II-128864.0 | Mrs. B. Lyman's parlour, Montreal, QC, 1875, copied in 1899

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Mrs. B. Lyman's parlour, Montreal, QC, 1875, copied in 1899
William Notman (1826-1891)
1899, 19th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
20 x 25 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Architecture (8646) , Photograph (77678) , residential (1255)
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Keys to History

Miniature parlour furnishings found in doll's houses include tapestry-covered parlour chairs, rococo-scrolled centre tables and hand-drawn sketches, all seen here. Mrs. Lyman has decorated her parlour for New Year's Day celebrations, putting up swags over paintings and flags over the dining-room entrance. Every surface of this parlour is covered. Antimacassars, or protective cloths for seat backs, are introduced early in the century. Small worsted, cotton or silk coverings are draped on chairs to protect upholstery or provide a warm shoulder wrap. Glass domes protect fragile objects, from dried plants to finely carved statuettes. A china cabinet displays family trophies and heirlooms. Delicate images on wallpaper contrast with a boldly coloured floral carpet and varnished woodwork. Traditionally, on January 1st, étrennes, or bonuses, are given to the staff who clean all these surfaces. Even without New Year's decorations, this home is full of contrast and crowded.

Michelle Perrot, ed., A History of Private Life. Vol. IV, From the Fires of Revolution to the Great War (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, Belknap Press, 1990), p. 291. (Michelle Perrot, ed. Histoire de la vie Privée: IV. De la Révolution à la Grande Guerre. Éditions du Seuil, 1987.)

Source : Crowding the Parlour [Web tour], by Jane Cook, McGill University (see Links)

  • What

    Here is a parlour leading into a dining room. The photograph was made using the gelatin dry-plate process.

  • Where

    The parlour was in a Montreal residence.

  • When

    This picture was reproduced in 1899 from an earlier print of New Year's celebrations of January 1875. The photographer, William Notman, died in 1891.

  • Who

    The parlour was in the home of Mrs. B. Lyman. The photographer's studio was William Notman and Son.