Xxxv

DRAWING-ROOM.

There is no reason for simplifying or abating the splendor of the drawing-room but the insufficiency of one's purse. Whatever of light, airy elegance and beauty is within the power of the furnishers of the house should be lavished on it. Solid wealth and comfort belong to the dining-room, but as soft and gay a beauty is demanded for the other as can be imagined and procured. Even were it not for the desired warmth and substantiality of the deep tints in the dining-room, yet the use and nature of that room suggest rather its dress in what the poets call the strong male colors, leaving the delicate tints for the more feminine character of the drawing-room. As we have before had occasion to remark, facts concerning the origin of every room should have weight in its general furnishing; and while the library may be considered to be born of the lord's " solar," the drawing-room is the result of the first separation of the lady's chamber from the great hall, even if it does not in some measure represent the gynsecium of the ancients, and is therefore essentially one of the feminine apartments; and if it were not so in its history, it is so, at any rate, in its daily employment and occupancy. Hence the preference for delicate tints. Not that they are an absolute requirement though, for there are delightful drawing-rooms on record furnished in quite the opposite; and probably we have all envied a certain lovely drawing-room in a recent novel, where the groundwork of the carpet was nothing less than black. Yet even there, if we remember rightly, the cotdeur de rose of the rest was illuminated by numberless mirrors and much gilding, by quantities of pink china, quaint lamps, and all the pretty glittering bijouterie in the world. Eveiy one, of course, in choosing the colors of the drawing-room will suit some special fancy or some necessity of complexion—a family of pale and sallow people not being able to have a great amount of green about them, for example, and a very rosy lady being quite unwise to surround herself with the ruddier colors. Yet if complexion does not enter into the question, the peach blooms, the tender blues, the ethereal greens of winter sunsets, are charming in fine drawing-rooms; and gold-colored satin, being in itself a thing of most extreme lustre, supplies a happy sunshine when clouds are gray. Yet upon {he walls these colors can hardly be given in their crude primaries, but must rather be suggested by combination of tertiary tints, which in the hands of artists project, as it were, the desired color; and in selecting our papers we will frequently find that one which has not a line of the color in it that we wish, at a little distance produces precisely the effect of that color upon eye and mind.

Of course, in speaking of the drawing-room, we refer more particularly to the large and handsome saloon for the reception of guests that belongs to large and handsome houses, the withdrawing - room into which one retires from the dinner-table; but in their general character our remarks will apply to the parlors of smaller dwellings, if the furnisher bears in mind that the object in either room is to obtain the elegant and light effect—an effect which excludes the idea of anything but enjoyment in the place—the very word "parlor" signifying a place for con-

Walnnt Cabinet, Henri II.; Alabaster Medallion, Head of Amazon (Italian), Six- rorflatinn teenth Century; Carved Oak Chair, Henri Quatre; Faience Vase, Moustier. vcrsduuu.

In the use of delicate tints for the drawing-room, the dark hard wood finishing there is frequently unsuitable, although with gold-color, or rose, or the robinV egg blue, black lacquer is effective; but the choice lies with a lighter finish—the satin-woods, the creamy polished maples, the pearl-gray stained maples, and others of the sort—for wainscot and cornice, doors and window-frames, and for the mantel, according to ancient and elegant usage, since there are few more delightful things in any room than some of these woods nobly fashioned and finely carved in the mantel. It frequently happens, however, that the wainscot and cornice and dado are not in wood

at all except for the skirting-board round the floor, but are represented by paper-hangings of varying but harmonizing colors and patterns, the portion between dado and frieze being broader than the others, and of softer tint. There are many papers issued now of the soft new combinations of color, which have just that slight peculiarity in tone and pattern that Morris's verse has in poetry, whose designs are all either idealized or conventionalized; and we think a deep border of the sort is in better taste than any of the friezes representing the story of Middle-age legends or the life of histories and poems, which injure the effect of paintings, bronzes, or bas6-reliefs below, and need to be most artistically designed or stencilled to be any better than the insufferable landscape paper of a hundred years ago. "Without any doubt, it is in incomparably better taste than the classic friezes with which some of the modern Gothic reproducers ornament their walls, and portions of which, in medallion, may frequently be seen making anachronisms of their various articles of furniture, although with reasons satisfactory to themselves. On the middle portion of the papering, which corresponds to the old panelled wainscot, the pictures are to be hung; and care must be taken that they are not simply spotted round the room at convenient intervals, but that they are arranged with a purpose; not only with an eye to the best light for the picture itself, but also to its work in the tout ensemble of the room, which must not be suffered to have a patchy or scrappy look. Sameness can be avoided only by breaking up the room into parts, never losing sight in the mean time of their ultimate union, and after each separate part has been well treated, reuniting them in a whole. The patchy look is prevented by arranging the furniture with a view to masses, and then combining the masses themselves with a view to harmony; that is, where the heavier objects, such as cabinets or pianos, tables or davenports, and the darker paintings, make a place of deep shadow, that place must be balanced by another having relation to it, and must be relieved by lights —by the bare wall surface, by gilded articles, by marbles, by the delicate window drapery; and masses and shadows can always be created by the tall and slender dark articles flanked, immediately or by the foreshortening of the view, by smaller ones.

The carpet of the drawing-Foom is perhaps as great a puzzle as the house presents. By common consent it has usually been some elaborate floral piece in Brussels or Wilton or Axminster, which on every true principle is an abomination to the eye; all the more so when, as it frequently happens, pedestals, urns, cherubs, ribbons, busts, and baskets, and bits of sky between, are thrown with a liberal hand among these roses the size of cabbages. This carpet is an atrocity, and its design should be replaced

Scree 11 designed by Princess Helena.

by the small arabesques; by the mossy mottlings, although they are not altogether noble enough for a room of any size; by interwoven shapes that are not exactly floral or leafy, but look as if they might have dropped out of the material when the leaves and flowers were cut; or by the India patterns, which, although they usually come in the very pronounced deep colors, can be had in the lighter shades. A light carpet, however, is not absolutely indispensable to a light effect otherwise, it will be understood. The only carpet of floral design that can be allowed at all, and that but questionably, is the Aubusson tapestry, which is a work of art itself, ard which, with its imitations perfect and delicate as water-color painting, when brilliantly lighted, under circumstances of great gayety, plays a part in the scene, and represents sufficiently well the flowers strewn at the feet of the bride. But people are not going to buy princely carpets to use at one wedding and roll up and put away for another; and if the Aubusson is a work of art, it may be said that its place is not under the feet. An Axminster carpet, woven in one piece, except for a border, of soft shades and conventional and rather unnoticeable pattern, is the one to be most generally chosen; and those made in this country under that name are quite as good as those made abroad, and, 600th to say, quite as dear. But a Brussels, were it not for the lines of the several seams, would be of as much use, and is preferred by some feet to the tufted stuffiness of the other.

For the windows, shades of fluted silk of a creamy white, under lace curtains, soften the light like ground glass, and are pleasant where the outside view is not desired. If other curtains are added, they are best of a silk corresponding with the carpet as much as may be, and combining the agreeing or contrasting shades of the coverings of the furniture, running under a lambrequin on a gilded rod rather than hung in those festoons whose folds accumulate dust and streaks of discoloration from unequal light. But it is possible that the drawing-room is the place to remember the transparent nature of windows, and that lace drapery is all-sufficient to those windows.

The seats of the drawing-room must be deep and luxurious ones, whatever be the style of their wood-work; and there must be varying chairs of the light fanciful kind, easily moved about, with one or two of the black lacquer and straw chairs, and those whose gilded rods give brightness ; while sofas, lounges, chairs, ottomans, and all their sort, with the circular divan and its round tufted back where there is room for it, and various footstools and hassocks, inviting the lingerer, are to be provided in profusion.

Unless one has a separate music-room, there is to be a piano in the drawing-room; and although we are all so much attached to our own pianos, in our pleasure over the soft gleaming of the black and white keys, and our feeling that they are like sentient beings and personal friends, that we seldom think of them as objects of beauty or otherwise, yet in reality there is hardly anything uglier and more elephantine than the modern piano, whether grand or square. The upright piano has its possibilities, but it is objectionable on the score of requiring the singer, when playing the accompaniment, to face the wall in singing; but the old-fashioned clavichord, with its shallow, curving, prettily panelled and inlaid sides and its slender legs, was something to please the eye, while the very construction of the modern square and grand piano requires substantial supports to its weight, and makes it bad. Illustrations have already been given of a Louis Treize upright piano, magnificent with inlaid work of lapis lazuli, pearl, and jasper, and of a Gothic one bristling with Flemish carving ; and as the exigeante prima donna to whom the situation of the instrument is of vital consequence is too seldom a guest of the general drawing-room to be considered, one may prefer to attend in this matter to the beauty that feeds the daily eye, rather than to the possibility of a voice that may never be lifted within the doors.

The shape of the centre-table, whether round, oval, or oblong, is at the option of the furnisher, although it might be thought that the oblong table was best suited to the oblong room. While the round table has been common in all, most of the very beautiful tables of the grand styles have been in the oblong shape. Yet there seems to be something more friendly about the round table, with its greater convenience, than about the other, provided it is generously large and comfortably low. Still, it will probably be found that the contiguous pieces of furniture have something to do in determining the shape ; and in small rooms a centre-table is best dispensed with altogether,

Modern Gothic Drawing-room Table and Stool. . , . ...

side-tables answering all purposes not met by a little guéridon or tripod for a lamp. The 8ide-tables may be pier-tables with mirrors, half-moons, or mere consoles, and they are very necessary in filling too naked space between windows or on the blank wall, or in smaller size standing here and there to support some trifle or answer some need.

The mirrors are another important feature of this room, for, banished from the library, and of disputed right in the dining-room, they fall back on the drawing-room and on the boudoir as upon strongholds, and all the lightness and brightness that has been built up in the place it is their province to reduplicate, while they enlarge space and seem to add society, and give, whether sensibly recognized or not, some of their own magical atmosphere to the 6cene they reflect. It is not only the long and large mirrors that are of service in the drawing-room, but the tiny bevelled mirrors of curious shapes set in curious frames either of carved wood or old brass

and silver, and with cnp-shaped candlesticks or sconces underneath. These little mirrors and girandoles are immensely illuminating, and if wisely distributed, so as not to bring a blot of lustre in the wrong place, increase the brilliancy of the room.

Producing almost as instant result as the little bevelled mirrors is the gayly colored china platter, pierced and hung upon its hook, and often doing more than any picture in positive decoration and supply of a piece of needed color. One need not speak of such things as pedestals with their marbles and casts, the antique vases or their imitations, the brackets, the jardinières, the vases and stands of flowers, and all the thousand and one momentous trifles. They are things of course, and according to one's purse and education ; but we may say that the lamps should be as varied and choice as the artist has designed, that if gas is used, the chandeliers must be mere coronas as light as jewellery, and that wax-candles are pleas-anter than either.

The mantel-piece of the drawing-room is always to be its most elaborate and beautiful point, giving the key-note, as it were, of the rest of the room, and care must be expended on its scenic capabilities—its ornaments few but majestic and splendid, its dignity completely maintained. It is not necessary that the fireplace should be large—it is only to toast a lady's feet; but the fire furniture, although kept shining, mu6t not be too richly wrought, except the little gilt fan screen, which is almost a fire in itself. The coal-hod need not remain in the room, if coal is used ; and if wood burns on the hearth, shovel and tongs and andirons should not be too fine to use. In summer, flowers will replace the whole.

The customary folding-screen is valuable for its effect, both through its beauty and its use in breaking a space, and it affords opportunity for the exercise of fancy, with gilded glass, with peacock plumes and velvet, with frames of finely woven brass wire, or with panels of embroidery. Almost as valuable is the easel, and its beauty and convenience were recognized hundreds of years ago, as finely carved specimens of the early Renaissance still exist to tell us. The last pictorial acquisition leaning on the easel, open to study, gives a pleasant addition, and calls up thoughts of something more than a mere idle drawing-room, after all.

Modem Gothic Drawing-room Screen and StooL

The davenport, the étagère, thé comer shelves, all help to fill the room and give it the air of occupancy and use and agreeable life. Provided

Modern Gothic Drawing-room.

there is space to move about, without knocking over the furniture, there is hardly likely to be too much in the room.

As important a piece as any, though, is the cabinet, partly drawers, partly doors, partly open shelves. Always to be of fine workmanship, but not too much variegated itself, with faience plaques and fringed curtains and gay leathers, and in character with the wood-work of the chief furniture, it receives and keeps secure all the little treasures that belong nowhere else — choice minerals perhaps, atoms of priceless china, the too precious album, historical relics, trophies of travel, little dainty curios and fragile things that may have fallen into one's possession, now and then to be displayed. From its height and breadth the cabinet is the main piece of furniture in the room, and is capable of vastly adding to or diminishing the desired character. It is almost impossible to have it of any lightness in the Gothic; in the Renaissance the artist naturally takes to lightness and grace and the superficial charm that becomes the drawing-room; but if it must be in the Gothic, some light gilt cresting and lattice-work, and guards to hold insecure articles in position, lend it a more suitable appearance. The little hanging cabinet, with its open shelves at top and bottom, and its enclosed ones behind tiny doors of plate-glass or of gay porcelain, must not be forgotten, in its place, for although so small, it is one of the most charming objects of furniture we have.

These things are the appurtenances of wealthy drawing-rooms. Yet we have seen drawing-rooms with the carpet threadbare; with the hopelessly marred furniture hidden beneath delicate chintz; vines draping the windows and the tarnish of the old mirror; with home-painted china and water-colors; cheap tables covered with cloths embroidered by nimble fingers; screens where the scissors and paste-pot rivalled the Japanese; the one luxury of a fine piano, and a harp, most picturesque and poetical of shapes; and everywhere an abundance of books—drawing-rooms whose simplicity eclipsed the achievement of silk and velvet and gilding, and obtained the light effect proper to the place without the sacrifice of anything more costly than time and patience.

King And Subject Oil Paintings
Walnat Armoire, oil Italian Pedestal, Sixteenth Century; Screen in Tapestry, Louis XIV., Subject "The King and Mademoiselle de la Vullttre."
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