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The Under-glass Menagerie. The Height of Fashion: Victorian Parlor Domes

As a matter of taste, perhaps the two Victorian Parlor Domes in the Homestead attic should stay in the attic. However, as curiosities and a reflection of how succeeding generations lived at the Homestead, they deserve at least a brief look.


myoldhistorichouse.com suggests that “if you had a fine home during the high Victorian Era (1860-1880) you most likely had a Parlor Dome, at least one, in your Parlor. Sometimes they were in pairs and would adorn the fireplace mantle, others would reside on the, center of the room table.”


Victorian Parlor Domes were most often filled with paper/silk/wax flowers or similarly constructed fruit. Indeed, the parlor domes in the attic are a pair, with differing displays of flowers and fruits. More venturesome domes of the era contained domestic scenes, wind-up toys, or even taxidermied pets.


Stephen T. Mather’s parents married in 1864. Evidenced by scrap-books in the attic, Stephen’s mother, Bertha Jemima Walker, was a fervent Angophile. It is likely that these objets d’art appealed to her decorative sensibilities. With their banishment to the recesses of the attic, it is clear those sensibilities were not subsequently shared.


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