colonial bedroom 1775-1800
This room represents the earliest period of the house and incorporates some furniture from even earlier dates.
The floor is unpainted and was frequently washed with sand and lye. The plaster walls are merely whitewashed. The painted trim closely approximates the room's earliest paint color. The fireplace is the only source of heat and hot coals would be used in the footwarmer and bed warmer.
There is sparseness and severity about the chamber that is relieved by the red and white George Washington toile hangings on the bed and at the windows. Although examples of this pattern were not found here in the Parry Mansion, this fabric was especially reproduced from an original fragment for this particular room.
The pine pencil post bed would, in winter, have hangings all around to cut down on drafts. The bed is smaller since the average colonist was rather shorter than we are today and it was common to sleep partially sitting up.
The old expression "Night, night, sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite" comes from the beds having rope springs and straw mattresses. Sleep tight refers to having to tighten the rope bedsprings with a large wooden key to prevent sagging. Bedbug bites refers to the fact that bugs eventually would find a home in old straw ticks or mattresses. Periodically the straw mattresses would have to be emptied and burned to prevent infestation.
The painted Pennsylvania blanket or clothes rack is hung with early hand-made blankets. This could be moved near the fire to heat the blankets before piling them on the bed.
Extremely rare period portraits of Benjamin Franklin and General Charles Lee are on the wall over the blanket stand. Two engravings in their original frames were published in London in 1784, the date of the house. One depicts the Birth of American Liberty and the other a quotation from Shakespeare.
The maple reading stand with adjustable candleholders accompanies the early Windsor rush-bottom corner chair (also known as a buffet chair). The spindle backed Windsor chairs were made locally. The cherry chest of drawers, the mahogany mirror above and the square cherry bedside table are fine examples of American Chippendale.
On the wall near the door is a very early map of New Hope, dated 1798. The map was made for Benjamin Parry and shows his holdings, together with those of his neighbors, which comprise the little settlement of New Hope. The map shows 34 buildings, dwellings, stores, shops, barns, taverns, stables and mills.
It is thought that Benjamin probably used this room as his office since it overlooks the Parry Mills across the street (now the Bucks County Playhouse). Notice Benjamin and Jane's canvas and leather traveling trunk at the foot of the bed.