“A RETURN TO ARCHITECTURAL PRINICPLES”: FIRST EDITION OF EDITH WHARTON’S THE DECORATION OF HOUSES, 1897
WHARTON, Edith and CODMAN, Ogden, Jr. The Decoration of Houses. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1897. Quarto, original marbled paper boards, original paper spine label, top edge stained olive, uncut. Housed in a custom clamshell box. $3800.
First edition of Wharton’s influential first published book, illustrated with 56 plates, scarce in original marbled boards.
Considered the first American handbook of interior decoration, Wharton's beautifully illustrated Decoration of Houses, her first published book (her Verses appeared privately in 1878), contains chapters on every aspect of interior design (including rooms in general, walls, doors, windows, fireplaces, ceilings and floors, gala rooms, bedrooms, the dining-room and library), as well as a survey of historical traditions and a detailed bibliography. The indirect result of Wharton's collaboration with Ogden Codman on the decoration of "Land's End," her estate in Newport, Decoration of Houses advocates continental rather than English models, and "remains even today a bible for classical and elegant taste in interior decoration" (Metcalf, Ogden Codman). Wharton notes in her conclusion: "Modern civilization has been called a varnished barbarism: a definition that might well be applied to the superficial graces of much modern decoration. Only a return to architectural principles can raise the decoration of houses to the level of the past." With 56 half-tone plates; without extremely rare dust jacket. Garrison A2.1.a., binding B, no priority determined. Melish, 1-2. Pencil owner signature.
Interior fresh and lovely, spine and paper spine label rubbed and toned, as often, corners gently bumped. A very good copy.