An exciting project is taking place the Winterbourne nursery! Sarah Moss, an artist who has had a long association with Winterbourne, is painting a frieze which will extend all the way around the beautiful room in which the Nettlefold children played over a hundred years ago.
The subject of the frieze is the story of Noah’s Ark. We have a magnificent example of a Noah’s Ark toy in our collection, which you can see on display in the Dressing Room. This Noah’s Ark belonged to the Nettlefold family in the 1870s, when John Sutton Nettlefold probably played with it as a child. The popular Biblical story of the ark is therefore the ideal subject for a frieze at Winterbourne.
Friezes were popular in children’s nurseries in the Edwardian period. They were both decorative and educational. This example, taken from The Book of the Home, published in around 1904, is also based on Noah’s Ark.
The animals in Sarah’s frieze will be carefully chosen. Some of them, a pair of pigs for example, link to the Winterbourne Noah’s Ark.
Others are based on pets who lived at Winterbourne, such as Scruff the dog and Tom-tit the pony.
However, the story of Noah’s Ark is, in some ways, a story about conservation. With that in mind, Sarah will also feature animals which are critically endangered, such as the pangolin.
Sarah has already begun work on the project and expects to complete it in early April. In the meantime, we’ll have the nursery open on select days so that you can see the work in progress and talk to Sarah. Keep an eye on our social media posts to see the frieze growing from week to week.
The nursery will re-open fully once the painting is completed, which we expect to be at Easter. The layout may change a little, but the ever-popular teddy bears’ picnic will be back!