Handles And Decorative Motifs

It is really amusing to note how little in some re-spe&s the furniture-books of Hepplewhite and Sheraton can be relied upon as adequate guides. In pra&ice, in America the oval form of handle is moSt commonly associated with Hepplewhite: yet in his book he employs the ring handle (not dropped) almoSt exclusively, the one exception being the bail. In running over Sheraton's "Drawing-Book" I note one oval and two or three with a semi-circular drop: all the reSt are ring. Yet in English practice the various types were almoSt indiscriminately applied.

As to ornament. If possession be nine-tenths of the law, then certainly, from the books, the ellipse and the shell would belong to Sheraton. Hepplewhite quite frequently shows the ellipse and in the furniture it is equally present, but in both the Sheraton book and in practice it is overwhelmingly evident. There is but one shell in the whole of Hepplewhite's "Guide" —an inlay on the top of a little dressing-table mirror: but in the furniture, and especially American furniture, it quite often occurs.

The husk (derived from Adam) should almoSt as convincingly belong to Hepplewhite—it will be seen on both his sideboard designs—but on furniture it, too, is rather promiscuously apparent.

We now arrive at the truth that many if not moS of the contours, decorative motifs, and details belong to Neo-Classic design as a whole, and thai the various designers and their numerous followers, working under that impulse, used them upon occasion without much regard to whether others employed them also. Each might have and did have his own general preferences and usages without feeling compelled to confine himself to them if the spirit moved him otherwise.

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