Sunday, June 6, 2010

A House Painter's Guide, from 1840

All Illustrations this article from the book by Henry William Arrowsmith (published 1840), called The house decorator and painter's guide; containing a series of designs for decorating apartments, suited to the various styles of architecture. 

I posted a complete set of illustrations from this volume on my Flickr page, here.

These wonderful illustrations make me smile. I can't imagine the economic system that existed where it was conceivable even to publish a book such as this. I mean, who's house is this that they're supposed to be painting? Not mine! It reminds me of this funny article from The Onion:

Report: Nation's Gentrified Neighborhoods Threatened By Aristocratization

"According to a report released Tuesday by the Brookings Institution, a Washington-based think tank, the recent influx of exceedingly affluent powder-wigged aristocrats into the nation's gentrified urban areas is pushing out young white professionals, some of whom have lived in these neighborhoods for as many as seven years.

"When you have a bejeweled, buckle-shoed duke willing to pay 11 or 12 times the asking price for a block of renovated brownstones—and usually up front with satchels of solid gold guineas—hardworking white-collar people who only make a few hundred thousand dollars a year simply cannot compete," Kennedy said. "If this trend continues, these exclusive, vibrant communities with their sidewalk cafés and faux dive bars will soon be a thing of the past."

"Around here, you used to be able to get a Fair-Trade latte and a chocolate-chip croissant for only eight bucks," said Getz, who is planning to move back in with his parents after being forced out of the lease on his organic grocery store by a harpsichord purveyor. "Now it's all tearooms and private salon gatherings catered with champagne and suckling pig. Who can afford that?"

"It's just a terrible shame," Getz continued. "There was this great little shop right across the street from my duplex apartment where I bought my baby daughter a Ramones onesie a couple of years ago, just after she was born. That whole block is an opera house now."

"These accusations are pure, slanderous rubbish," said Lord Nathan Dunkirk III, the owner of a prodigious manor house that, along with its steeplechase course and topiary garden, sits on what was once the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. "If anything, the layabouts and wastrels have been afforded a veritable glut of new and felicitous opportunities as bootblacks and scullery maids."

Other aristocrats have echoed Dunkirk and have additionally deflected blame onto regification, a process by which they say they were priced out of their vast rural holdings by kings who wished to consolidate property and develop monumental palatial estates."


  1. Nice one Alan....1840-let's see....Paris was getting spruced up by Napoleon for the 1900 exposition....he kept things simple ....just an obelisk plopped down from Egypt to class up the place a sure, this book was representative of most homes...right?LOL!

  2. Wow, what beautiful graphics! Thank you for posting these. As always your post are so inspirational.

  3. oh gad i would love to paw through your library.

  4. wait, that didn't sound like what i meant.

  5. Haha! Yeah, I'm guilty of having library envy myself sometimes. But most of my sources are available online for free. The source for these is linked on the Flickr page FYI.