By Robert Hancock
Senior Curator & Director of Collections
The two adjoining parlors on the first floor of the house were the main entertaining areas for public gatherings, small private affairs, and for the family. These rooms contain everything needed to entertain guests or spend some quiet time during the day or before going up to bed.
The gaming table in the Center Parlor is covered in black lacquered papier-mâché with mother-of-pearl inlay and has extensive hand decoration. It is what is known as chinoiserie (from the French Chinois, meaning Chinese), a style that imitated Chinese motifs and techniques in furniture that was popular during the 18th and 19th centuries due to increased trade with the Far East.