatment...
-Chapter III. Balance And Movement
SPEAKING from the standpoint of appearance as it expresses rest, repose or artistic skill, no one term means so much as the word balance. In fact, the arrangement of colour tones, forms and lines in a...
-Balance And Movement. Continued
Repose is a second feeling which must come without conscious effort. This is perhaps in part because of the analogy between the arrangement and the law of gravitation, as it may be seen in the use of ...
-Chapter IV. Emphasis And Unity
PURPOSELY up to this time no special stress has been laid upon those qualities in objects which furnish the power of attraction previously mentioned. There are several elements which in themselves att...
-Emphasis And Unity. Continued
Hang upon the wall at the left side a definitely vertical striped wall paper or textile, hang at the other end of the room a textile in which there is a definitely curved line extending from top to bo...
-Chapter V. Scale, Motifs And Textures As They Relate To Furnishing And Decorating
MENTION has been made of the effects produced in decorative units where the scale or relative sizes of its elements are well or badly chosen. A more detailed treatment of this subject is not likely to...
-Scale, Motifs And Textures As They Relate To Furnishing And Decorating. Part 2
A notable example of lack of feeling in scale is the manner in which the tops of tables jut beyond their structural leg formation. Certain periods in the Italian Renaissance have established a project...
-Scale, Motifs And Textures As They Relate To Furnishing And Decorating. Part 3
Wood, textiles, metals, potteries and all made objects have a quality known as texture which is fundamental in the idea of harmony between objects which are to be used together. It must not be underst...
-Scale, Motifs And Textures As They Relate To Furnishing And Decorating. Part 4
One sees the same thing in a literary composition. There must be a theme upon which to write, a motif around which all parts of the composition are woven. In decoration there must also be a theme or m...
-Scale, Motifs And Textures As They Relate To Furnishing And Decorating. Part 5
The danger came when realism demanded a perfect exposition in pictorial effect of every detail as it was, rather than as it should be to suit the conditions under which it was to be used. At times cer...
-Chapter VI. Historic Art Periods And The Ideas Which They Represent
LIFE is action; its result is evolution, and out of this ceaseless activity comes man's universal impulse to create. Mental life is constantly changing. Environment also is subject to constant variati...
-Historic Art Periods And The Ideas Which They Represent. Part 2
In the working out of these three ideas man has been moved or impelled to create by three distinct impulses. The highest and most important of these may be called the religious or spiritual impulse. B...
-Historic Art Periods And The Ideas Which They Represent. Part 3
In order to accomplish this perfect representation of material beauty, temperance or restraint in all things is a fundamental virtue. Never anything in excess is the law which makes the successful h...
-Historic Art Periods And The Ideas Which They Represent. Part 4
The third influence, which I have called the humanistic influence, is the one which proceeded from the Italian Renaissance and has been a ruling factor in the development of all subsequent period idea...
-Chapter VII. The French Renaissance And The French Styles
GOTHIC art was indigenous to the soil of France. By temperament, association and practice the French people were the logical ones to accept, mature and express the Gothic idea. Unhampered for the most...
-The French Renaissance And The French Styles. Part 2
The third influence was the rapidity with which France was organized, politically and socially, during this reign and, through the extension of commerce and international association, the accumulation...
-The French Renaissance And The French Styles. Part 3
Suffice it to say that the Renaissance reached its height of decorative possibility in the reign of Henry II, and lost in this reign - particularly toward its close - the exquisite qualities which the...
-Chapter VIII. The French Styles
THE period of Louis XIV, Le Grand Monarque, from 1643 to 1715, is not only the longest reign of any European monarch, but also by far the most important of any French king. The high tide of this perio...
-The French Styles. Continued
It is important that we should not confuse the architecture with the interior furnishings and decorations of the period called Louis XIV. Let us remember that there were two sets of ideas seeking prev...
-Chapter IX. The Regency And The Periods Of Louis XV And XVI
THE regency, which is the period of transition between the styles of Louis XIV and Louis XV, gave, through the character and activities of the Regent and his court, an added impetus to the forces inau...
-The Regency And The Periods Of Louis XV And XVI. Part 2
The influence of all this on the art expression of the time was tremendous. It resulted in constant changes in decorative style, and these changes were made upon the already developed backgrounds of L...
-The Regency And The Periods Of Louis XV And XVI. Part 3
The period of Louis XIV embraced this naturalistic idea, and the period of Louis XV used it in the expression of the social ideals for which the period stood. Very natural gardens of flowers, very sug...
-The Regency And The Periods Of Louis XV And XVI. Part 4
The new king came to the throne under the most trying circumstances in any period of history. He was simple, reticent and retiring, with no initiative and no taste for extremes in anything. The strong...
-Chapter X. The Tudor Period - The English Styles
AS it was in France so was it in England. The Renaissance was an affected style. This was also true of the Gothic in England, although the Gothic was indigenous to France. The Renaissance was a natura...
-The Tudor Period - The English Styles. Continued
The third factor which has played no small part in the development of the people is their attitude to the Christian religion, which was generally embraced by the beginning of the fifteenth century. Th...
-Chapter XI. The Stuart Period And The Dutch Influence
THE Tudor period may justly be said to stand for the Renaissance in England, for the Stuart period (1603 to 1689) is the most distinctly national of any of the English periods. By the end of the Eliza...
-Chapter XII. The Dutch Influence, Or The Period Of Queen Anne
AS one reviews the successive changes that have taken place in the art of furnishing in the English styles, it will generally be found that under normal conditions the evolution from one style to anot...
-The Dutch Influence, Or The Period Of Queen Anne. Continued
The early part of the period marked the evolution out of the Jacobean type. Its products are distinguished by a lighter, more aspiring quality, a grace and charm acquired through the use of cane in se...
-Chapter XIII. The Period Of Individual Creation: Chippendale, Hepplewhite, Sheraton, Adam And Other Georgian Types
AT no place in the development of the English people is the democratic idea for which the Magna Charta stood more clearly demonstrated than in the furniture and furnishing ideas of the period known as...
-The Period Of Individual Creation: Chippendale, Hepplewhite, Sheraton, Adam And Other Georgian Types. Continued
The other element which all good furniture must have was frequently either missing or so slightly present that its detection is impossible. I refer to the quality of subtle refinement and aestheticall...
-Chapter XIV. The Colonial Style
THIS style takes its name from the original Colonies as settled in North America during the seventeenth century and is the natural offspring of the parent stems - the European countries of Britain, th...
-The Colonial Style. Part 2
As soon as the Chippendale furniture was produced in England, importations to the Colonies began, and very soon the cabinetmakers of the New England States reproduced Chippendale models. Gradually fro...
-The Colonial Style. Part 3
While the expression of the Louis XVI style was more marked in the South, it was also noticeable in New England, particularly in the northeastern part. A few years before the fall of the French kingd...
-The Colonial Style. Part 4
The financial resources of the country were increasing, we must, therefore, have an appearance of wealth. Since marble is expensive why not top our tables, bureaus, dressers and the like with this be...
-Chapter XV. The Modern House
THE problem of the modern house involves something more than merely providing a pretty, healthful, physically comfortable place to satisfy man's demand for shelter and rest. It is the criterion of a m...
-The Modern House. Part 2
As to the second objection given, it may be said that it is never too late to begin to do right. The first ray of light as to what is good in furniture or fittings should be followed. Have definitely ...
-The Modern House. Part 3
Better for a man to have a pine table, chair, bench and bed, decently stained, with respectable lines and well placed in his room, than a Queen Anne table, a marble-top black walnut dresser, a Morris ...
-Chapter XVI. The Individual House
IT is preposterous to think that there can be a class of set formulae given by which any and every room may be properly planned. One meets, however, those who want such formulae and those who are quit...
-The Individual House. Part 2
It matters not in what field one works, conscious, constant right choice and right usage is good taste. Just as one improves in manners by habitual practice, though a tendency to these may be inborn o...
-The Individual House. Part 3
Geography, then, plays an important part, and affects even the choice of material out of which a house is to be built. If the house is to appear as a part of the landscape surrounding it, it must be b...
-The Individual House. Part 4
The room quality which causes most discussion is personality. It is hard to believe that another's personality is as important as one's own. It is still harder to believe that some one else may have a...
-Chapter XVII. Some Special Suggestions: Choice, Framing And Hanging Pictures, Hanging Curtains, Methods Of Lighting, Choice Of Decorative Objects, General Placement
FOR many years pictures alone were regarded as fine art. Art study meant picture painting, while art appreciation was synonomous with picture discussion. The realization that art quality in pictures i...
-Some Special Suggestions. Part 2
Frequently a Decadent Renaissance frame is seen about such a picture as a Millet, or a French Louis XV frame on a Holbein. What could be more ridiculous than such combinations as these, and why will t...
-Some Special Suggestions. Part 3
Next in importance to the background of a room is the matter of its curtains or hangings. From one viewpoint they are really a part of the background. From another angle, however, they are more than t...
-Some Special Suggestions. Part 4
There are times also when the window is so small, the lighting capacity so inadequate, and the scale of the room and furniture so light that it is a mistake to have more than one pair of hangings. In ...
-Some Special Suggestions. Part 5
Let us consider some of the ways in which rooms have been lighted. The most impossible thing for the ordinary small room is the central chandelier. The chandelier of Louis XIV and XV with its glass pr...
-Some Special Suggestions. Part 6
It is safe to say that too many such things are used in most rooms. In very luxurious ones this is almost certain to be true. There is an equal chance to overdo this matter in the cheapest kind of mat...







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previous page: Our Homes And Their Adornments | by Almon C. Varney
  
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next page: Interior Decoration For The Small Home | by Amy L. Rolfe