The proper Victorian parlor mantel would not have been caught unclothed. Maybe you’ve seen mantel scarves sold near the tree skirts at Christmas; but during the 19th century, the mantelshelf would have been fitted with a cloth or lace topper year-round.
The scarf is centered with its flat side abutting the wall. At the front, the scarf is tailored to fit the shelf or may drape with scallops, fringe, or tassels. A drop or swag usually hangs down at each end.
For period designs, turn to the Victorian Fireplace Shop, a full-service supplier of fireplaces, inserts (gas and electric), mantels, and accessories. The ‘Heirloom’ lace pattern is shown here; ‘Chantilly’ is a floral design set inside squares on a diagonal. Other motifs include leaves, tea roses, snowflakes, and pinecones. Sizes vary, and most scarves come in white and ecru. Prices range from $18 to $45. Victorian Fireplace Shop, (804) 355-1688.