The Victorian Parlor or Music Room 1850-1875
The center placement of the marble top rosewood table was typical of Victorian parlors. The suite of furniture, consisting of the settee, table and chairs are covered in black horsehair cloth, is Early Belter style. John Henry Belter, who worked in Brooklyn, devised such a unique way of steaming, forming and laminating the rosewood backs of his chairs that his name is attached to all pieces of this style. The chairs tend to be low to the floor to allow ladies to sit gracefully in spite of the large hoop and crinoline skirts of the period.
The New York rosewood box piano, made by the Raven Bacon Company, is still very playable. The music stand shows the sheet music of the popular tunes of the day. The large Gilt Pier Mirror, which belonged to the Parrys, is a Philadelphia piece made by James S. Earle and is one of the finest of its kind.
Lighting had progressed to kerosene as reflected in the Waterford crystal chandelier. This chandelier was fitted for gaslight and then later converted for electricity. Cornelius of Philadelphia made the sets of girandole candleholders on the mantle and piano.
The room has a Gothic Revival influence as seen in the antique Scotch ingrain carpet, the little hall chair near the coal stove and the stove itself. The heavily draped windows and elaborate curtains all add to the "Victorian" feeling of the room. The curtain rods and holders were found in the house.
The engraving of General Grant and his family resulted from his popularity after the Civil War when he was a national hero. The painting over the mantle is titled "The Peacemaker" and is thought to be of young George Washington breaking up a fight between his friends.
Over the piano is a classic painting thought to be by Asher Brown Durand of the Hudson River Valley School of Painting. By the door is a charcoal sketch of Richard Randolph Parry at age 25.
The Victorians loved knickknacks. Note the Napoleonic French porcelain palette clock, the needlepoint picture with silver leaf backing, the papier-mâché table and the ladies fire screen fans. The English porcelain in the corner cupboard is Victorian Chelsea and consists of two different patterns.
Miss Gertrude Parry, who gave frequent musicales in this room, owned the folding brown silk parasol. In our archives we have a 1880 photo of this room. It looked very similar except the photo showed an upright piano and a cat.