Italian Backgrounds

Edith Wharton (1862-1937)
Italian Backgrounds
New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1905 (New York: De Vinne Press)

Cream, blue, tan, and gold on hunter-green cloth.

Armstrong uses a rectangular frame of colored tiles to contain a dark green rectangle. Here a pool of verdant color hints at the mystery of Italian backgrounds; behind the cover’s spatial calm an architectural and ecclesiastical world waits to be discovered. A peacock, encircled with unfurled blue feathers, perches at the four corners of the frame, symbolizing the beauty of Italy’s ancient world.

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