The Front Parlor

Front Parlor: This room boldly emphasizes the asymmetrical layout of the rooms.  It is the only formal room in the house and is in a Classical style. 

A.J. Downing advised variety in a house with no two rooms trimmed alike.  The carpet is a Brussels carpet, probably imported from England, and was installed when the house was constructed.  The room originally had draperies; only the tiebacks remain.  A photograph of the Morrill family on the south porch shows lace curtains in the windows.  The mantelpiece is real black marble, probably from Portoro, Italy and is the only real marble mantelpiece in the house.  At a later unknown date, perhaps in 1910 when a furnace was installed, the fireplace was bricked up and a metal grate installed as part of a hot air heating system.  The marble top table is similar to the fireplace, but a less fine piece of marble, and not from the same cut at the quarry.  The furnishings are a mixture of items original to the Strafford homestead and from the house in Washington, DC.  The charcoal drawing of Ruth Morrill, the Senator’s wife, was done when she was in her 60’s.  The oil painting over the mantle is in the style of the 17th century Italian Renaissance painter Guido Reniand, depicts the goddess Diana being pursued by her lovers. The painting was given to Justin Morrill by George Perkins Marsh, a Woodstock, VT native, who was Minister to Rome.  The three plaster frescos on the floor leaning against the wall were done by Constantino Brumidi as studies for the United States Capitol.  Morrill was chair of the Committee on Public Buildings and Grounds; these pieces were presented to the committee as examples of Brumidi’s work.  The statues on the mantel are English Minton Parianware and are small scale porcelain copies of sculptures of the Greek mythological goddesses Ariadne on a panther and Una on a lion in Florence, Italy.  The Parianware statue on the pier mirror is of Venus.  The pier mirror is one of three that were custom made for the Washington DC house.   The French windows open onto the south facing porch overlooking Morrill’s garden and fountain.

Photo Credit: Geof Gross