Replica of a marble commode used in the Vatican, Europe, 1601-1900
This is a copy of a commode used in the Vatican, the residence of the Pope, who is the leader of the Catholic Church. Underneath the commode, a chamber pot would have been placed and emptied after use. The item was bought from a private collection in 1932 by one of Henry Wellcome’s collecting agents, Captain Peter Johnston-Saint.
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Glossary: chamber pot
Bowl-shaped container with a handle, used as a urinal at night. Chamber pots remained in common use until the 1900s when inside water closets replaced them. They are still used in countries where indoor plumbing is rare.
Glossary: cabinet chair
A piece of furniture that conceals a chamber pot. Used as a toilet.