Hints on Household Taste
by Charles L. Eastlake

Charles L. Eastlake: Hints on Household Taste (Dover Publications)

Unabridged Dover (1986) republication of the 1969 Dover edition, which was a republication of the fourth (1878) edition published by Longmans, Green and Company, London. Introduction by John Gloag. Over 100 illustrations. xix + 304pp. 5.375 x 8 inches. Paperbound. ISBN-10: 0-486-25046-6. ISBN-13: 978-0-486-25046-5.

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From the Book Cover

One of the most important books in the history of 19th century domestic design was Charles Eastlake's Hints on Household Taste. First published in 1868, it went through many editions and republications, and served as a basic source for philosophy of design for hundreds of architects, manufacturers, and decorators, as well as for perhaps hundreds of thousands of homeowners. As the preeminent book which told its contemporaries what was proper, beautiful, and efficient, it had immeasurable influence on many areas of Victorian life.

Eastlake was primarily interested in good design, particularly appropriateness and sanity in decoration, and a mutual respect between function and beauty. As a true Victorian, he did not disavow decoration for its own sake, although in many instances he approached a functionalism that we today consider very modern. It is one of the ironies of history that his work, in addition to “weeding out the overgrown Victorian parlor-garden,” created the so-called “Eastlake style,” which the author himself would probably have disavowed. Yet this double influence renders this work even more important to the modern reader.

Eastlake's pleasantly written discussion covers almost all aspects of domestic living in mid-19th-century England, from the arrangement of a vestibule to utensils for the kitchen: rugs, carpet, floor coverings; tiles; wallpaper, hangings, stencilled decorations; furnishing of all sorts; arrangement of decorative objects; picture framing; design of tables chairs, cupboards, beds, etc.; hardware; crockery, table service; color combinations; concordance of material and function, material and decoration; and a host of other topics. As a result it is invaluable to everyone concerned with restoration, period design, cultural history, or antique collecting.

Cover photograph: The ebony library of Glenview, the John Bond Trevor Mansion at Yonkers, New York. Photo by Scott Bowron courtesy of the Hudson River Museum.

(The above commentary is provided by Dover Publications, Inc.)

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