What do an 1847 villa on Staten Island, an exotic French red-and-yellow brick chateau and the Globe cinema in London have in common? All were consciously modeled on Indian architecture, as Head's meticulous, concise survey reveals. Mughal palaces and dwellings and Hindu monuments inspired lodges, pavilions, gateways and houses in England; the bungalow, a distinctly Indian building, spread from Australia to California. Indian handicrafts with their refinement and unity of design revitalized designers in the West, who, demoralized by mass production, sought new ideas. American artist Lockwood de Forest, partner of Louis Tiffany, toured India to gather glass, textiles and carvings, then returned to Greenwich Village, where he built a house embodying his belief that East and West could coexist. More than 100 black-and-white plates are interwoven with the text. (September 16)
Taking the overlooked area of Indian influences upon Western decorative arts and architecture, Head discusses and illustrates 114 examples produced between the 18th and 20th centuries. The primary focus is on English examples, although others are discussed. Unfortunately, lasting influences are rare and in the 20th century Indian themes have been used primarily in movie houses and world's fair pavilions. A fascinating American interludewhich deserves further studyis the joint project between Louis Comfort Tiffany and an Ahmedabad woodworking manufacturer to provide elaborate carvings for American houses. While this well-written work is in fact groundbreaking, unfortunately, few of the examples presented are very memorable. For larger collections. Donald Clay Johnson, Coll. of William & Mary Lib., Williamsburg, Va.