A parlour in 1695
This represents a parlour in a house built after the Great Fire of London in 1666. It is panelled in pine and painted in a colour known at the time as “stone”. The three large sash windows, which look out onto the street from the first floor, let in more light than the casement windows common earlier in the century.
At this time, the home, and especially the parlour, was important for developing business and family relationships. It was necessary to be able to entertain guests in an appropriate style. Tea – and the other newly fashionable hot drinks such as coffee and chocolate – were served in this room. Imported porcelain from China was still something of a luxury.
Most of the furniture is walnut, including the folding table and the walnut-veneered writing desk. The chairs, which have cane seats and backs made from rattan, a new material recently introduced from the Far East, were fashionable and affordable.
Cane chair, beech and walnut, 1695
Walnut, with trade label for John Guilbaud, London, c1700
Tin-glazed earthenware, c1690