The Parlour

Visitors in 1812 would have been shown to the parlour; the living room at the front of the house. The parlour is furnished in the style of middle-class taste of the early 19th century when John and Elizabeth Dickens lived here. The wallpaper is a modern reproduction but it has been specially printed by rollers of early 19th century to match the original as closely as possible. The curtains and carpet are also reproduction.

The sofa was made in around 1800 and has an accompanying table which would have been used for refreshments for visitors. The fireplace has a tasteful mirrored over-mantle with a classical design. To your left is the chiffonier, a type of sideboard. This was made in 1810 and so was right up to date. The tea set is English porcelain made at Caughley in about 1780. The room is decorated with cheap coloured illustrations of traditional street scenes, mounted in their original frames.

Two items in the room are worth a special mention. In front of the fireplace is a fire screen. The sliding fabric-covered panels of the fire screen were used to shield ladies’ faces from the reddening effect of the flames, as a red complexion was looked on as ‘common’. To one side of the fire is the torchère. This was the Regency equivalent of our standard lamp. It is made of carved mahogany and holds an oil lamp.

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