Sunday, July 9, 2017

Salon

This spacious hallway, referred to as the “Salon” or “Saloon” by the Schuyler family, served as the
venue for dancing, parties, concerts and other social activities. As in the rest of the house, guests could expect to be waited on by enslaved servants throughout the festivities.

Dancing, posture, and etiquette would have been part of the schooling for both the girls and boys of the family, in order to ready them for the social life that awaited them as adult members of wealthy society. The boys may have learned swordsmanship from the same instructors as dancing and posture since both involved fancy footwork. [Swordsmanship was more than a gentleman's sport in the 18th-Century. Read about it.]

Musicians may have been placed in front of the back window, leaving more space for socializing and tactfully redirecting visitors’ attention away from the view of the working courtyard behind the house, and towards the majestic view of the Hudson River offered by the East-facing windows at the other end of the Salon. As indicated by a 1766 painting by British military artist Thomas Davies, which you see reproduced and enlarged on the East windows, visitors would have been able to watch vessels sailing the Hudson from this vantage point, including vessels owned or hired by Philip Schuyler to transport goods to and from his farming estate and mills at Saratoga or to and from New York City. The trip from Albany to New York or vise versa, averaged about a week's journey. [Read more about trade goods and fashion items the Schuylers were importing from New York and Europe.]

Based off of landscape features shown on the far side of the river, this painting was painted from just in front of Schuyler Mansion. The Dutch building shown in the center pane is likely meant to represent Crailo, the heart of the Van Rensselaer estate belonging to Catharine's father. This building still stands today as Fort Crailo State Historic Site in the city of Rensselaer.

Thomas Davies, the painter of this "View of Green Bush" was serving in the British military, like Philip Schuyler during the French and Indian War. That conflict had come to an end only a few years before he painted this image. While there is no evidence that Davies knew Schuyler personally, Davies would have been familiar with the officer on whose land he sat when he painted this image. Some historians posit that the man in the brown coat at the front of this image may be Philip Schuyler, painted in by Davies as a nod to the gentleman property owner.

[The first door on the right is a temporary exhibit space which is only open to the public when there is an exhibit installed. During the Schuyler's time, this would have been an additional bedchamber, but changes made to the home over the 19th-Century - including the addition of the servants' staircase seen here - has led modern historians not to interpret this space with historic furnishings. If the door is open, you are welcome to enter the exhibit space. For your safety, please DO NOT use the gated servants' stair at any time.]

With the Stairs at Your Back:

The first door on your left is the Blue Chamber

The second door on your left is the Yellow Chamber

The second door on your right is the Green Chamber

Going downstairs will bring you to the Back Hall

Other Rooms:

Central Hall (Downstairs)

Library (Downstairs)

Dining Chamber (Downstairs)

Formal Parlor (Downstairs)

Family Parlor (Downstairs)

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