Northeast Chamber

Interior of room with canopy bed and two chaise lounges Interior of room with canopy bed and two chaise lounges
"Blue Room," by Frank Cousins, 1917. Buildings and Grounds Photograph Collection (3008-2-14-1)
Guest room, 2018. NPS Photo / Kate Hanson Plass

This chamber at the back of the house has views east over the lawn and north over the Longfellow formal garden. It is accessed by the back stairs, sharing a landing with the Gold Ring Room, and connects via a small passage to the southeast chamber.




 
Fireplace with andirons and screen surrounded by multicolored tiles

© 2015 Xiomaro

Painted Tiles

The outstanding feature of the room is a set of English and Dutch fireplace tiles depicting biblical scenes, animals, ships, and ruins. Henry Longfellow described many of the tiles in his poem "To a Child," written for his son Charley:

Thou gazest at the painted tiles,
Whose figures grace,
With many a grotesque form and face.
The ancient chimney of thy nursery!
The lady with the gay macaw,
The dancing girl, the grave bashaw
With bearded lip and chin;
And, leaning idly o'er his gate,
Beneath the imperial fan of state,
The Chinese mandarin.

 
Bedroom with canopy bed in foreground, light floral wallpaper, and tables and chairs against wall with two windows

© 2015 Xiomaro

Changing Occupants

Charley Longfellow's nursery had been one of the rooms his father rented from Mrs. Craigie. When Henry Longfellow became her boarder in 1837, he was told that his rented rooms had been Washington's, although there is no contemporary evidence collaborating this. After their marriage, Henry and Fanny Longfellow continued to use this as their bedroom until 1844. The room then became the nursery for the young Longfellow children, Alice Longfellow's bedroom, and a guest room.

The eclectic mix of furniture includes a Federal-style bed brought from Henry Longfellow's boyhood home in Maine, Japanese artifacts acquired by Charles Longfellow in the 1870s, and the mounted eagle-shaped tiller of Thomas Appleton's yacht Alice. Like the study on the first floor, this room has a bookcase built into a window. The two watercolors on the west wall, Rocks and Surf and A Calm Day, were painted by Henry Longfellow's niece, Mary King Longfellow.

Last updated: February 26, 2018

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Cambridge, MA 02138

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