I-9176 | Mr. Wood's sitting room, Montreal, QC, 1863
Mr. Wood's sitting room, Montreal, QC, 1863
William Notman (1826-1891)
1863, 19th century
Silver salts on glass - Wet collodion process
12 x 10 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords: Architecture (8646) , Photograph (77678) , residential (1255)
Keys to History
If a woman's place was in the home, then a man's home was his castle. A wife was expected to "make her husband, whom she loves, a happy prince over the happiest domain" (Godey's Lady's Book, March 1850). To this end she was encouraged to create a masculine retreat within the domestic cocoon. It could simply be an armchair with hand-embroidered cushions and a footstool. It could also be a sitting room where a husband could read the "worldly" newspaper or even smoke. Mr. Wood has retreated to a relatively uncluttered room. He is wearing a pair of Berlin-work embroidered slippers.
Mr. Wood's sitting room does not display the claustrophobic excesses associated with Victorian domestic interiors.
Unlike many of the photographs from this period in the Notman collection, this was not a studio picture. It was taken at Mr. Wood's home.
Male domestic retreats in the 19th century often took the form of dens or smoking rooms.
The Victorian feminine aesthetic is hinted at in the patterned wallpaper, numerous framed pictures and glass domes covering precious objects.