Saturday, September 15, 2012

Edith Wharton's Other Career

Edith as interior decorator.
 Wharton was no dilettante. In 1897, she and the architect Ogden Codman, who had worked on her homes in New York and Newport, R.I., published “The Decoration of Houses,” a book that railed against the decorative excesses of the Gilded Age and called for a return to classical principles like symmetry. Wharton was championing nothing less than an American Renaissance, said Richard Guy Wilson, an architectural historian at the University of Virginia and the author of “Edith Wharton at Home: Life at the Mount,” out next week from Monacelli Press ($45). The book, which is illustrated with archival and recent photos of the estate (it currently serves as a cultural center, attracting 30,000 visitors a year), marks the 150th anniversary of Wharton’s birth and the 100th anniversary of the year the Mount officially left her hands. (Read entire post.)


julygirl said...

If she had a home in Newport, Rhode Island then she saw decorative excesses first hand in the 'cottages' of people like Cornelius Vanderbilt for example.

The North Coast said...

What a perfect library!