November 27, 2017

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."

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The quote is from William Morris, or "Willy Morris," as he's identified on the sticker on the refrigerator that we saw on the street we call Willy Street.

When looking for useful and beautiful things on line, please do that useful, beautiful thing of using The Althouse Amazon Portal.

21 comments:

Darrell said...

That's why I'll have no Lefties in my house.

tcrosse said...

Meet me at the Crystal Corner.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Why can't you have useful things that are also beautiful? It isn't either/or.

I think that art deco styled refrigerator is pretty nice to look at; perhaps in a different color than battleship grey though. Functional and cool to look at.

Beautiful things that are not functional are also useful in that they serve the purpose of being pleasing to the eye and to the soul. Happiness is a useful emotion.

MadisonMan said...

That store is a great place to browse. Is it Hatch? Or next door? Great things to look at, but really, at my age, it's time to pare down, not bulk up.

buwaya said...

William Morris is also one of the pioneers of modern fantasy.
An influence on many, including Tolkien.

Not well known for that side of his career, anymore, nor much read today. A pity. If you have an ear for that sort of thing, check him out. Everything is free online.

"The Well at the Worlds End" is generally considered his most influential in this line, check it out. You may dislike his choice of language, to start it seems like a rather forced antiquarianism, but it flows better in time.

Also one of the few that wrote an actual socialist utopia. Not a lot of those, oddly.

buwaya said...

W. Morris was a lefty.
A socialist activist in his day.

Curious George said...

Appliance used to be works of art. Hell, even machinery was.

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/573716440001627859/?lp=true

Ann Althouse said...

"Why can't you have useful things that are also beautiful? It isn't either/or."

The quote does not say everything in your house should be either useful or beautiful but not both.

I don't know why you'd read it that way other than ascribing a weirdly strong meaning to "or."

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful" gives you 2 routes by which an item gets access to your house. Once in, it's in. You don't kick it out because if could also have come in by the other route.

But I do think there are some utilitarian things that you should throw out even if they are beautiful if they don't work anymore. We have a beautiful toaster, but if it broke, I'd throw it out.

That said, the old refrigerators in that store are not working as refrigerators. They are repurposed as cabinets.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Althouse: I don't know why you'd read it that way other than ascribing a weirdly strong meaning to "or."

Yes, emphasis on the OR.

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful"

I looked at it as if these are two sentences/ideas combined thusly:

Have nothing in your house: 1. that you do not know to be useful.
Have nothing in your house:.......2. or believe to be beautiful.

It would have made more sense (to me) if it were phrased this way:

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or do not believe to be beautiful"

"That said, the old refrigerators in that store are not working as refrigerators. They are repurposed as cabinets."

Cool, beautiful and still useful.

Curious George said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mockturtle said...

I agree with the premise and have tried to furnish my house [and my RV] accordingly. Function always trumps form and having both is a plus but original works of art are not really functional but do provide beauty, almost as essential to comfort and enjoyment of one's domicile.

Curious George said...

Curious George said...
Even motor controls were art
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-56dCmYLWI00/Tuwkw76IbdI/AAAAAAAACUc/gAdnfBhDbJ8/s1600/303_6531.JPG

Here's one of my table saws. Tell me that ain't art!

Bad Lieutenant said...

Here's one of my table saws. Tell me that ain't art!


I want to pet it, is that the same thing?

campy said...

If I lived by that motto I'd be homeless.

traditionalguy said...

Really good discipline is required for men to through out old underwear with no elastic left and holes in them.But that's why God gave us wives.

mockturtle said...

Tradguy writes: Really good discipline is required for men to through out old underwear with no elastic left and holes in them.But that's why God gave us wives.

My late husband never wanted to throw anything away. And he didn't. Underwear was the one item I took the liberty of discarding and replacing.

Ralph L said...

It's nice that the fridges are hinged symmetrically, but what's up with the serrated toilet seat?

Quaestor said...

Nothing shown in the photo is useless except that studded torus (which may be useful for something I have no knowledge of) except that faded picture of an F-15 which is beautiful in that the subject of the picture is both exceedingly beautiful and supremely useful.

mockturtle said...

Quaestor, the F-35 is even more beautiful. It's utility remains to be seen, I suppose.

Unknown said...

Most every antique and collectible I have in my house is not only beautiful (to me) but also useful.

My 1920/30’s Porcelier Drip O Lator coffee pot has come in handy when my coffee pot decided to stop working one morning. Makes surprisingly good coffee.

buwaya said...

My old cameras are beautiful but obsolete. I have tons. I can't bear to get rid of them.

Not mine, but mine is one of these -

Beautiful but useless