The Nursery

This was to be the room for the heir of the castle. I wanted to keep it simple, but show the play allowed to the upper class at the time. Kids back in the day didn’t get a whole lot of play. Even the son of the king would be a page by seven, but there was some playing. Rich children had a few toys. I made a top and some toy knights. They are rather large, more action figure sized rather than hold in your hand. That would have been more than I could do, but I know this size was also accurate. There’s a wooden toy sword that was carved out of balsa for the young lord to learn the very important art of combat. I wanted him to be a scholar as well, so I gave him a small desk for learning from a tutor. It is made in the form of fly away furniture, which could be pulled apart and taken to the new home. It was made of your basic bass wood. I wanted candles on it that was kind of nightmarish because of making the wiring go through the other side of the desk, down the side and through the floor. I took candle sockets and encased them with the polymer clay and tried to make it look like they were dripping. On top of the desk are wax tablets, the medieval form of erasing. Paper was too much of a luxury to waste on a child, so they would write in a wax tablet and erase it and use it over and over. These were basically beeswax on balsa wood.

I wanted to include a huge luxury for the time. I wanted a bathtub. These were almost unheard of. Most people got their bath at birth, death and at some important event. Yes, they washed, but not like we do. Still, there were those who valued it. So, I took some wood and decided to fill it with epoxy used for water in railroad miniatures. I ran into a couple of problems. First, the tub really had to be liquid tight as I didn’t want that toxic stuff everywhere. Second, I had to mix a lot of it and most railroad folks use it sparingly and thinly. Third, oh good Lord, the fumes. This stuff is nasty. Stings your eyes, hurts your throat and generally makes you stoned. I eventually left for a few hours as the house smelled something awful (and I am not entirely stupid – the reason I did it inside is that it was winter, the stuff has a temperature range it needed and I have the patience of a four year old.) (Later, the epoxy had yellowed and cracked, and the tub looked wrong, so I would re-do this as well.)

The furniture would be fairly basic in spite of this being an important room. I wanted a wooden storage case, which was just wood and doll house wood pieces. I made a miniature sized bed with a wooden canopy to keep the prince warm. I used some brocade fabric over a soft mattress made of muslin covered quilt stuffing. There’s a basinet made with little strips of wood and larger flat ones. It rocks back and forth. Back then, it was common for servants to sleep at the foot of the bed of rich folks so they could always be at their beck and call. If you were a nice guy, you provided rush stuffed pallets that would be rolled up and thrown in the corner during the day. There are a few of these in this room. The lighting fixture was rather simple.