Sunday, July 9, 2017

Blue Bed Chamber


This William Hogarth drawing shows men meeting in a home of
a common size for most 18th-Century people. If one was lucky
enough to have a second floor, that was typically used to separate
out a space for sleeping, but the space was still used by a whole
family. Even in wealthy households like the Schuylers', it was not
common to designate rooms or beds to particular family members.
This room interpreted as a bedchamber for the Schuylers’ three sons, John Bradstreet, Philip Jeremiah, and Rensselaer. [Read about eldest son, John Bradstreet Schuyler's flamboyant style.] However, within the 18th-Century, there was very little privacy, even in wealthy households where space was not an issue. It was not uncommon for the boys to lose their bed (singular, as it was common for young people to share a single bed with 2-4 people), or even give up their room to guests. Mattresses on the floor represent one possible location for the boys as guests take over.

The two “travelling beds” or "field beds" on display are of the style popular with wealthy travelers and high-ranking military officers, who would bring such beds and mattresses with them on long trips and out onto the campaign trail. The rope net under the mattress made it possible to disassemble the bed, which could then collapse and fit into a wagon. In the home, the labor of setting up and breaking down the beds, aided by the T-shaped bed key, visible on the left-hand mattress, fell to the enslaved servants of the family who would also be responsible for carrying luggage.

Signs can be found in this room of the boys' play. See if you can find the 18th-Century toys, including a cup & ball or "bilbo catch", Jacob's ladder, and hoop & stick. As the boys grew up, play would have turned into leisure activities only available to the wealthy, like sport hunting, represented by the hunting boots and the fowling rifle in the northeast corner. You may have noticed fire buckets, like the one near to the stanchions in this room throughout the house. Read about them here.

As You Exit:

You will pass through the Salon

The door to your left along this wall is the Yellow Chamber

Diagonal from this room is the Green Chamber

Right will bring you downstairs to the Back Hall

Other Rooms:

Library (Downstairs)

Dining Chamber (Downstairs)

Central Hall (Downstairs)

Formal Parlor (Downstairs)

Family Parlor (Downstairs)

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