GODEY'S LADY'S BOOK
Philadelphia, February 1850
We have been frequently requested to give a notice of new furniture, for the benefit of those at a distance from cities, who wish to send orders. In compliance to this, we shall devote some time and space to the description of a suite of new and elegant furniture, which was lately exhibited at the large and elegant wareroom of George J. Henkel.
Now, this may cause divers groans from "honest country folk," where chairs, a bureau, a looking-glass, and a table, are still considered the essentials of parlor furniture; and a sofa or centre-table luxuries, that call forth the remark from visitors, that "Squire Smith, or Major Jones's people are living quite too stylish!" But while we enjoy the honest sincerity which still lives in the shadow of wall-paper curtains, and deprecate the extravagant transparency of embroidered lace ditto, our veracity as n faithful historian compels us to do justice to the elegant articles, in which Mr. Henkel's good taste and the skill of his workmen are displayed.
THE HALL.- A set of hall furniture, comprising a hat-stand, chairs, and folding-table, of finely carved and highly polished oak, is first on our list. These are of a Gothic pattern, and distinguished by a peculiar neatness. The stand is furnished with a small, oval mirror, receptacle for umbrellas, etc. etc. The halls of houses in the country generally receive little attention, being considered, as most often described, simply a "passage."
THE PARLOR.- Specimens of the drawing-room or parlor furniture are well represented in the plate which accompanies our description. The sofas and ordinary chairs are covered with satin damask, crimson and black, end deeply tufted, or knotted, as will be seen. The frames are of rosewood, delicately carved, and of the 'highest polish. One of the prettiest patterns, represents clusters of small and large roses, every petal being distinct. Frames of the same shape, and covered with velvet, plush, or hair-cloth, may be procured. Mahogany is the established accompaniment of haircloth, however. The lounging, or arm-chair, has a richly embroidered covering of plain damask; the bouquets are life-like in color and execution, rivaling the far-famed labors of our grandmothers. Indeed, this kind of needlework is once more the fashion; and chair-covers, embroidered in silks and worsted, or of silk patchwork, in an infinite variety of patterns, are constantly in the hands of fashionable upholsterers to be "made up."
The boudoir piano has been recently introduced in this country. As will be evident, it occupies about half the space of an ordinary square instrument, and the strength or volume of tone is not in the least diminished. They are fast superseding, in many families, the more cumbrous, square, and grand pianos, being easily transported, and a very elegant ornament to any room.
Sofa tables seem to have taken the place of the centre-table, lately so much in vogue. They are usually oval in shape, with marble tops. The most elegant being of yellow or Sienna marble, which is twice the cost of an ordinary white slab.
And now we come to the etagere, or "what not," as this article of furniture is usually denominated. The real name comes from etage, a story, or division; and thus the range of shelves, as in the engraving, four stories high, has received its title. The plain ones of black walnut, with simply a beaded carving around the edges, are the most convenient article imaginable for a sitting-room, library, or nursery. This, however, more elegant and simple in construction, is intended only for the parlor. A drawer for engravings, etc., is attached to the central shelf, which is, in some cases, a slab of marble. In most hansel, elegantly bound books, and bijouterie of all descriptions, fill the different stories.
THE BED-ROOM.- Here we have the essential wardrobe, which usually contains s clothes-press on one side, and shelves, with a deep drawer, in the other division. A mirror is sometimes inserted in the central panel.
The dressing bureau, of a size and form that shall best please the taste of the purchaser, as Mr. Henkel's stock comprises every variety. Oval, swinging mirrors are attached to all. Black walnut is the neatest wood for chamber furniture, and does not show spots or stains so easily as mahogany. Bedsteads of the most costly and elegant description, ranging in price from $20 to $1000, have been furnished from these rooms. And here we would commend a table, invented expressly for invalids, being but one leaf, which may be raised or depressed at pleasure, and which may be swung over the bed to support books, a breakfast tray, or anything required by a convalescent, or confined invalid.
THE DINING ROOM.- A dining-room should, in every case, be furnished simply. A table, chairs, side-tables, and, perhaps, a few pictures upon the walls, are sufficient. The improved extension table, which has won for Mr. Henkel the warmest commendations from housekeepers, and honor from numerous "institutes," is given in the plate. Its advantages are obvious to those who once were obliged to place two square tables, sometimes of unequal height, side and side, if company was to be entertained. In this improvement, the mechanism is managed by a rope and small windlass concealed under the rim of the table, which also obviates the necessity of screws to fasten the different leaves together, as they may be tightened by a turn of the windlass. When entirely shut up, it has the appearance of a beautiful oval centre-table, with a heavy base. We commend it to the consideration of" heads of large families."
We have given the common names of the articles described, but, as French terms are often met with, we append a list of those most frequently used, with their translations.
Fauteuils medaillons (medallion arm-chairs).
Chaises legeres (reception chairs).
Caw,apts a trois dossiers (sofas with three backs).
Chaises chauffeuses (ladies' arm-chairs)
Etage res (what nots).
Consoles (pier tables).
Ecrans (fire screens).
Toilettinettes (ladies' toilet tables).
Bureaux de dames (ladies' work-stands).
Lits droit (French bedsteads).