A glimpse at the Victorian Parlour

Art is able to show us many things. Past, present and future representations are common in art. People and events are also often the focus of art. But when we look at someone’s home are we voyeurs or historians or maybe a little of both.

Victorian living room (left side) – artist unknown @ 1860?

We see two watercolours today which display a #VictorianParlour. . Created by an unknown artist. Nice definition with very fine shading. They show the sitting room or parlour of, for me, a well to do person. Above is the left side of the fireplace. Art adorns the walls. Books lay piled. Mementos and sculptures stand around. Coordinated upholstery on the chair, arm chairs and the courting sofa reveal a person of taste and affluence.

Victorian living room (right side) – artist unknown @ 1860?

The right side of the room reveals more art, pottery, ceramics, dolls, books and more very fine furniture. The rotating armed book rack is quite unique and just seen at the edge is an upright piano with brass candle holders. A copper coal scuttle and scoop sit next the fire as too the tongs lay ready for use.

This is somewhere where I could sit and relax. I do not know who lived here. When I do an image search on Google what arises is an image of #AustenHouse in Seven Oaks by artist #CharlesEssenhighCorke. Most likely for the colour scheme than actually being from Austen House.

The piece of furniture that is worth a separate mention is the courting couch (bottom right of first image). Often seen as a two seater in an ‘S’ shape (tete-a-tete) meant for individuals to have private conversation with little physical contact. Also known as a gossip couch. The seat in the watercolour above is possibly a three seater. Courter, courted, and chaperone to oversee the liaison. They were the ‘de riguer’ piece of furniture for the modern Victorian household.

A glimpse into the past. Not too distant but revealing in many ways.

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