item one in the cabinet of curiosities
In the original version of Hans Christian Andersen's story, 'The Princess on the Pea' (also titled 'The Princess and the Pea), the single pea that proves the princess is real earns a place in the royal cabinet of curiosities: 'And the pea was placed in the Royal Curiosity Cabinet, where it can still be seen today, as long as no one has taken it.'
In most reprints of the story, the cabinet of curiosities gets dropped from the end in favour of the more conventional ending, 'and so the prince and princess lived happily ever after.' For my adaptation of the story for the exhibition I am sticking to the original ending and telling the tale from the perspective of the little green pea in its home in the ornate cabinet in the Palace Museum.
The pea will introduce us to the other articles in the cabinet, which are all items found in tales by Hans Christian Andersen: the paper castle from 'The Steadfast Tin Soldier,' the tinder box from the story of the same name, the matchbox from the story 'The Little Match Girl,' a jar of sea foam containing the soul of the little mermaid, and the mechanical nightingale (above), a present given to the Chinese Emperor in the story 'The Nightingale', which temporarily supplants the real nightingale in the affections of the Emperor and his court.
Paper quilling seemed like the best way to create a sense of the intricate wind-up components of the artificial nightingale and I've used looser loops of yellow card to make a golden cage.