Further evidence that the 18th century was batsh** insane.

For sale from Bloomsbury Auctions:

383. Travelling Commode in form of Large Book. Wooden folio book titled on spine: Historia Universalis. [France]: 18th Century, Oak and calf leather, Folio (Closed: 500 mm high x 90 long (binding) x 380 mm deep. Full calf covers elaborately blind-stamped in geometric design over oak boards, spine with lettering label in red morocco paneled in gilt, 6 raised bands. The folio opens to reveal two oaken boards that can be folded out to form a closed square and one board lifted upward to become the seat, the hole in the middle ready to hold a chamber pot. The box rests on four small wooden pegs, the binding protected by a small brass plate at the foot. Condition: clasps possibly renewed in 19th century, seat cracked, old restorations, minor losses to calf.

An unusual example of the use of the book form to disguise travelling personal furniture, probably for use on the military field. Other examples include a piece of furniture at the Chateau de Lamothe-Fenelon in the Dordogne, consists of a pile of folios on short legs with a lid to open, but is not portable. Other examples listed in Komrij, Kaka fonie, p, 286, and plate V.

est. $1500 – $2500

“Probably for use on the military field”???

5 thoughts on “Further evidence that the 18th century was batsh** insane.

  1. I can’t tell you how much I covet that. Perhaps I am batsh** insane, too. Unfortunately, I just can’t justify what they’re estimating, though I wonder what it will actually go for.

  2. Oh yeah, I can so see an army man rushing in battle to kill someone and having to take his portapotty off his back. Or would there be a man like a drummer boy whose job it was to carry all the porta potties. Or, did they have a little portapotty camp where all the men left their portapotties and after a long day of fighting….

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