In Beauty and the Brick, an exploration of how and why cultural advisors coached Americans about appropriate architecture and design, selected illustrated volumes from Historic Hudson Valley’s collection make a rare center stage appearance. Technology 19th-century style—specifically, advances in printing and illustration techniques—opened a formerly off-limits world to the American consumer. Suddenly, the lay person had at his or her disposal a rich trove of encyclopedias, pattern books, and instruction manuals with step-by-step plans, elements of design, and sources for obtaining materials. Here were sources of practical applications for arts and crafts, decoration, and construction, as well as strong guidance from that era’s professional tastemakers, trendsetters, and aesthetic champions.
The exhibition and accompanying catalog are made possible through the generosity of the Robert Lehman Foundation. We are particularly grateful to the late Paul Guth, the foundation’s chairman, for his support.
Waddell W. Stillman