Exhibitions: Decorative Arts: Period Rooms

Parlor, Colonel Robert J. Milligan House

The Colonel Robert J. Milligan House, a three-story, brick building in the Italianate style (so named for its similarity to the austere classicism of Italian Renaissance palace architecture), is still standing, at 102 Circular Street, in Saratoga Springs, New York. The woodwork and many of the original furnishings of its library and front parlor, however, were acquired by the Brooklyn Museum in 1940 and installed here in 1953 as part of the first group of late nineteenth-century period rooms in any American museum. Although the two rooms stood on opposite sides of a central hall in the house itself, they were joined in the Museum as you see them now.

The furnishing of the rooms illustrates how various revival styles became associated with specific room usages as the nineteenth century progressed. The front parlor—the most ornate room in the house—was reserved for entertaining visitors and is decorated in the rococo revival style. Inspired by the curvilinear designs of the mid-eighteenth-century Louis XV style of France, the rococo revival was often used in rooms associated with women, such as parlors and women’s bedrooms.