Gropius House

Small Parlor Introduction

An intimate gathering space

The small parlor, as it was known to the family, hosted more intimate gatherings but could be opened to the large room next door when larger parties required it. The room centers on the moon-shaped fireplace, a decorative motif inspired by the fascination with the Far East during the 1870s and 1880s. This interest in Asia is found throughout the house, but no example is more lovely than the delicately painted bamboo branches that overhang the walls of this room. The John Gardner Low fireplace tiles, marketed in the 1880s as “Cobweb Frieze,” are another example of the interest in seeing beauty in nature.

The walls of this room retain their late twentieth-century paint treatment. Although this room has not undergone paint analysis, family history tells us that the band of decorative paint above the chair rail dates from the nineteenth century. The white walls were originally brown. Historic New England will restore the walls and ceiling of this room when funding allows.