Friday, August 1, 2014

Gorgeous or Gaudy?

Ah, the Victorians. I have often said, "No one did it like the Victorians did it." And in most cases that is true.

But.... sometimes I think they did go the teeniest bit over board and gaudy is the only descriptive word that comes to mind. The Brennan House in Louisville, Ky has some incredible examples. Not so much the house, which is a basic Italianate, but the furnishings.

Check out this hall tree:
 I can't believe all those little sticks and posts have survived all these years without being broken off.

I have never seen anything like it.

And then this bedroom set......manufactured in Louisville by the J.W. Davis Co. and exhibited at the Philadelphia Centennial of 1876.
 Massive headboard...massive.
Look at the size of that dresser.

A bit of information from the website:

The Brennan House is the last remaining Victorian mansion along what was once a residential street in downtown Louisville. Located at 631 S. 5th, the house dates to 1868 and features original interior finishes, lighting and furnishings from the Brennan family's extensive personal collection. This authentic historic home harkens to a time when horse-drawn carriages clip-clopped through downtown and 5th Street was lined with similarly appointed residences that reflected the grace and style of wealthy urban families in the late 19th century.
The Brennan House was built by tobacco wholesaler Francis Slaughter Jones Ronald and purchased in 1884 by Thomas Brennan, a native of Ireland and prominent inventor. He and his wife, Anna, had eight children who occupied the home through 1969. Today it houses the nonprofit advocacy organization Preservation Louisville Inc., whose mission is to protect and promote the cultural, architectural and environmental heritage of our community. Its stewardship of the Brennan House exemplifies this mission.
The three-story townhouse is constructed in the Italianate style with six bedrooms, 16-foot ceilings, stained-glass windows, expansive veranda, hand-carved marble and slate mantels, crystal chandeliers and walls lined family portraits. Rooms are filled with an entirely original family collection including massive, hand-carved dining room and bedroom furniture, an ornate silver service, steamer trunks with memorabilia from world travels, and a library lined with richly-bound volumes. One son - Dr. J.A.O. Brennan - added an office, waiting room and exam room to the north wing of the house in 1912 which remains intact, including exam table, equipment and medical volumes dating to the early 20th century.
Today the Brennan House Historic Home and Gardens remains virtually untouched since Victorian times, an oasis amid a bustling 21st century backdrop. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the Brennan House and Gardens is available to rent for weddings, parties, corporate events or meetings.

What so you think? Gorgeous or gaudy?



  1. You captured beautiful wooden artwork from a time gone by when there was so much care and effort put into items made in our country. To me all of this woodwork is completely beautiful.

    Thanks so much for sharing this beautiful home.

    Pat in Tallahassee (born in Louisville, Ky)

    1. Thank you for your comment and for reading. I would like to one day get up to Louisville and walk that street. So much history.