Stencilling and decorative painting

Anyone who has visited recent decorator show houses or leafed through the pages of leading design magazines, has noted that painted effects have become one of the more important elements of stylish interior decoration. Two recent books, each stunning and well-documented with both text and illustrations, help describe the various methods and vast possibilities of decorating with paint.

The Art of Stencilling, by Lyn Le Grice. (New York, Clarkson N. Potter, Inc. 160 pages. $22.50.)

Stencilling as a decorative art, with its incredible diversity of visual effects, has been practiced for centuries around the world. Lyn Le Grice, one of England's top interior designers, says her book grew out of the stencilling decoration she did in her farm house in Cornwall. From that first attempt grew a special stencilling business that took her into royal residences, English country houses, rugged beamed cottages, fashionable London shops and even to the Royal Crescent Hotel in Bath, where she designed the stencils for all the bathrooms.

Her delightful book on the subject presents a fresh and quite exhuberant approach to the ancient art of stencilling, whether it is done on floors, walls, cabinets, boxes, furniture or fabrics. Her designs are quite unlike the Early American stencil patterns with which we are most familiar in the United States. They are sometimes large and loose free forms. Some are almost surreal in aspect, or resemble Matisse cut-outs. Some are fantasy effects. And while some patterns are quiet and subdued, many activate space with their attention-getting boldness and verve.

Decorating With Paint, by Jocasta Innes.(New York, Harmony Books, 192 pages. $25).

Since decorative painting has recently re-emerged as a popular aspect of interior design, this timely book yields plenty of help to those who are refurnishing their homes and especially to do-it-yourselfers who want to know how to go about getting different tones, textures and patterns with paint. This author describes such techniques as spattering, sponging, marbling, bambooing, stippling, dragging, lacquering, antiquing and stencilling.

Jocasta Innes says she metamorphosed her own Regency town house in London into a work of art with the adventurous use of paint, and she introduces and shows the work of several other leading decorative painters in England.

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