Sunday, February 10, 2013


I was cleaning up in the library today and looking through some of my decorating books.  I have an extensive collection of decorating books and that's putting it mildly.  For a few years, I belonged to a decorating book club and so I ordered, and ordered, and ordered, and then ordered some more.  Finally, I stopped ordering but the result is that I now have shelves full of wonderful and useful books.

Probably not even half of them.

One of the books I came across today is a beautifully written and illustrated copy that tells all about the in's and out's of decorating a Victorian home.  There were a lot of olden quotes inside, which I am very fond of, so I thought you all might enjoy knowing how a Victorian home should, and would, have been taken care of and decorated in days of yore. I must warn you, though, this post is overloaded with pictures.  The book deals with the whole house, so I thought it would be fun to make this a post with continued references to different rooms in future writings.  So, let us continue with "The Workings of a Victorian Home", Part One, The Dining Room.

I just finished making the linen runner.

"Dinner, being the grand solid meal of the day, is a matter of considerable importance; and a well-served table is a striking index of human ingenuity and resource."

Mrs. Isabella Beeton
Beeton's Book of Household Management

A Valentine Tea for Two

"The dinner hour will completely test the refinement, the culture and good breeding which the individual may possess.  To appear advantageously at the table, the person must not only understand the laws of etiquette, but he must have the advantage of polite society."

Thos. E. Hill
Hill's Manual of Social and Business Forms

"The dining room should be light and airy.  If possible it should have a pleasant outlook and a window through which the morning sunlight will enter...Paper the walls with warm tints and have both dado and frieze.  Have an inlaid wood, oiled, stained or painted floor on which rugs may be used or dispensed with according to taste.  The window drapery should be in deep, rich colors.  The chairs should be chosen square, solid styles and upholstered in embossed or plain leather.  The dining-table should be low, square or bevel-cornered, and when not in use should be covered with a cloth corresponding in shade to the window drapery..The sideboard should be of high, massive style, with  shelves and racks for glassware and pieces of china.  There was a time when the dining room looked like a picture gallery; but the prevailing fashion now confines the number of pictures to two or three small fruit pieces and one or two plaques of still life."

Richard A. Wells, A.M.
Manners, Culture and Dress of the Best American Society

"There is nothing like individual taste in these matters (of decoration); but a few hints will be acceptable...In your Dining Room...the paper should be rich and warm in tone, without staring patterns, and the cornice, and moldings massive...The general effect should be that of substantial comfort."

Alexander V. Hamilton
The Household Cyclopaedia of Practical Receipts and Daily Wants

My newest junking find
No markings

Green transferware plate, another new find
Royal Doulton, England

The tiny demitasse cup with pink flowers belonged to my great-grandmother. The handle has broken off, but not bad, since the little beauty survived when her house burned to the ground.

The pink and white cup also survived the fire.

"Besides the regular dining-room furniture, tables, chairs, sideboard, and serving table, the addition of a plate rail or rack for plates, pitchers, and other decorative china objects, and of a china cabinet with glass doors for displaying the best china, help to give a room character and beauty.  The effect of these articles will be very much heightened if the wall coverings are in solid colors...The color scheme of the dining room would preferable be in cheerful tones, as blues, yellows, or reds, according to the amount of light the room receives."

Sidney Morse
Household Discoveries

"The table-cloth should be of the finest quality, ornamented with lace embroidery, if desired; but the latest edict of fashion precludes the introduction of any colored materials that do not wash...The room may be lighted with either white or colored candles or lamps...Decorations should always be arranged in such a manner that they will not interfere with the guests' view of one another.  At present the preference is for low dishes of flowers of delicate perfume; all those which have a strong fragrance, such as tube-roses, etc., should be avoided, as the odor is apt to become oppressive in a warm room."

Mrs. John A. Logan
The Home Manual

This concludes our presentation of The Victorian Home, Part one, The Dining Room.  Please join us at a later date for the next installment of The Workings of the Victorian Home, Part Two.


I'm sharing today with:

Open House Party with Sherry

Sunday's Best with Cathy

Seasonal Sundays with The Tablescaper


  1. Oh my - so much to consider. I fear that my un-papered dining room would not pass muster.

  2. Oh Judy, Who makes the darling plate with the blue edges and the colorful cottages? Your house is be-u-tiful! Angela

  3. Cara Judy,grazie al traduttore mi sono gustata tutto il tuo post!Che belli questi consigli!E che belle la bonchina di casa tua!Baci,Rosetta

  4. Love the quotes, but really like the images! Just beautiful.

    Wonderful to have you at Seasonal Sundays.

    - The Tablescaper

  5. Hi Judy,
    I sure knew we had the same taste and style..I have that same book and get this both page
    24 and 42..are my favorite rooms.. love your style...

  6. Hi Judy,

    I just love to read about the victorians... Your dining room is beautiful! I love that wallpaper. I can't wait for installment 2.

    Amy Jo

  7. I love the new runner even if it isn't quite fancy enough for the Victorians! The wallpaper and all the trays and dishes are so beautiful. I am drawn to Victorian style too.

  8. Hi Judy! You have such beautiful treasures and such pretties to look at. I know I would enjoy the day at your home and I bet I would hear some good stories too.

  9. Judy everything looks so wonderful. I love all the quotes and how you used your beautiful home as a display. You have such beautiful glassware..Excited to see what is next. Blessings!

  10. Beautiful images you have shares. I don't own a Victorian home but certainly enjoy your images.

  11. Hi Judy, I have checked that book out from the Library a couple of times. It's a goody! Your photos/decorating are very beautiful. Looking forward to Part 2! Gina

  12. Judy, that was lovely. You have so many gorgeous things. I would never tire of your pictures. No such thing as too many!! The little demitasse that survived the fire is pretty and so special.

  13. What a wonderful tour of your beautiful many, many lovely things. Thank you for sharing with us.

  14. Judy I have said it before and I will say it again, your home is gorgeous.Lots of lovely things lovingly displayed!

  15. Beautiful post Judy. I enjoyed my visit and thank you for sharing your lovely home

  16. Judy I just love this post! All of your beautiful things placed just so in your warm and welcoming dining room. Will be keeping my eye out for your next installment of the book. I will have to see if i can find myself a copy of it!
    Wishing you a wonderful start to your week!
    XO Barbara

  17. Hi Judy, Your beautiful home is filled with so many lovely treasures. I know you must enjoy creating vignettes. Your linen runner is gorgeous and I spied a little wire cloche that is adorable. Thanks for sharing.

    The French Hutch

  18. Your pretty collections look wonderful together in this post. You certainly keep the tradition of a beautiful and comfortable dining room! Love your sweet new runner too!

  19. Beautiful pics of your home! It was so much fun to hear how a Victorian home should be furnished too :o)

  20. First of all, I loved seeing the beautiful dishes and vignettes you have in your dining room. I truly enjoyed this excerpt about the Victorian Dining Room and look forward to reading more. Very interesting!!

  21. Hi Judy,
    That sounds like a fun book!! Your dining room looks lovely and I love seeing all your pretty dishes! Amazing that a tiny fragile tea cup survived a fire!
    Happy Valentines Day to you :-)


  22. Hi Judy, you have so many beautiful things and I just love coming to take a peek around your home.

  23. Judy,
    I have the same book and I most likely belonged to the same Book Club!! I bet we share more of the same books!!

    What a beautiful post showcasing some of your lovely home!!

    Looking forward to the next post in this series and i am digging out my book too!!


  24. Hello Judy
    Just catching up..your china collection is beautiful..congratulations on your 1st year of blogging too!!
    Thea x

  25. Judy, I really enjoyed this post and all the interesting facts on how to make a proper Victorian dining room. It sounded a lot like my grandmother's house and brought back some warm memories. Your photos of your home are beautiful and it looks so cozy and inviting. I have the same hobnail, milk glass bowl as you! Have a great day. Pamela

  26. Hi Judy,
    I think I joined the same decorating book club as you! I enjoyed this post so much, taking time to really look at all your lovely treasures. I will be anxious for part 2! Happy Valentine Day to you and your hubby!

  27. I really enjoyed that! Love all the old quotes. All so Lovely!! Thank you for sharing this at Rustic Restorations Weekend.


Your comments are so special to me...Judy