The Great Lady Decorators (Hardcover)

The Women Who Defined Interior Design, 1870-1955

By Adam Lewis, Bunny Williams (Foreword by), Jeremiah Goodman (Illustrator)

Rizzoli, 9780847833368, 288pp.

Publication Date: April 6, 2010

List Price: 65.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Mixing gorgeous interiors with sparkling social history, this is the first book on the visionary women whose work gave us the timeless, essential principles of modern interior decorating.

In 1904, Elsie de Wolfe was given a contract to design the interiors of the Colony Club. Their success launched de Wolfe’s career and the entire field of professional interior decoration. Soon other women followed, known collectively (for their privileged backgrounds) as the Lady Decorators. This book focuses on the extraordinary, glamorous interiors of these influential designers, as well as their decorating theory and maxims, from Rose Cumming’s electric color combinations ("Parrots are blue and green. Why shouldn’t fabric be?") to Nancy Lancaster’s refined English-country-house look ("She liked for the sun to get to . . . materials. She wanted them to go shabby and live a life of their own."). A witty and readable treatise on the principles of decorating, as well as a luxurious visual resource, this book will be an essential addition to every decorating library. Also including: Dorothy Draper, Elsie Cobb Wilson, Ruby Ross Wood, Frances Elkins, Eleanor Brown, Sister Parish, Syrie Maugham, Madeleine Castaing.

About the Author

Adam Lewis is an interior designer and the author of Van Day Truex: The Man Who Defined Twentieth-Century Taste and Style and Albert Hadley: America’s Preeminent Interior Designer. Jeremiah Goodman is America’s master illustrator of rooms. His work is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Bunny Williams is a world-renowned interior designer, author, and garden expert.

Praise For The Great Lady Decorators: The Women Who Defined Interior Design, 1870-1955

"The Great Lady Decorators: THe Women Who Defined Interior Design, 1870-1955 profiles a dozen pioneers, including Elsie de Wolfe, a former actress with a flare for 18th-century-inspired rooms; Dorothy Draper, who brought Hollywood glamour to her interiors; and Sister Parish, who virtually codified American country style. The book's many photographs are supplemented with watercolors by Jeremiah Goodman." ~Elle Decor

"Adam Lewis has a fabulous new book for Rizzoli called The Great Lady Decorators. The women who invented interior decorating were full of big advice." ~House Beautiful

"Through a mix of period photographs and color interiors painted by Jeremiah Goodman, the book tells the design stories of these twelve legendary and influential women, sharing their decorating maxims and theories. Even if you are not familiar with everyone on the list, there is a great deal that can be learned from looking at the work of women who helped shape modern day interior design as an industry and as an art form from 1870-1955."

"The Great Lady Decorators is a beautiful addition to every library as an essential visual resource as well as an authorative history of legendary women who paved the way for the field of design today." ~Romantic Homes