Sunday, November 05, 2006

Victorian Ornamentation and the Adirondack Home

This ornamentation tops a full length mirror hanging in the landing on the Penwood staircase. It has been there, I think, for a hundred years - since Mrs. Sylvester built the house. It is one of the few things that has not changed over the years and so has become invisible. We know it so well we don't notice it. But it's a great example of Victorian ornamentation - the mirror is massive and elegant. I wish that we could play back all the images the mirror has seen over those hundred years, back to my own image as a child and back before I was born, when the mirror greeted well dressed ladies descending the staircase for dinner and gentlemen still wore jackets and ties in the Adirondacks. That was the Great Camp style: lots of ornament and down-shifted formality to suit the rustic character of the woods.

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