New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1897. 1st Edition. Small quarto, contemporary three-quarter brown morocco, marbled boards and endpapers, raised bands, spine ornately gilt, top edge gilt, tissue-guarded architectural title-page.
"Modern civilization has been called a varnished barbarism: a definition that might well be applied to the superficial graces of much modern decoration": novelist Wharton's handbook of interior decoration, her first published book (preceded only by a privately issued collection of poems). Wharton met her co-author, Boston architect Codman, in Newport, Rhode Island, when she was remodeling her summer home. Their shared affinity for architectural simplicity and grace was in contrast to much of the new money excess surrounding them. "Wharton and Codman wanted to educate the rich, to challenge them to build beautiful, practical, and pleasing residences whose details, from meaningful moldings to efficient floor plans to well-made, well-mannered furniture, would trickle down into every neighborhood in America in one form or another" (Architectural Digest). Henry James would later comment on the "almost too impeccable taste of Mrs. Wharton's furnishings." With 56 half-tone photographic plates and a bibliography. Bookplate. Some rubbing to joints and shelfwear to bottom edges. Near fine. Item #150