it that is not to be found in any one of a dozen larger and handsomer volumes. I do not think I have added one jot to the sum of human knowledge on this subject; I have merely sorted out that knowledge and now present it in a new dress—or undress.
This work does not pretend to be exhaustive, comprehensive, complete. Whole blocks of facts are deliberately omitted. My problem has been one of selection and elimination. I have endeavored to reduce a large, diffuse subject to lowest terms, to boil it down, to strip it to its essentials, and the reader need look for little more than a working outline.
I do not even claim precise accuracy. Absolute truth in these things demands subtle distinctions and fine discriminations which take up space and are often tedious. I have sought to interpret these things more broadly, satisfied with correctness in its larger sense. If I have strained a point now and then in the effort to accentuate the lines of demarcation and the bases of classification, I find my justification in the belief that I have thus simplified what is too often made complicated, and that I have rendered more comprehensible and more easily remembered a matter that many persons tell me they still find confusing.
I have, in short, sacrificed other ends to the single purpose of compiling a small, handy volume on the principal historic furniture styles, in the hope that it will fill the long-felt want for the essential facts presented in quickly available form, and that it may serve as the primer of a fascinating and useful study.
For the convenience of such persons as may be encouraged to delve more deeply into the subject, I shall add at the end of this volume a list of books. It is not a complete list, but it is long enough for all practical purposes, and it includes the works of the leading authorities. To many of these authors I am personally indebted, having consulted their works frequently in the preparation of this handbook.
The greater part of this volume first appeared in the form of magazine articles in "The Art World"; I am indebted to its editors for permission to reprint. A portion of Chapter II appeared originally in "Arts & Decoration." The majority of the illustrations are from photographs of authentic examples of antique furniture in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Was this article helpful?