Did you know that William Morris eschewed friezes? He considered the wall division superfluous and recommended papering right up to the ceiling. Be that as it may, chances are good that you have rooms with friezes if you live in a house built between 1850 and 1940.

In classical architecture, the frieze is defined as the space between the architrave and cornice. (In 1812, the British removed the Elgin Marbles, the Parthenonís world-famous frieze, to display it in the British Museum.) The decorated interior frieze came into its own during the reign of Queen Victoria. The eraís ceilings were typically high, 9′ or more, and a divided wall balances the roomís proportions, bringing the eye down from the ceiling. The frieze was considered (except, apparently, by Morris) an integral part of the roomís overall finish.

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