NORTH OR MORRIS PARLOR
- 18th century area done to the Morris inventory
- Furniture kept along edge of room, then moved into place
- Georgian architecture — balance
The north or Morris parlor actually forms a suite of rooms with the entrance hall and the south parlor. Its fine paneling and decoration show it to be a primary guest space at Hope Lodge. This room's finish shows its original colors — Prussian blue on the paneling, black baseboards, brown chairrail caps and window seats, and white window sashes. The closet to the right of the fireplace originally had no shelves; it contains wooden rails with wooden pegs and was used to hang cloaks. The closet to the left of the fireplace always had shelves and was probably used to store extra china for tea. The other half of this opening is a passageway to the housekeeper's chamber. This narrow passage allowed servants to enter and exit this important guest area discreetly. At the time of Morris' death, we believe the room contained a clock, a desk, a looking glass, a pair of andirons, two tables, and a half dozen rush-bottom chairs. The furnishings in this room today, although they were not owned by Morris, duplicate in form those listed in his inventory.
Although the term "parlor" brings to mind a very formal room for entertaining special visitors, this is largely a Victorian connotation of the word. In the 18th century a parlor would have been used for a wide range of activities: everything from a library, a study, an office, or a dining room. To facilitate this flexibility, furniture was normally arranged around the perimeter of the room when not in use. The concern for balance in Georgian architecture is clearly evident in the fireplace wall of this parlor. It was critical to have symmetry in appearance, not necessarily in function. For instance, the left hand doors lead to a half-closet and a service passageway to the adjoining room, while the right hand doors lead to a full closet. The marble fireplace surrounds in both the north and south parlors are carved from marble quarried locally in the Valley Forge-King of Prussia area. Ornate marble fireplace surrounds are relatively rare in the Philadelphia area. The fireplace surrounds at Hope Lodge were used as models for restorations of the marble fireplace surrounds of the Assembly room, the long gallery, the Committee of Assembly Chamber, and the Council Chamber of Independence Hall. Furnishings could change depending on the season of the year. Furniture was portable and could be moved around in the house. It is possible in the winter that this furniture could actually have been in the south parlor, where the room would have been warmer.