Morning Ablution

The first time I saw a sink in a bedroom I was shocked (not something you see in Italy!) It is of course a vestiges of when, before running water came into existence, every respectable bedroom had a washstand. Most were simple tables with a ceramic jug and basin, but William Burges clearly wanted to offer his guests more. 

The washstand he designed and had made in London (in 1880) was inspired by Dante’s  Vita Nova. The decorations suggest a garden full of life, but really, it is the clever mechanisms and shrewdnesses that captured all my attention. The basin turns to empty itself in a hidden bucket and water is held in a a small cistern in the higher cupboard. Running water is one of the granted luxuries of life, but for a washstand as astonishing as this, I could renounce it… Well perhaps for a whole week! 

On show in the permanent collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.