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?