Georgetown University's historic Carroll Parlor (Healy Hall 107) was completed at the turn of the 20th century by Jesuit brother Francis Schroen. He designed and decorated the interior of Healy Hall, including Riggs Library, Gaston Hall and the Hirst Room (now the Bioethics Library).
The elaborate gilded designs on Carroll Parlor's ceiling and walls, executed entirely by hand, combine the symbols of religion and learning with neoclassical motifs and forms inspired by nature. The 20-foot-high ceiling is emblazoned with the seals of the University and the Society of Jesus, while the reliefs covering the walls employ classical symbols of the light of knowledge, the oil lamp and the flame. Below the chair rail, Schroen molded the pattern of oak and laurel leaves in a freestyle technique, without the use of stencils.
The room has always been maintained as a traditional Victorian parlor. It was used for receptions, such as the one for Cardinal Martinelli in 1901; formal occasions, including Jesuit funerals; and during the 1960s, students were able to practice on a Steinway piano installed in the Parlor if they made the necessary arrangements beforehand.
As in the past, Carroll Parlor today displays highlights from the University's Art Collection. Important examples from the Renaissance and Baroque periods include works by the Flemish "Master of Hoogstraeten" and Sir Anthony Van Dyck. Significant American paintings by Jasper Francis Cropsey and Emmanuel Leutz are also on view. One of the most important paintings in Carroll Parlor, Luca Giordano's Calling of Saint Matthew (ca. 1700), which has hung in the same spot since the Parlor first opened, was acquired from Miss Martha Meade, sister of General George Gordon Meade (commander of Union forces at Gettysburg), in 1860. One of the largest Giordano paintings in the United States, it belonged to Miss Meade's father, who amassed an important collection of Old Master paintings while serving as U.S. Consul to Cadiz during the Spanish Peninsular War. The subject of the painting, popularized in 1600 by Caravaggio's commission for the Contarelli Chapel in the Church of San Luigi dei Francesi in Rome, is substantially lightened in Giordano's narrative interpretation. He includes an attentive dog growling at a pair of lion paw feet beneath the table at which Matthew counts his tax revenues, and portrays his subject in a light, Neapolitan palette with a more decorative effect than did his famous predecessor.
Carroll Parlor was refurbished substantially in 1982 with funds provided by the Class of 1971, and in 1999, together with the University Art Collection, became part of the Special Collections Research Center of the Georgetown University Library. The Library plans to renovate the room, adding much-needed climate control to preserve the valuable antiques and art, and a state-of-the-art lighting system that will eliminate the current problem of glare reflected off the paintings. Paintings will be rehung in the "salon style" favored during the American Renaissance Revival, allowing more of the Collection's treasures to be displayed. For this ambitious undertaking, we are hoping to find a generous sponsor to help ensure the preservation of Georgetown's impressive yet little-known art and antiques collection in this unique historic setting.
These are some of the works of art on view in Carroll Parlor:
- Eugene-Antoine Aizelin, Seated Female Figure with Oil Lamp (bronze sculpture), 19th century
- Eugene-Antoine Aizelin, Draped Female Figure (bronze sculpture), 19th century
- Isidore-Jules Bonheur, Farmer, Child, and Horse (bronze sculpture), 19th century
- Maria (or Marie) Theresa Cassavetti-Zambaco, l'Amour irresistible (Irresistible Love) (bronze sculpture), ca.1895.
- Jean-Baptiste Clesinger, Standing Figure with Laurel Wreath and Harp (bronze sculpture), 19th century
- Thomas Crawford, Boy with Tambourine (marble sculpture), 1855
- Jasper Francis Cropsey, Sunset Over the Hudson River, 1873
- Etienne-Henri Dumaige, Seated Draped Female Figure (bronze sculpture), 19th century
- C. W. Fleischman, Georgetown Viewed from Roslin (sic), 1883
- Luca Giordano, The Calling of Saint Matthew, ca.1700
- Jean-Louis Gregoire, Female Figure with Missal and Bag of Alms (bronze sculpture), 19th century
- Jean-Antoine Houdon (after); George Washington (bronze sculpture), 19th century
- Vinnie Ream Hoxie, Cardinal Antonelli, ca. 1850 (marble sculpture)
- J. Love, Sculling on the Potomac Below Georgetown University, 1888
- Raphael Sanzi (copy after), Madonna of the Chair (della sedia), ca.1880
- James A. Simpson, South East end view of the Georgetown College, 1831
- James A. Simpson, Georgetown College, 1833
- Gilbert Stuart, Archibishop John Carroll, 1804 (formerly in Carroll Parlor)
- Sir Anthony Van Dyck, Jean-Baptiste Janssens van Bisthoven, ca. 1630
- Unidentified (Vatican School, Italy), Birds and Flowers (micromosaic on table), ca. 1890s
- Unidentified, Candlestands, 19th century
- Unidentified (Italy and Northern Europe), Cassones, ca. 1550
- Unidentified, Chippendale-style chair, early 19th century
- Unidentified (Meissen Music Factory, Dresden), Music Stand, ca. 1774-1814
- Unidentified (Italy), Pair of Chairs owned by Giuseppe Cardinal Sarto (future Pius X)
- Unidentified (France), Saint Anne and the Virgin (wood sculpture), 13th century (also known as The Education of the Virgin)
- Unidentified (Russia) Icon of Saint Nicholas (silver gilt and painted), late 19th century
The Class of 1971 endowed the Carroll Parlour Art Upkeep Fund.
Carroll Parlor is open to the public several hours each week and is available by appointment for groups. Admission is free.
To make an appointment for a group visit please call (202) 687-1469; or send an e-mail.
Spring 2013 Hours:
Monday 12:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday 10:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Wednesday 12:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Thursday 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Closed on University holidays.