Monday, February 23, 2015

Old Junk or Treasure?



Of late I’ve become a bit of an auction “junkie”, haunting our local (very small) auction house whenever they have a sale on.  My family have been fairly tolerant so far of my collecting mania, even putting up with my recent obsession with Foo dogs which now seem to inhabit most rooms in our house.  And they haven’t complained too much about all the other bits and pieces I’ve brought home.  Until yesterday ...

That’s when I arrived home with a chamber pot.

A new flower pot? ...
There were outraged shrieks of “eeuuw!” and “what did you want to buy that for?” and “someone might have used it!”  Well, yes, I expect they did – that is after all the purpose of a chamber pot!  A hundred years ago, I’m sure no one would have reacted that way to anyone buying a potty – it was a necessary item in every home.  I mean, who in their right mind would rather traipse outdoors to a freezing cold privy on a dark winter night instead of using one?

My family’s reaction made me think though about how we view items that were commonplace in the past, but are now used for quite a different purpose – decoration.  Of course I had no intention of placing my chamber pot under the bed, I’d much rather use it as a pot plant container or just as a decorative item on display.  And whatever it was originally for, it’s a beautiful object in itself (besides, it was going cheap at the auction so how could I resist?)

... or a more tradtional use?
As a lover of all things antique, I have lots of these formerly useful things now just sitting around for me to look at – copper bed warmers, kettles and baking tins, an old soda fountain, tins, jars and bottles, an old brazier, washbasins and jugs ...  It gives me pleasure to look at them, so does it matter that their use has changed?  I don’t think so.

Isn’t it great that although these items are now technically obsolete, they fulfil a different function for us?  And it’s horses for courses, as they say – what one person thinks of as junk is a treasure to someone else.  What old items would you love to own?

Me – I have a list so next time there’s an auction, who’s to say what I’ll buy next?

Christina x
http://christinacourtenay.com/ 

8 comments:

Jo Beverley said...

What fun,Christina. I think it's a shame when old stuff is tossed away because it all has a story to tell, but when it's quite pretty as well, it's great that it has a place in the modern world.

Christina said...

Thanks Jo, I'm glad you agree! And you're so right - all these objects have a story to tell.

Nicola Cornick said...

Great post, Christina! We have a warming pan and a stone water bottle that we picked up to decorate our first cottage. These days when I look at them I feel very grateful for the fact that I have central heating!

El;izabeth Hawksley said...

I love your decorative chamber pot, Christina. I have one myself - also blue and while - which I found in the attic of my childhood home. It now lives in my sitting room with a parlour palm in it. I must admit that I turn the handle towards the wall so as not to offend any delicate souls who might find it objectionable.

I also have a warming pan - again rescued from the attic - and I agree with Nicola that I can only be thankful for modern plumbing and heating!

Christina said...

Oh yes, Nicola, it must have been so hard to keep warm without central heating - damp sheets, frozen water in your wash bowl ... brrrr! :-) I love warming pans, they're very attractive.

Christina said...

Elizabeth - I'm glad it's not just me! They do make very nice plant containers I must say :-)

Anne Stenhouse said...

You have some lovely pieces, Christina. I, too, have a stone hot water bottle and am also grateful for central heating. I remember as a child when hot water was such a luxury. In one house, it was heated by a boiler behind the fire! anne stenhouse

Christina Courtenay said...

I've never come across a stone hot water bottle - must put that on my wish list! Thanks Anne!