The Parlor


An original room to the 1868 construction of the home by Henry Harrison Hopkins, the parlor has several noteworthy architectural features. The gold-papered alcove is a most unusual domed recess and extension bay into the garden area. The fireplace is presently gas-operated but connects to one of the 3 original chimneys. The front porch window may have been a doorway at one time. The parlor would have served the family as a location to lay out the dead for a Victorian wake, and the door would have only been used for removal of the coffin. The present front door served for the arrival and departure of the living. The French doors to the garden room were hung once again during the restoration of the home in the 1980's to lighten the parlor. Also in 2000, the magnificent Strauss crystal chandelier was hung, and the walls were gilded in golden wallpaper from New York. The wooden floor has its original inlay. The "Orleans" black border was added to the upper walls in 1995. Present furnishings include a wonderful mahogany (breakdown) double armoire wardrobe from Claymont,Delaware (late 19th century), a mahogany secretary from Chatham, New York, sided by 2 mahogany regency chairs, a Duncan Phyfe styled mahogany sofa (circa 1920), and a mahogany captain's chair of unusual ornamentation with a restored horsehair seat (circa 1840). Walnut Eastlake chairs await you at the Chippendale leather-top table to play a game of chess with the Don Quixote Spanish playing pieces on the inlay board from Granada, Spain. The mahogany chairs at the huge reading table in the alcove are from a tobacco plantation near Petersburg, Virginia (circa 1840).An upholstered mahogany bench came from the Old Frederick Hotel in Frederick, Maryland. Wonderful walnut Empire chairs (circa 1870) are upholstered in a Napoleonic bee pattern and flank a mahogany music stand purchased in Baltimore by Mr. Browning's grandmother in about 1929. It depicts a painting of the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904 in the harbor. French doors enter from the parlor into the garden room with its huge Czechoslovakian crystal chandelier (circa 1900) and wall of mirrors. Once an open-air porch, the garden room has been enclosed to become a delightful all-season room of the house. A wall of glass overlooks the brick enclosed garden to view an ever-changing glimpse of nature. Even with a blanket of snow outside, one can curl up in a chair to view the wintry landscape. The expansive framed mirror was added to the room in the 1980's restoration. A massive fruitwood linen press dominates one wall, having been restored and shipped from France where it was made during the 17th century. Over the linen press hangs an oil painting of an upstate New York lake by Jean Faith (b.1909) who signs her work as Giovanna (1992). She painted this oil among others, while celebrating her 80's. Across the top of the main window runs a plate rail stocked with fine English transferware plates.

Photograph by Rob Otis - Havre de Grace, MD

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