← Cabinet of Wonder
Crucifixes and embossed memorial pictures line the lime-washed walls of a bathroom. Photo by James Mortimer.
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All rooms are remarkable, but I find this one to be disturbing. I’m not particularly religious, but images of Christ on the cross (or the Buddha for that matter) do not belong in a bathroom. Religious beliefs aside, they are “icons” that have positive meaning for millions, icons connected to much that is good and beautiful in history, and are deserving of respect. Would you put a bathtub and toilet into the middle of a cathedral? Would you bring an honored house guest into your bathroom and have them sit there while you relieved yourself?
Thank you, Nicholas, for your comment.
Our private domains are our only place to truly express ourselves. Certainly, we can thank our neighborhood civic association for saving us from eyesores, but anything beyond that truly is an invasion of our right to express ourselves in our own environment(s). The owners of Malplaquet House are collectors of antiquities, so one would assume lovers of history. I don’t know them personally so to suggest, for example, that they hung crucifixes in their bathroom with deference to ritual purification through bathing, practiced my many religions, is as equally speculative as to ask “Would you bring an honored house guest into your bathroom and have them sit there while you relieved yourself?” For one, who does this? Well, I’m sure it takes all kinds. Nowhere in the photo is their evidence of a toilet, and nowhere in my article – or the one written by The World of Interiors – is there mention of one. My home in Europe had a separate water closet off the hall. If I may speculate, this bathing room, with its fireplace, had likely been a bedroom at one time. My own spacious bathroom had been a bedroom at one time and has a claw-footed tub. I think it would be interesting to serve a candlelilt-only dinner in this room, tub filled with floating flowers and candles. Miles Redd is famous for his glamorous dinner parties in his mirror-lined bathroom. Ah, but a crucifix in the bathroom? Sacrilege? Quite simply it’s not a public space and, furthermore, it’s a highly personal space and, that, for me, makes all the difference. These crucifixes offer meaning and pleasure to the owners that may differ from your own. Your neighbor’s may not share the same aesthetics, socio-politico-economic or religious views as you, but it is their prerogative – their right – to express their ideas, dreams and aspirations in their private spaces as they wish.