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Chapter One, The Victorian Inspiration, of this source book on the restoration and decoration of Victorian homes, comments that one chance foreign trip by Ruskin to Venice and his subsequent book The Stones of Venice, published in 1851, completely changed the face of English architecture. Ruskin’s lofty thinking, that craftsmen should express themselves unfettered by common ideals, ignored the pressures of mass production, and the truth, that artist craftsmen were a dying race, patronised by an elite and for the most part ignored by the masses, unless at second- or third-hand.

Contentiously, the author says: “This indeed was the unhappy situation, which has continued unchanged to this day.”

Robin Guild is the co-founder of the excellent Designers Guild and the rather fetching portrait of him on the back flyleaf, with his aquamarine socks exactly matching the colour of his sweater, informs readers that his client-base includes the royal family of Saudi Arabia, Mick Jagger and Joan Collins – no stranger she to the decorative canopy.

For owners and lovers of the 21st century Victorian interior – no antimacassars or moose heads here – every aspect of the Victorian house is illustrated and discussed in this book with 500 colour photographs and 1500 line drawings; descriptions of building methods, exhaustive references for fireplaces, windows, doors, tiles, plaster mouldings and much talk of sympathetic adaptation and respect for original features – the few that remain intact in your average Victorian terrace.

Chapters include Exterior Features, and, one of the most useful, Decorating in the Victorian Style, is on a room-by-room basis. Next for the treatment are Kitchens and Bathrooms and what are described as the Private Rooms, ie, bedrooms and nurseries, together with today’s must-have house fashion accessories, the gazebo and the conservatory.

Chapter Seven deals with surveys and structural alterations and here there is advice on the horrors of painting double-hung sash windows – a drawing here issues an eight-point painting sequence. There are lists of suppliers, a page of museums, and related associations include the Victorian Society and the Wallpaper History Society. One for decorators in the Victorian style.

On reading through this book, I’m reminded of the socially aspiring Mr Pooter in George and Weedon Grossmith’s wonderful book, The Diary of a Nobody: “Arrived home tired and worried. Mr. Putley, a painter and decorator, who had sent in a card, said he could not match the colour on the stairs, as it contained Indian carmine. He said he spent half-a-day calling at warehouses to see if he could get it. He suggested he should entirely repaint the stairs. It would cost very little more; if he tried to match it, he could only make a bad job of it. It would be more satisfactory to him and to us to have the work done properly. I consented, but felt I had been talked over. Planted some mustard-and-cress and radishes, and went to bed at nine.”