VICTORIAN INTERIOR DECORATION: American Interiors 1830-1900 by Gail Caskey & Roger W. Moss Winkler

VICTORIAN INTERIOR DECORATION: American Interiors 1830-1900

Email this review


Long scorned and ridiculed, caught somewhere between ""curiosa"" and ""camp,"" Victorian architecture and design have in the past decade achieved a new respectability. As more and more homeowners purchase and restore 19th-century buildings, dadoes, doilies and druggets are back in style. This well-organized, comprehensive guide to interior decoration between 1830 and 1900 will prove a godsend to preservationist-owners of Victorian homes. Here, they will find not only a wealth of information about wall and window treatments, floor coverings and color schemes but hints about such matters as how to determine the age of old wallpapers and where to obtain suitable period carpets as well. Winkler, director of the National Preservation Institute, and Moss, executive director of The Athenaeum of Philadelphia, have divided their material into four sections: ""1830-1850,"" ""1850-1870,"" ""1870-1890' and ""1890-1900."" Each section is organized into sub-headings that discuss walls, windows, floors, ceilings, woodwork. Drawing from the writings of such 19th-century authorities as Andrew Ute, Charles Eastlake, Edith Wharton and Ogden Codman, Jr., the authors offer their readers a wide range of decorating options, depending on the construction dates of their properties. Particularly eye-opening are the color combinations recommended by R.W. Shoppell after the American Civil War: pale apricot in the drawing room coupled with dark olive in the dining room, or lemon-yellow offset by dull peacock blue. While the book does not address the matter of furniture, it does include a 16-page insert of illustrations that capture in full-color the ambiance of such American Victorian landmarks as Mark Twain's home in Hartford, Connecticut, and the Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion in Philadelphia. Fascinating and surprisingly ""livable."" Homeowners, decorators and cultural historians will find this an essential addition to their reference library shelves. An attractive and knowledgeable guide.

Pub Date: Nov. 7th, 1986
Publisher: Henry Holt