Monday, July 18, 2011

Smiling Chamber Pots

We all know the 18th century was time that predated indoor plumbing.  That meant chamber pots, lots and lots of chamber pots.  These chamber pots can now be found housed in some of the greatest museums and private collections and range from the crude clay pottery used by the lower classes to the fanciest silver (brr!) used by the upper echelons of society.  But there are some chamber pots that stand out among the rest.

Pretend, for example, you are a guest in someone's house and nature calls.  You politely excuse yourself to make a dash for the chamber pot, shuffle your various layers and...


Well, I suppose we also all know about the legendary British sense of humor which was just as prominent in the Georgian age as it is today.  I also know I would not be comfortable utilizing this sort of chamber pot, never mind cleaning it!  It isn't the only chamber pot like this that I have come face to face with.  There is also this beautiful chamber pot that houses a miniature Napoleon Bonaparte, just in case you wanted to let the Emperor known exactly how you feel about him.

First: Chamber pot, Victoria & Albert Museum, ca. 1800-15
Second: Chamber pot, Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove, ca. 1805


  1. I read somewhere that the British sense of humour is not marked for it's quality - just it's sheer pervasiveness.

    I pity the people that had to clean napoleon's head.

  2. Even going to the toilet could be humorous!
    I agree.. poor chamber maids!

  3. This is hilarious! I admit, though, that I would definitely have trouble using one of these. The smiling one is creepy, especially on long, candle-lit nights!

  4. Yes, me being a practical sort of girl, like several others I immediately thought of the cleaning aspect. There's a reason toilets are usually smooth on the inside...

    I've seen those with painted portraits instead and I have to say they seem a lot more sanitary - although, personally, I'm not sure I relish the idea of Napoleon peeking up at my privates in any form!

  5. I sent you an email with my comment because...well, you'll see when you read it.

  6. I would like to take a ceramics course and gift these to close friends with a sense of humor! Mine would have Sir Clement Willoughby as a monkey!

  7. LOL!

    Glad you all seem to find these as amusing as I. They almost remind me of the awkward moment you have when your beloved pet catches you in the bathroom...they don't care, but you find it rather awkward!

  8. Did you know..
    The grandchildren of my favorite scandalous queen, Caroline Mathilda of Denmark, the Princes of Augustenborg became so hated in Denmark became so hated when they supported the Prussians in the War of 1864 that they're faces were put in the bottom of chamberpots!

  9. I did not! What a fabulous bit of trivia