Parlor Room

1810 portrait of Frances Bryan Isaacs, wife of Benjamin Isaacs, a grandson of Sarah Bush. The table under the gilt mirror belonged to Sarah Bush.

The parlor, the most fashionable and public room in the Bush house is furnished to reflect the transitional period between Justus Luke Bush’s marriage to Sally St. John in 1821, and the death of his mother, Sarah Bush, in 1824. Older, eighteenth-century furnishings, representing the styles popular during David and Sarah’s time, are mixed with new furnishings, many bearing neoclassical motifs prevalent during the period of Justus Luke and Sally Bush’s marriage.

The fine wood paneling was first installed sometime between 1755—when David Bush and his first wife began living in the house—and 1771—when the house underwent its most significant alterations.

Like the wood paneling in Justus Luke & Sally’s bedroom upstairs, it was originally painted blue but acquired a painted layer of faux wood-graining sometime during the early decades of the nineteenth century. A tall case clock and a secretary/bookcase, both in the Chippendale style, and a drop-leaf table in the earlier Queen Anne style are the kind of furnishings that would have been familiar to David and Sarah’s generation.

The geometric-patterned wool ingrain carpet, a set of chairs with urns carved into the back splats, the inlaid mahogany gate leg half-moon table, and cast-iron fireplace are among the later furnishings that would have been considered stylish by Justus Luke and Sally Bush’s generation. A versatile, room, the parlor was used for entertaining guests and for the less formal daily activities of the family such as reading and sewing. Furniture could be rearranged as needed.

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