England (originated from No. 2 St. Margaret's Place, King's Lynn, Norfolk), ca. 1740
Pine with paint and gold leaf
This room, originally exhibited as the "Georgian Drawing Room," traces its origins to a residence, which still exists, at No. 2 St. Margaret's Place, King's Lynn, Norfolk, England. Although the interior architecture is in keeping with that of an English drawing room, the room most likely served as a salone, the Italian word anglicized by the English to "saloon." The room was used for such social festivities as gaming, dancing and musical performances.
This salone was constructed during the reign of King George II of England (1727-1760) when England was emerging as the strongest commercial power in 18th-century Europe. The architectural style of the 1730s and 1740s incorporated the final phase of the dramatic, symmetrical and bold Baroque style and the beginning of the fanciful and elaborate ornamentation of the Rococo style. As the English rediscovered classical architecture with its accompanying motifs of columns, shells and garlands, the combined these various forms, as seen in the salone, to create a style of restrained elegance unique to 18th-century England.
During the mid 18th century King's Lynn boasted many wealthy merchants eager to display their successes. Walter Kirby IV, the owner of No. 2 St. Margaret's Place from 1733-1752, and the likely builder of this salone, was one such merchant. Kirby, who served as city mayor from 1744-1745, entertained his family, neighbors and guests in this impressive room of the latest style indicating that was not only a prominent business man, but a cultured one at that.
Purchase: Nelson Trust, 31-116