The parlor was a formal room kept always in readiness for special occasions--to receive visitors making calls, for weddings, funerals, perhaps Sunday afternoons by the family for viewing stereoscope slides or other decorous activities, and for formal entertaining. Parlors were often closed off by sliding doors except for these special occasions.
The five-sided bay is the lower part of the tower, one of the main architectural features of the exterior. It provides a fine area in which to arrange the parlor set.
The mantel is cherry wood and machine made, probably ordered from a catalogue. It is just the way it was when the family lived here, except for a fresh coat of varnish.
The sliding doors with lovely embossed brass hardware close off this room from the hall. Similar doors are also located in the Library and Dining Room.
The picture rail molding provided a way to hang pictures without making holes in the walls.
The light fixture is a 1930's replacement, as is the one in the library.
On the shelves of the mantel are various art objects; a pair of decorated English vases, a romantic soapstone figurine of a little girl and her dog, a swelter figure of a young boy, a cast metal cherub, a small piece of sanded majolica, and a tiny bouquet of dried roses.
On guard to the left of the fireplace is a Staffordshire fireplace dog (ceramic). Staffordshire is a region in England where great deposits of fine clay attracted numerous manufacturers who made tableware and decorative items. So 'Staffordshire' is not a company, but a region.
On the walnut table with the marble inset is a girandole holding three candles and hanging glass prisms. It may have been part of a three piece set, the two missing pieces being single candleholders with hanging prisms, also, there is a photo album with velvet cover.
The lady's chair dates c. 1850-1860. The shape accommodated the very full skirts of the period and the low height assured the lady that her feet and ankles would never be visible when she was seated.
The Staffordshire tea service dates back to the l650's. It is very Victorian in feeling because of the shapes of the pieces, the embossed designs in the body of the clay, as well as the hand-painted flowers scattered about. Please note the waste bowl into which cool tea was emptied before the cup was refilled; the sugar bowl also seems very large and out of proportion to the rest of the pieces. But people in those days used lots of sugar and the sugar bowl was ample.
The portieres hanging in the doorway are decorative, but in homes without sliding doors, the heavy portieres could be closed to cut down on drafts in the winter.
To the right of the fireplace mantle are four shadowboxes. Nearest to the mantle and in the upper position is a craftwork floral arrangement, the 'floral" material being constructed of chenille. Directly below this is another arrangement made entirely of goose feathers. To the right of these two shadowboxes, and in the lower position, is a small shadowbox, the arrangement inside being hand-woven human hair. There are still persons in the United States today who keep this nearly lost art form alive. Directly above this in a black painted shadow bow hanging from a black sash is a memorial wreath, made of a sheaf of wheat. Wheat was considered the 'staff of life", and was appropriate to commemorate the lifetime of the departed, and to signify a belief in the afterlife. The purple bow binding the wheat signifies mourning. A photograph of the deceased is included, along with the words "Grandma" and "Mother" spelled out in grains of wheat. It is hung prominently in the parlor as a continuing memorial of the loved one who has passed on. We do not know the name of the person pictured.
The table beneath the portrait is English c. 1630 as is handmade with solid mahogany top and legs and a veneered apron. It may have been used to extend a drop leaf dining table, and when not used in this way was placed against the wall as a console table. On it is a tintype in a presentation case and an Edison cylinder phonograph.
The parlor set c. 1910 may be mahogany-stained birch or maple.
On the marble-topped side table is a large arrangement of peacock feathers (another Victorian favorite), a photo album, and a candy dish.
Beneath the oval beveled mirror with ornate gilt frame is an English game table holding many books, which belonged to the Meux family.
The corner whatnot displays many pretty shells and indicated that the family had been to the ocean.
As you leave the parlor you will go down the hall way and enter the dining room.