The House Beautiful by American art critic, Clarence Chatham Cook, was published in 1878 in the United States and was a landmark book during the Aesthetic Movement. Initially published as a series of articles in Scribner’s Monthly, the book had a lasting impact on matters of interior design, introducing ideas about beauty and taste to the middle class.
The frontispiece of the book by British designer, Walter Crane, shows an idealized interior with the lady of the house forming part of the artistic decor. Her elegant dress shows she is a woman of leisure. She is surrounded by objects that show her status: the blue and white china collections, the fans and the Persian rug on which she stands as she pours out the quintessential British cup of tea.