A Bric-a-brac table to the rescue! Like many of us today that have
fireplaces in our homes, Victorian ladies found it to be a challenge to
hide the dark and dirty looking gaping hole staring out into the room
when a fire was not lit. Today we often use metal “fireplace screens” we
can purchase in almost any store or place a large fan in front of it to
beautify this area. Victorian ladies used the same items for the very
same reason. BUT… if you know anything about Victorian women, they just
had to try and do something different or better.
Below is one Victorian answer to hiding the gaping black hole of a fireplace. This idea was published in The Home Manual c. 1889. The article has been edited for use on this site.
The figure above shows a novel
design for a bric-a-brac table, which will help many a housekeeper to
solve the problem of how to conceal a fire-place in summer, or at any
time when not in use.
The pattern can be easily followed by any cabinet-maker, and the table should then be painted either white and gold, or any tint that harmonizes with the room in which it is to be placed. By means of a removable brass rod, screwed on at the back of the table, curtains of silk or plush are arranged to fall before the fire-place.
As can be seen by the illustration, the table, thus decorated, is placed in front of the fireplace. It not only adds beauty to the room but also gives more space for displaying items that you love.