A lavishly illustrated collection of four essays dealing principally with the character of the arts in Colonial America--roughly through 1790. In his introductory essay Dr. Louis B. Wright limns the social climate of the colonies with the emphasis on regional variants. George B. Tatum investigates architecture, suggesting it was inevitable, that American builders, although heavily influenced by English architecture, derived practices from the needs of the environment, and in a burst of post-Revolution exuberance, dabbled in experimental elegances in the late Georgian mode. John W. McCoubrey takes on painting, engraving and sculpture of the period, including appreciation of well known and lesser lights, remarking particularly on the spare, pragmatic honesty of expression. The Decorative Arts is the assignment of Robert C. Smith, who declares, using sound illustrations, that ""American craftsmen designed and executed some of the finest furniture and silver made anywhere in the 18th century."" Dr. Wright is the Director of the Folger Library in Washington: his partners hail from the University of Penn. Neat and helpful volume to aid beginners and double handsomely in school libraries.