I hope everyone who celebrated Thanksgiving is recovering from their feasts.
This year we brined our turkey and let me just say this is the first year ever when we did not have dry turkey. I also made pumpkin pie (from fresh pumpkin) and pumpkin bread (with and without cranberries). I also put whipped cream in my coffee for as long as the whipped cream lasted. I want more.
I have been unable to stop thinking about my post from last week in which I went off the deep end with the inventory of the contents of Fonthill. The reference to “chimney glass” continued to nag at me. So did “chimney ornaments” so back I went to Google and now I have a few more things to share.
Antique Chimney from Jamb
I came across Jamb which aside from being a beautiful website, is also a fantastic resource for chimney information and pictures. As well as lots of other things.
Any way, chimney glass is as you might have guessed, a mirror set above the chimney, though usually, from what I gather, in a large plate. If you were looking to cut corners, you might devise a decorative panel between the ceiling and the top of the chimney glass so you didn’t have to use as much glass. For quite some time, in rooms that needed to impress, the chimney glass went from mantle to ceiling.
At Fonthill, the South Bed Chamber contained: A chimney glass in a white frame, 2 plates 31 by 16 (I am pretty sure that’s inches, not feet, but 62 inches by 28 is darn big). In the Turkish room, there was this: A ditto [french plate glass] over the chimney, Seventy-three Inches By Fifty-nine, in a blind frame.
If you go back to the Turkish room inventory, most of the room that wasn’t windows was covered with mirrors. (Gee, I wonder why? They wouldn’t have done anything naughty in there would they? Nah.)
Chimney ornaments on the other hand, are much more fun. They were, more or less, brik-a-bak for your mantle. They might be brass (such as a flat brass fiddler) or porcelain — one writer made a rather snide remark about all the porcelain Buddhas from China. They were also a source of craftwork for women. Things to make with which to decorate the mantle. There were also numerous instructions for making chimney ornaments from vegetables — cutting off the top of a carrot and letting the green part grow, for example as well as a recipe for crystalizing objects for the mantle using alum. You might crystalize a rose, for example, or any number of decoratively arranged objects from nature.
Fonthill, by the way lists: Two India and 3 china chimney ornaments so really, I think you could have anything there. Tasteful or otherwise.
Questions for the Risky Among you
So, if you were a rich Regency lady, what kind of chimney ornaments would YOU make? Or would you save your pennies and buy them? Would you give a crystalized rose to your beau?
Also, just curious, what would YOU do in the Turkish Room and who would be there to party with you?