Saturday, 2 July 2016

“Cabinet of Rain” – Shower

A shower, called a “Cabinet of Rain” in archival documents, was installed in 1842 in the rooms of Nicholas I in the Alexander Palace. Two rain baths were made in 1845 for his sons, Nikolai and Mikhail, on the second floor. [RSHA F. 487]

A “cabinet of rain” had been installed in the dressing room of Nicholas I on the 3rd floor of the Winter Palace. Although Alexander III used the dressing room until 1894, no images have yet been discovered.
There is though a rare c1920 photo of his bath on the basement mezzanine located under his study on the 1st floor.

We imagine palace life with servants as perfection. Reality though was the same as we experience ourselves today.  Plumbing breakdowns were frequent with water cut off until repaired: November 1843 – repairing the plumbing; 1846 – repaired the bath; 1847 – twice repaired the shower. Even the bath thermometer required repair in September 1842. [OR RNB F.650]
A couple of euphemisms to be aware of:

“Privileged” - toilet
“Secret of the Body” – In the spring of 1838 two statues were installed in the colonnade of the Alexander Palace. Nicholas I closely monitored the project. In December 1836, the Minister of the Court instructed the artists to sculpt a towel covering the “secret of the body”.

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