The parlour* is considered the most formal room in the house. It is located at the back of ours and is entered through the foyer. It is used only on Sundays for family gatherings and entertaining guests. (*Please note the English spelling of this room versus the American.)
Earlier in the century the Victorian parlour was decorated in deep, rich colors of burgundy, gold, blues or dark greens. Recently there has been a movement away from the darker colors to creams and blues. Usually heavy drapes adorn the windows to prevent the sun from fading the furniture and rugs, but I prefer sheer curtains most of the year. The fireplace is used to keep the room comfortable in the winter.
The room's crowded nature serves two purposes: (1) to show the family's wealth and good taste, and (2) to have enough seats for all of one's guests. Victorian etiquette dictates that it is rude for a gentleman to offer his seat to a lady as the cushion might still be warm.
Victorians love "clutter" so to speak; it represents class. The parlour is a room where this is most evident. Here you might find an eclectic mixture of ornate furnishings, decorative floral wallpaper, statuettes and other bric-a-brac as well as fine art and family mementos in a variety of textures, patterns and color. In many homes, you will also find the pianoforte in the parlour. As our parlour is quite small, we keep ours upstairs in what we call our "Drawing Room" which you'll visit a bit later in this tour.
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