Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Architecure in Ex Libris II

Ex libris by Bernhard Wedepohl show thatched rustic buildings which were obviously very comfortable country homes in rural Germany during the first three decades of the last century. And, most delightful of all to my mind, were those which pictured cottages at night with the lamp light showing through the windows, and the impression in my mind that inside sturdy men in lederhosen are sitting in front of blazing stoves with their comfortable fraus, drinking schnapps, and listening to Wagner on the gramophone.

The fashion for ‘house’ ex libris dates as far back as the 1880s, when the houses which figure in exlibris are stolid and spacious rather than picturesque. Some of these homes seem to be set in small parks or swathes of woodlands sufficiently detached in their setting as to show no other building apart from the house chosen for the plate – this might, of course, be artistic licence as in the sketches in many house agents. One plate, here shown, shows not only part of the interior of a large house including a massive staircase, but also the impressive but not particularly artistic exterior of the house. Large homes at this period were a great asset to families which might have half dozen or more children and a number of servants, but the more general use of electric lighting, gas cookers, refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, telephones, etc. gradually gave the coup de grace to the large house and garden, while at the same time better paid jobs in commerce and industry took away the available house servants of both sexes.

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