Any of our Pageant Players’ dramas or farces set in a room called for what our producer called a box set, which was constructed of 12 x 4ft flats, one or two with doors in them. There were often French windows too. I feel as if I’ve been designing a theatre set for this introductory scene to Act 2 of my Waterton comic.
After thinking about the spaces on the upper floor of Walton Hall, I’ve focussed on one corner into which I can fit all the points mentioned in Norman Moore’s description of Charles Waterton’s work-room. I was going to omit the fireplace but as an old map of Guiana hung above the mantlepiece, it has to be included.
In this scene, Waterton is lying awake with a tear welling up in his eye. I’ll have to leave that detail to the reader’s imagination because I want to include the whole of his recumbent figure, lying there on the bare boards like an Egyptian mummy. The lighting and the bare boards serve to tell the story of his loneliness after his bereavement.
Designing a Victorian room that reflects eccentric interests and a colourful adventures of its occupant makes me think of the various room sets that I’ve seen for Sherlock Holmes’ consulting rooms at 221b Baker Street.