A book for a special market, but -- with that market in mind -- a book which is admirably done, readable, informative, a very real contribution to Americana, as well as to the fields of arts and decoration. Against a summary of the history of the use of the stencil, ""down the ages and across many lands"" -- is written the story of the stencil in America, where for over half a century it took the place of more elaborate decoration on walls, of expensive carpeting, of carving or inlay on furniture. It is only recently coming into its own again, and rare bits of stencilled walls are discovered, restored, or -- when possible -- preserved in their original condition. Stencilled furniture, bearing the mark of the maker -- Hitchcock, Eaton, etc. -- is sought by dealers and collectors. Original stencil designs are copied and once again used as part of a decorative scheme. The story of the American stencils reads like a treasure hunt, as the author tells of her own experiences in tracing down clues leading to deserted houses, ruins, bits of old stencil concealed under new paint or paper. And she gives us glimpses of the people who created the art, and spread it through New England, its national stronghold. A beautiful and fitting piece of book-making, with over 200 half tone plates, perfectly reproduced, and seven color plates, recapturing the exquisite colors of the originals. A ""must book"" for decorators, museums, art schools, collectors of antiques. A book for which you doubtless have a customer on the list interested in fine points of antique collecting.