Review by: K. Ames, CHOICE - November 1, 2014
Rush (formerly, The Art Institute of Atlanta) brings her years of experience with teaching the history of interiors and furniture to this attractive new contribution to the study of American domestic design. Her focus here is on post–Civil War interiors in Atlanta, as that burgeoning city became emblematic of the New South. She discovers, perhaps not surprisingly, that Atlanta interiors, like other cultural entities in the South, sometimes bore considerable similarity to those in the North and sometimes did not. Rush is a capable guide to reading domestic interiors and to the complex, sometimes conflicted culture of postwar Atlanta, with its strong sense of tradition and place. She traces four decades of nationwide fashions in furnishing and Atlanta’s varying responses to them. She also discusses the antiques dealers, decorators, architects, and retailers who supplied furnishings and decorating expertise. A particularly useful chapter explores the emergence of the professional interior decorator and the rise of women within that field. Rush’s graceful text is supported by nearly 100 images; most are crisply reproduced period photographs of documented Atlanta interiors. This significant regional study will be useful for library collections on the history of US interior design and/or material culture of the American South.
Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and above; general readers.