Dining in Rosedown Plantation, St. Francisville, Louisiana

Welcome to the 296th Tablescape Thursday!

Last week while touring plantation homes across Louisiana and Mississippi, I was happy to discover photography was allowed in almost every home we toured. Today we are venturing inside the beautiful dining room of Rosedown Plantation.

As you can see in this picture from Wikipedia below, Oak Alley Plantation isn’t the only Louisiana plantation home with a beautiful avenue of ancient oak trees. It took real vision and a respect for heritage to plant oak trees in this manner because as slow-growing as they are, the person planting them would have known they would never live to see this magnificent sight. So glad they planted them for future generations to enjoy!

Rosedown was the home of Daniel and Martha (Barrow) Turnbull and they named their home Rosedown after a play they saw on their honeymoon. Rosedown was once situated on 3,455 acres of land, mostly planted in cotton. So many of the homes we toured were sugarcane plantations so I was surprised to learn Rosedown was a cotton plantation.

Rosedown Plantation, St. Francisville Louisiana


In the dining room, the table was set with beautiful china. I didn’t recognize the pattern but I’ll share a close-up photo toward the end of this post and if you recognize it, please share the name.

Rosedown Plantation, Dining Room, St. Francisville Louisiana_wm


I loved the beautiful old mirror above the fireplace. Wish dining rooms were still built with beautiful built-in china cabinetry like we see here.

Rosedown Plantation Dining Room in St. Francisville, Louisiana_wm


Are you familiar with the device you see hanging here above the table? It’s a large, swinging fan called a punkah and the first ones date all the way back to early 500 B.C.  They were more commonly known as a shoo-fly fan and were often seen in the dining rooms of plantation homes.

Back in the day, windows were always open to catch the breezes. Unfortunately, bugs like annoying flies would find their way in. To keep the flies away from the food and the dinner guests, someone would sit over in the corner and operate the fan by pulling on the rope.

When it was really hot, a big bowl of ice could be placed on the table and the movement of the fan would create cool breezes. I wonder how readily ice was available back then. I have a feeling it was used more often to keep the bugs away from the dinner guests than for cooling. Thank goodness for air conditioning! We have it good today, don’t we? I wonder what that large clear bowl inside the soup bowl was for. Maybe each guess had their own bowl of ice for cooling.

Rosedown Plantation Dining Room, Louisiana


Here’s another view of this end of the room from the other side. I couldn’t always get the view/angle of the room that I wanted due to all the folks attending the tour. Just had to do the best I could. You’ll probably be hearing that whine from time to time as I post tours of the homes we visited. 🙂

Rosedown Plantation, Dining Room, St. Francisville, LA_wm


There was a pretty sideboard tucked into one corner of the room. You can see where the fan was tied off/operated in this photo, too.

Sideboard in Rosedown Plantation in Louisiana_wm


We get a better view of the dishware here on the sideboard.

Sideboard in Rosedown Plantation_wm


Anyone recognize the pattern? Look at those beautiful cranberry glasses there on the end.

China Displayed on Sidebar in Rosedown Plantation_wm


Rosedown was probably my favorite of all the homes we toured. The interior decor was stunning and the grounds/landscaping was wonderful! I can’t wait to share more of this gorgeous home in future posts.

Rosedown Plantation, St. Francisville Louisiana


Looking forward to the beautiful tablescapes linked for this week’s Tablescape Thursday!

Tablescape Thursday


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  1. You must have loved this adventure with all the beautiful things to see.

  2. Thanks for the tour Susan, what a genius solution that shoo-fly fan is! I would have made a lousy pioneer, thank goodness for air conditioning 🙂

  3. Susan, I can’t find a place to edit my submission. I typed in “Tablescape Sampling”, but apparently after I typed it in, Linky picked up the entire blog name and title in all caps and put that in the box. I didn’t realize it until I saw my submission on your blog. Is there a way I can edit it? This dining room is gorgeous. I love those built ins on either side of the fireplace. laurie

    • Laurie, so weird that it did that…I just fixed it. If it ever does that again, probably the only way to fix it would be to delete it and just re-enter it again. Since I’m using random ordering at InLinkz now, you won’t lose your spot like the old days. But it only takes me a second to change the title though so happy to do that anytime! 🙂

  4. Hi Susan, I love your house tours! I think those china cupboards would be so handy, and the drawers appear to be the right size to hold linens and serving pieces. How convenient that would be! I would be very surprised if the plantation did not have a huge ice house, probably dug into a hillside or underground, which would be filled with ice in cold weather and covered with straw for insulation. I love the fan. I know I saw some on a tour once, and the guide told us it was the job of the youngest servants to operate it during a meal. I’m looking forward to seeing many more of your house tour photos! Thanks for hosting the party. Linda

  5. That was so interesting Susan, that shoo fly fan is outrageous! I don’t know how the older generations could stand the southern heat and humidity with all those clothes they wore! Thank goodness we have A/C now! I’m so glad you got yours fixed! My SIL has an AC company so I always get instant service 🙂 Can’t wait for some more sights from your trip!

  6. Oh, what a gorgeous home! Thanks for the tour, Susan!

  7. Hi Susan,
    Wow, bet that was one fun tour. Lovely home………..and those trees lining the drive are amazing,
    have seen that before in pics and it is always breathtakingly beautiful………………I am with you
    about whoever had the foresight to plant them…………
    Thanks for hosting this fun party…………….
    Blessings, Nellie

    • I think they told us it took around 100 years for them to just get tall enough to start arching over near the top. I was amazed to learn that Live Oaks live for around 1,000 years!

  8. Enjoying the tours!Thanks for sharing with us. Nice to see this tablescape and learn a little history.
    Thanks for hosting.


  9. brendavoncanon says

    Oh what a nice surprise..I have the silver and crystal center piece…the one with the large bowl surrounded by small ones…

  10. Hi Susan,

    I love this glimpse of the plantation dining room!! Those dishes are beautiful; I especially love the pink band around them. The built-in cupboards and mirror are lovely; the whole room is just so stately and classic. I really look forward to seeing more pics of this house and the other houses you visited. For a long time, I’ve wanted to tour the plantation homes along the antebellum trail — maybe someday I’ll get there.

    Thank you for hosting Tablescape Thursday; have a great day!!


  11. Susan, I just tried to leave a comment and my Firefox protection would not allow me to do so. I had to turn it off briefly to let you know that it said a WordPress “jet pack” (whatever that is!) was trying to get into my computer. At least, I think that is what it meant. I have never had that happen previously on your sight. P. S. I loved the tour!!

    • Jet Pack is a plugin that almost all blogs use and the tech company I have helping me just activated their comment plugin on my blog since some folks were having problems using the other comment plugin I had on my blog. Jet Pack was probably just trying to determine if you were logged into one of your social networks like Facebook or Google+, etc…. since it will let you comment using that login if you like, instead of having to type in the usual stuff before commenting. I may be swapping it out for another comment plugin. Some folks like this one, but a couple of folks don’t. Hard to find a comment plugin that everyone likes, including me. 🙂

  12. Susan, Thank you for sharing this beautiful plantation tour with us. Houses were truly magnificent weren’t they? My Grandmother lived in one of those type houses and I have so many wonderful memories of that house and her gardens..This brought back some sweet memories…Thank you… wish I knew the name of that china..maybe someone will know..
    Love, Mona

  13. Sandra Garth says

    So much history in that house.

    • There really is. I got lost just listening to the guides sharing it. I love touring them just to see the antiques and furnishings. The house part is a bonus.

  14. Peggy Thal says

    Thank you Susan for the beautiful tour. Makes me want to clean my silver! Love the built in cabinets. Such nice space for everything. Remember way back when not every home had air conditioning. Sure happy to have it now. But then no one knew any better or missed it. Thanks for sharing. It made my day. I am getting your Emails once again- so happy!

  15. Margaret Kuhn says

    Thanks for sharing Susan. I have never seen a fan like this before. When I get a chance I am going back through your posts for the last 3 weeks as I just returned from a vacation in France and Monaco. I viewed a lot of castles and palaces, but none had (if they ever did) a fan like that.


  16. We have toured Rosedown and Oak Alley and have enjoyed them. St. Francisville is a very interesting little town. I loved the old churches too. Hope you didn’t miss them!

    • I saw so many beautiful ones! I wish I could have taken pictures of all of them. I think I could go live there a year and still not get all the pictures I wanted.

  17. Susan, I loved the hosting and the pretty tour! I went on the tour ages ago when I was younger and didn’t appreciate it like I would now. I live in south central Mississippi so you weren’t far from me!

  18. You had such a lovely vacation. It is so nice to that you shared.

    As for the new comment plugin, I am not fond of Jetpack’s comment plugin, but Discus is worse. Let us know what you decide Please. I think they want to have all social options to reply, but I get overwhelmed with all the options. I try to be social, but sometimes I feel like they would like to stick my finger in the electrical socket and keep me lit up at all times.:)

  19. Carol Neibling says

    Susan, I think those clear bowls were finger bowls. I am sure there was a large napkin beside it and you would eat chicken with your fingers and then dip your fingers in the bowl and wipe on the napkin and this was all supposed to be done daintily. I have been to this home and the landscaping is as lovely as the interior.

    • Carol…you may be right. The only finger bowls I’ve ever seen were teeny, tiny…but maybe they used bigger ones back then. I wouldn’t want to be staring at dirty, yucky water while eating though. Blah.

  20. Grandmom says

    Now THAT’S a traditional old southern plantation home! What a gorgeous “moss filled, tree lined” entry drive-way. Couldn’t you just feel your blood pressure going down as you approached this home. Think I was supposed to be born into this lifestyle; but God knew I would have to have air conditioning. Thank you for taking us all into this time & place, even for just a few minutes.

    • Paula, I have so many more pics to share. I started at the very end of the driveway, walked a few feet and took a photo, walked a few more and took a photo. It might be fun to show all those as the house gets closer and closer. I should have taken a video while I was there…why didn’t I think of that. That would have been cool to have walked down that long alley of oaks and video tape it.

  21. Charlotte says

    I am pretty sure the clear bowl in the soup bowl is a fingertip bowl, for washing your hands between courses of the meal. The china looks like a Limoges pattern, but I am not sure.

    • I always thought fingertip bowls were really small. Maybe they needed a BIG one from all that dust and dirt blowing in from outside. 🙂 Thanks for the Limoges suggestion…you may be right!

  22. SharonFromMichigan says

    What a beautiful house. Makes me want to stay and wander down the oak covered path….Were those electric candle lights on the sideboard? I love love the way they light up the corner of that room and highlight the beautiful china.

  23. Selma Kessler says

    Susan- Love this dining room. I was enamored with the stunning epergne in the center of the table! They make the most beautiful containers for lavish floral arrangements. (Lucky Brenda!) You need one! And after you get one, will you find me one, please?? 😉 (They’re more likely to be found in your part of the country than here in the midwest.)

    Thanks for the tour!

    As as FYI, I haven’t missed a single post through my gmail account. Yay!

    • Ahh, so they were used for floral arrangements. Thanks for clearing that up, Selma! I was thinking it was for fruit or dessert. lol They are beautiful and what a centerpiece they do make! They are even pretty when empty! 🙂 So glad the post have been coming through Gmail. I guess since they are being delivered via Feedburner, and Google owns Feedburner and of course Gmail, the gmail deliveries were unaffected.

  24. Hi Susan, you were visiting my neck of the woods! I live in the Felicianas and have toured Rosedown so many times that I have lost count! It is a fabulous tour and does change from time to time. For example, I have pictures of this same room from many years ago where there was only one built in china cabinet. There were two originally but somewhere along the line one was removed but they have since built the matching one. I don’t think they have ever said the name of the china pattern while I was touring. I do remember asking if it was original to the home and was told that the pattern was but not this actual set. I think they only had a few pieces of the original set and purchased more. I loved seeing it again! Thanks for sharing!

    • Tammy, thanks so much for telling me about that. I can’t imagine why someone would remove one…looks so great with two of them there. Glad they replaced it! I love when they return a home back to the way it was originally built. Thanks for the info about the china, too. I toured so many homes in such a short time, I don’t remember now much about them. Will have to read some of the books I’ve purchased to refresh my memory. I’ll be posting a lot more pics of Rosedown and the other homes we toured…so stay tuned. 🙂

  25. Susan, I want to tell you once again how much I enjoy your wonderful blog. My favorite thing about it is all the great things you share and the fact that your blog is not a brag fest. So many are!! Thanks for staying grounded and sharing a part of your life and many wonderful ideas with us.

  26. I can tell you had a wonderful trip. It is fun to travel along with you and view the sights. Looking forward to more.

    Sorry for all your woes. You didn’t skip a beat with your blog posts. Don’t know how you do it.

    Thanks for hosting Tablescape Thursday.

    • Thanks, Bonnie! That’s why they were all so late going out each day…prefer blog posts to go up much earlier in the day but I was determined to at least still get them out, even if late in the day. 🙂 Have a great week, my friend!

  27. HOWDY SUSAN! It’s always a treat for me to pop in to see what you have been up to. Lovely Plantation place. It is of an interest to me to see how many lived and the devices they had. Blessings 2 u, d

  28. This remind me of “12 years of Slave”.

    Rosedown chinawares are absolutely adorable. I love the crispy set on the top of the sideboard. It feels so calm in this corner.

    TY for sharing your adventures Susan.

    Greetings from D´Box,

  29. Could it be Homer Laughlin? From what I could see, it looks sort of like some patterns I’ve seen.

  30. Oh, these ARE my favorites!!! Bless all the folks who put these home tours on…it must take a village! franki

  31. I almost forgot to come and link up today! Good grief.
    I did love your tour of the plantation dining room, and my favorite part was the fan. Actually, I’m amazed at the ingenuity, but you are right that we have it very good today.

  32. What a gorgeous home. I love touring those old plantation houses. xo Laura

  33. How ingenious for the shoo fly fan! I never saw one before. Must get down $
    South to tour the homes..on my bucket list.

  34. Thanks for taking us along, Susan. I’d love to visit this plantation. I smiled when I saw the fan above the table. I took a photo of a home in St. Augustine with just such a fan above the table. This reminds me to pull those photos and post that table sometime in the near future. ‘-)
    FYI ~ your new comment box already has my information where with the previous one I had to fill it in each time I left a comment.
    Enjoy your weekend.

    • Sarah, I would love to see the home in St. Augustine! So glad the comment box is an improvement for you…I always dislike having to fill in all that info again when I visit a site or blog.

  35. Thanks for hosting, Susan. I saw some very pretty tables again this week! So happy to be partying with you all.

  36. Susan, its a small world. I wanted to mention to you that my daughter worked at the Natchez Democrat last summer as an intern. Especially small after reading your post on the home that is in great need of restoration.

  37. Thanks so much for hosting! Love visiting all these beautiful tables!!

  38. What a beautiful tour that must have been!!! I have never toured a Southern plantation, but I thin kit might be interesting on many levels.

    I would’ve hated to be the person having to yank on that cord for hours to keep the people at the dining table cool!!! What a job! 🙁

    It’s wonderful that these old estates are being restored/kept up by this generation. There’s a lot of history there.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  39. Susan, thank you for the tour, the dining room is delightful. The thing which took my eye, was the portrait of the lady. She was handsome and if you look closely, you can see amusement in her eyes, which was unusual in the older portraits, as people always looked so stiff.
    Loved that shu-fly fan, with my luck, I would have been the one pulling the cord!!

  40. Marilyn Comer says

    Susan, yours and about a dozen other design blogs aren’t getting delivered to my inbox. Ive tried to resubscribe, but that isn’t the problem. Are you aware of this? I’m not getting most of the design blogs I subscribe to, and I AM MISERABLE! What is going on?

  41. I love your house tours and I am sure that we are kindred spirits! I’m always the one lagging behind the tour trying to take photos of the dining room. Thanks for hosting, as always.

  42. Such a lovely setting…I once lived in Natchez, MS, and enjoyed touring many of the homes. I know you enjoyed your tour.

  43. Is it a haviland pattern??

  44. How gorgeous! I’m drooling!!!

  45. Hey, Susan did you notice there is no silverware on the table? So the bowls are larger for washing not just your fingers but more of your hands. Depending on the plantation and the year some of the plantations had donated much of their metal to the ’cause’. Or Rosedown decided to not put the silverware on the table because of ‘sticky’ fingers on the tours.LOL

    • Yep, I bet they are worried that with the gazillions of folks coming through on tours, that someone might try to take home a souvenir. We were sad to discover in Natchez that the homes there would not allow any pics inside and it was for that very reason…a big silver piece was stolen from Stanton Hall. So I couldn’t take any pics inside when I toured it. 🙁 That makes sense about the bowl…thanks Mah!

  46. Much of the China I have seen in those type homes on tour in Mississippi and Louisiana is called Old Paris China. I have no idea what that one is but perhaps could be related.

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