The materials that decorate our homes and protect us from cold, light, and prying eyes reveal as well as conceal. Drapery and curtain designs tell the story of great shifts in home and work life that accompanied innovations in textile manufacturing technology and the fashion industry over the course of the nineteenth century.
Capricious Fancy chronicles the changes in fashionable curtain and drapery styles in the United States and Europe during the Industrial Revolution. This unique compilation contains hundreds of illustrations, most in full color, reproduced from more than one hundred rare pattern books, workroom manuals, trade catalogues, and examples of design literature selected from the collections of The Athenæum of Philadelphia, including the Samuel J. Dornsife Collection of The Victorian Society in America. Each design is annotated with a description of its source and significance. Gail Caskey Winkler's research confirms the mastery of French upholsterers in the art of draping windows, bedsteads, and doorways. The book follows the transmission of high styles from Paris to London to North America before the middle of the nineteenth century and the development of the retail home fashion business, including the mail-order trade. Even as wealth spread, disparity continued between the upper and middle classes in adopting the newest fashions. Meanwhile, the audience for interior fashion publications switched from male building professionals and artisans to female homemakers.
With 325 images and historical commentary from a leading educator and historic preservation practitioner, Capricious Fancy is a source of authentic inspiration for preservation professionals, interior designers, set designers, museum curators, and anyone with a passion for period décor.
Gail Caskey Winkler is Lecturer at the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design and Senior Partner of LCA Associates, a design firm specializing in historic interiors. Her books include Victorian Interior Decoration, Floor Coverings for Historic Buildings, and An Analysis of Drapery.
Roger W. Moss is Emeritus Executive Director of The Athenæum of Philadelphia and retired Adjunct Professor of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of a dozen books, including Historic Houses of Philadelphia, Historic Sacred Places of Philadelphia, and Historic Landmarks of Philadelphia, all three of which are available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.