History Hoydens


Historical Romance Writers Dishing the Dirt on Research

29 April 2014

Chamber Pots and Bidets

Two Nerdy History Girls has a great post about chamber pots (did you know they're shaped like a figure eight when they're meant for use by women?). I thought I'd add to their post with a couple of images of women using them. Yes, these are period images. No, I have no idea WHY someone would choose to illustrate this. This is a painting by a favorite artist of mine. Boucher often painted intimate scenes, but this one is just about as intimate as you can get, and you can clearly see just how the chamber pot was used, and how difficult it must have been to keep your skirts clear of it (and why drawers would have been a problem!).

François Boucher, La Toilette intime, 1760

There's another image from a few decades later that shows a woman washing herself in an earlier bidet. Seems like a much more humane way to have set up a chamber pot for use, doesn't it?

Louis-Léopold Boilly,
La Toilette intime ou la Rose effeuillee,1790


Blogger Erin Satie said...

Probably meant to be titillating.

I don't know if you've read that "My Secret Life" memoir, but the guy is a Peeping Tom (amongst other things) & REALLY turned on by watching women use chamber pots.

I take Freud with a grain of salt but I do think it makes sense that people would attach sexually to objects that are associated with their first real glimpses of nudity, genitalia. Which could easily be a chamber pot.

12:42 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

My Italian grandmother had a toilet and a bidet. It fascinated me as a kid. I did not really know how it worked and as a little kid I tried to figure it out resulting in a wet bathroom. My Nana was not happy outwardly but I wonder....

5:49 AM  
Blogger Isobel Carr said...

@Erin, I don't even know what that is. Is it worth tracking down?

@Jennifer: I would LOVE to have a bidet. My bathroom is too small to install a free standing one, and I've yet to track down a toilet add-on that I like (cold water is a NO!).

9:01 AM  

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