New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1897.
Quarto (23.5 x 17.5 cm.), xxii, 204 pages. Illustrated with fifty-six black and white plates. Index. FIRST EDITION. Edith Wharton's first major published book, albeit a collaborative production with Ogden Codman Jr. It was preceded only by Verses, a privately published collection of poems and translations issued in 1877. The first printing consisted of 2000 copies, of which 400 were sent in sheets to the UK for the British issue (Scribner Firsts 343). Written in collaboration with celebrated American architect Ogden Codman, Jr., Decoration is a comprehensive look at the history and character of turn-of-the-century interior design, moving from historical traditions to the distinctive styles of contemporary taste. It is considered a seminal work and its success led to the emergence of professional decorators working in the manner advocated by its authors. The first few chapters focus on the importance of balance, symmetry and good use of space, while later chapters have to do with the specific use of rooms and how rooms ought to be arranged in order to ensure optimal comfort and usefulness. Wharton and Codman were very fond of past styles of furniture in comparison with the upstart Victorian furnishings surrounding them. Much preferring simplicity and order in decoration, they warned readers not to mix and match styles of furniture eclectically. They also preferred the use of less detail, looking down on the Victorian love for clutter and busy wallpapers and fabrics. (Wikipedia: Decoration of Houses). Original marbled paper boards. A slightly above average copy of a book usually found in a decrepit state. Lacking the very scarce printed dust jacket. Still, very good. [Garrison A2.1.a; Scribner Firsts 343].