Since at least Tudor times there have been architectural salvages: panelling, chimney pieces, doorways, or any fixtures and fittings might be removed from an old interior to be replaced by more fashionable ones. Not surprisingly a trade developed and architects, builders, masons, and sculptors sought out these salvages. By 1820 there was a growing profession of brokers and dealers in London, and a century later antique shops were commonplace throughout England.
This fascinating book documents the break-up, sale, and re-use of salvages in Britain and America, where the fashion for so-called "Period Rooms" became a mainstay of the transatlantic trade. Much appreciated by museum visitors, period rooms have become something of a scholarly embarrassment, as research reveals that many were assembled from a variety of sources. One American embraced the trade as no other--the larger-than-life William Randolph Hearst--who purchased tens of thousands of architectural salvages between 1900 and 1935.
John Harris is Curator Emeritus of the Drawings Collection of the Royal Institute of British Architects. He is an architectural historian and the author of The Palladian Revival: Lord Burlington and His Villa at Chiswick and Sir William Chambers, both published by Yale University Press.