Tuesday, May 21, 2013

It doesn't look like a commode

Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Loretta reports:

More from the 1809 Hedge House in Plymouth, MA.

I spent a lot of time early in my career trying to get straight the matter of Where They Went.  By the early 1800s, Some houses did boast lavatories, but even in many great homes, chamber pots and furniture like this prevailed.
This one is particularly elegant, and shows well against its dramatic (and historically correct, yes) wallpaper. Our guide very kindly opened it for us.

The bedroom where it's located holds many other beautiful objects, including a pristine shaving stand, a cradle, and the elegant Knapp Bedstead.

The bed hangings are still in the collection, but too fragile for display  I was just as happy without them, because one can clearly see the structure of the bed. The room's darkness helps us understand why the wall paper used such bold, vivid designs.


Sarah said...

And some commodes didn't even have a hole pierced to make a seat, just a cupboard in which to keep the Utensil and the top as a dressing table. this is definitely a more superior kind!

Regency Romance Author, Donna Hatch said...

I hope they changed those commodes often because I wouldn't want in my bedroom when it's been used.

But yes, it is very pretty and subtle.

Mary Jean Adams said...

For some reason, 18th and 19th century toilets fascinate me. I found an image of one that was designed like a library chair, showing that reading on the toilet is probably not new. And maybe more disturbing that the primitive state of these commodes if the idea that private functions weren't always so private!


Isobel Carr said...

My recent foray to the monthly antique flea market turned up a hidden commode. It looked like a set of portable library steps, but the second step pulled out and up to reveal a chamber pot! My best friend was obsessed all day. I’m still surprised she didn’t go back and buy it.

Diana said...

I am writing my dissertation on hygiene and sanitation in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century New England (from an archaeological perspective) so I too find it an absorbing topic. I have been looking as well at how women managed away from home- not an easy thing!

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