Moving Rooms The Trade in Architectural Salvages John Harris

Publication date:
23 Aug 2007
Paul Mellon Centre BA
240 pages: 267 x 190mm
200 b-w + 20 color illus.


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.


Read more about John Harris, architectural historian and author.

'an intriguing one ... Harris points out in this magisterial work ... comprehensive coverage of numerous known and even more numerous long-forgotten examples of architectural musical chairs.' - Philip Venning,