Monday, September 30, 2013

Frederick Douglass's Chamber Pot

I needed a break from words! So I just now did a quick watercolor of this pretty lilac and gold chamber pot from the 1880s. Of course it wasn't crooked like my painting--doesn't it look like a half-fallen birthday cake?

__________This chamber pot is part of a matching toiletry set in the Frederick Douglass National Historical Site in Washington, D.C.
Like most American houses before the 1920s, the Douglass House did not have an indoor toilet. They would have used chamber pots at night or in bad weather and an outhouse otherwise.

I like the idea that Mr. Douglass had some prettiness in his life, who otherwise experienced so much ugliness.
For instance, he wrote in his autobiography of his enslaved mother who was a field hand hired-out all day:
"I do not recollect ever seeing my mother by the light of day. ... She would lie down with me, and get me to sleep, but long before I waked she was gone."
I would like to paint highlights from my History of Sanitation book. Maybe I will when I'm done writing it---4 days to go! (After that comes the editing, of course, but I'll get a break in between.)


bink said...

This should go in your book! "Artist's rendition of Fredrick Douglas' chamber pot."

Zhoen said...

Have you read Gulp? The Mary Roach book?

Fresca said...

BINK: Yes!

ZHOEN: No. (Should I?)