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( Article orginally published September 1944 )
0ld Victorian furnishings are once again assuming importance in the decorating of our homes. Faced with the shortage of new furniture, many of us are recognizing a new value and usefulness in the products of the Victorian era. Down from the attics and out of storerooms the quaint, dusty old pieces have come, to be reupholstered and rejuvenated with polish and paint. With a little retouching here and there many dull and uninteresting pieces have emerged with a bright new personality and luster to enliven our surroundings.
With a little ingenuity an old Victorian urn is not just a useless period piece in the corner. Covered with a glass top, it can occupy quite a prominent place as a very unusual coffee table. Similarly, an old spice cabinet on an end table is a delightful and useful receptacle for cigarettes.
The student lamps of the period with their green and white shades can easily be wired to light up a desk. A particularly lovely type of Victorian table lamp is the white glass flower-decorated one which, electrified, radiates a rosy warmth that encourages one to dream and reflect.
In addition to the many practical uses of modern living to which Victorian pieces are admirably suited, they also appeal to us greatly for the many decorative qualities they possess. Old Staffordshire tea sets are very attractive when placed between book groupings. The old porcelain epergnes of our grandmothers make graceful table decorations, and if one desires a touch of quaintness, a bisque hen is not out of place on the mantel.
An exploration of the New York shops will prove very exciting, and will reveal how charming and attractive rejuvenated Victorian antiques can be and, if selected with taste, how readily they will blend with the most modern furnishings. They not only answer a real need at the present time but they are colorful and attractive, too. A little bit of Old Victorian will make your home more livable for the touch of elegance and humor it will add, and for the pleasant memories it will revive.