Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Victorian Interior Design: Stereoscope cards provide a look back

Note the Belter style chair in the forground and the large chandelier in what was a large double parlor
The Steroscope was a  popular form of "entertainment" in the Victorian era. Often erroniously called a stereopticon which actualy projected an image by use of a light sourse (like a candle), the stereoscope was used to view stereocards which were essentially two of the same image and when vied through the viewer gave a 3d appearance. They were wildly popular and often when Victorians entertained, ladies would retreat to the lady's parlor and view images of far away places.

Here we see a more middle class parlor. Note the hanging rail with vine garland draped on the wire. This was a popular trearment
 There were hundreds of manufacturers of these cards and viewers, but like most things as technology progressed,  we were entertained by other means and today original stereoscopes bring a nice price. There are reproductions made now.

A very high end  'mansion' interior view. Note the ceiling stencilling, higher end channdelier and drapery treatments.
That is a good thing since stereocards are relatively plentiful and often can be found at your local antique mall for few dollars each although rare images can fetch top dollar.These Stereocards provide a rare look at victorian period design however and we can see how they actually decorated. The next time you are at your favorite antique shop or mall you might want to peruse that stack of cards over in the corner as you might find a treasure or two that can help you get that "period look"


Karen Anne said...

A googled double parlor, but I'm still a bit confused... Two parlors? A double-size parlor? How can you tell from the Stereoscope card?

Paul Wilham said...

If you look at the left you can see a wall or column in front of the leftmost chair. This view is taken from the other side of the double parlor.

Double parlors are often 'visually' seperated by columns or very small walls with large openings. Design wise they function as a large room for entertaining but can function as seperate room areas. For example the men may be on one side of the room the ladies on the other. Sometimes there are portiers (Drapes) that can be drawn between the rooms Rather than pocket doors seen on earlier homes.