[Sca-cooks] Tudor Wax Fountain

Elise Fleming alysk at ix.netcom.com
Tue Sep 4 09:13:40 PDT 2007

Stefan asked:
> But what is this wax fountain for? Is it just for looks? If so, why 
>use wax and not water or another liquid? I assume that the liquid 
>flowing through the fountain is wax and not that this means that the 
>fountain is made of wax. And, particularly in period, how would they 
>keep the wax from solidifying in the fountain? Not too difficult to 
>do today with electric heating elements, but then...

This is an experiment in cooking "archeology" which is what they try to do
at Hampton Court.  The wax fountain is a small scale model of the huge one
in the painting of the Field of the Cloth of Gold.  (Don't have a URL for
the painting but I'm sure someone does!)  The fountain is made of wax.  The
liquid is water and might end up being wine when the fountain is finished
and all the "bugs" worked out.  The original fountain flowed with wine.  It
will probably be used as a centerpiece for the Christmas feast at Hampton
Court, just as last year's "St. George and the Dragon", made of wax, was
used.  Photos of that should be on their flikr site.

As far as I can tell, this is a challenge that the "confectioners" have
made for themselves - to see if they can construct a wax table model which
will work in a similar fashion to the real fountain used at the Field of
the Cloth of Gold.  The molds for the fountain are hand-made of clay and
sometimes the wax pieces are melted down, a new clay form is made, and a
new piece is poured of wax.  Does this help explain matters?

Alys Katharine

Elise Fleming
alysk at ix.netcom.com

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