The spur to such commercial designs can be found in the “free Renaissance” style that was espoused by Charles Eastlake. In 1868 he published Hints on Household Taste in Furniture, Upholstery and other Details which was very influential in Britain and later in the United States, where the book was published in 1872. Although the archaeology of Mr. Eastlake’s volume was always careful, most of the principles in it are beyond question, and can be generally stated in a few words. The Italianate style would have no carving or molding or other ornament glued on—such work must be done in the solid; no mitered joints, but joints made at the right angle, and secured by mortise, tenon and pin; woods in their native colour, and unvarnished, or else painted in flat colour, with a contrasting line and a stenciled ornament at the angles; unconcealed construction everywhere, and purposes plainly proclaimed; and with veneering, round corners and all curves weakening the grain of the wood being absolutely forbidden. The furniture that he thus proposed has straight, strong, squarely cut members equal to their intention. Its ornament is painted panels, porcelain plaques and tiles, metal trimmings, and conventionalized carvings in sunk relief, a part of the construction entering into the ornament, also in the shape of narrow striated strips of wood radiating in opposite lines, after a fashion not altogether unknown in the time of Henry III. It has the honesty and solidity, but not the attraction, of the Medieval; and if it is stiff and somewhat heavy, and fails entirely to please, it has yet a wholesome and healthy air.
Italianate Style Houses