1860s Victorian House: Parlor.
"The elder took snuff copiously; and it was noticed among his intimates that he always held his "pinch" in a state of suspense between his box and his nose when he was going to clench a good bargain or to say a good thing."
"At one moment he started up, with the tears in his eyes, and declared that his 'darling Neelie' was an angel on earth. At another he sat down sulkily, and thought that a girl of her spirit might have run away on the spot and joined him in London."
Pictures, left and right, from "Armadale," by Wilkie Collins, 1866.
1869 Decorators: The Beecher Sisters.
"Now," says the housewife, "I must at least have a parlor-carpet. We must get that to begin with, and other things as we go on..."
...she buys the Brussels carpet, which, with all its reduction in price, is one third dearer than the ingrain would have been, an not half so pretty.
Now let us see what eighty dollars could have done for that room...Thirteen rolls of good satin paper [buff]...A maroon bordering, made in imitation of the choicest French style...Cover the floor with, say, thirty yards of good matting.
......Select some one tint or color which shall be the prevailing one in the furniture of the room. Shall it be green? Shall it be blue? Shall it be crimson? To carry on our illustration, we will choose green, and and we proceed with it one side of the fireplace there be, as there is often, a recess with a rough frame with four stout legs, one foot high, and upon the top of the frame have an elastic rack of slats. Make a mattress...or ...get a nice mattress...made of cane-shavings or husks. Cover this with a green English furniture print [glazed English or glazed French, and French twill].With any of these cover your lounge.
Make two large, square pillows of the same substance as the mattress, and set up at the back...feather pillows...shake them down into a square shape and cover them with the same print...
Subtracted from eighty dollars, which we set down as the price of the cheap, ugly Brussels carpet, we have our whole room papered, carpeted, curtained, and furnished, and we have nearly twenty dollars remaining for pictures [varnished chromos in rustic frames].
Cut out of the same material as your lounge, sets of lambrequins (or, as they are called, lamberkins,) a kind of pendent curtain-top, as shown in the illustration, to put over the windows, which are to be embellished with white muslin curtains. White curtains really create a room out of nothing.
...Let your men-folk knock up for you, out of rough, unplaned boards, some ottoman frames, stuff the tips with just the same material as the lounge, and cover them with the self-same chintz....
...broken-down arm-chair, stuff and pad and stitch...and cover it with the chintz like your other furniture... Presto--you create an easy chair.
If you want a centre-table...any kind of table, well concealed beneath the folds of handsome drapery, of a color corresponding to the general hue of the room, will look well.
....American Woman's Home, 1869, by Harriet Beecher Stowe and Catherine E. Beecher.
Victorian Interior Design
Interior Design 1869-1879
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