In Defence of Aesthetics over Practicality

Even though I have some really nice pieces in my collection, I wouldn’t necessarily call myself an antique collector in the traditional sense of the word. That somehow always makes me think of very conservative people who won’t let you near their collectibles, and I don’t think that having that attitude allows them to enjoy owning their antiques, because they’re constantly worried that somehow they’ll be damaged if anyone touches them. I like to think of myself as a free-spirit collector. I value my antiques, of course, but I don’t want to feel like they possess me, instead of the other way around.

I’ve had many debates over why impractical antiques are just as valuable as those that are still usable, like a chair, or a vase, or even a brooch. I actually own an antique pocket watch that cannot be repaired, but it’s gorgeous, and I’ve repurposed it as a medallion. There are many antique-looking pocket watches nowadays that are much more practical, ta to Patrick at Timepiece Quarterly, but if you’re like me and get giddy about antiques regardless of their useability, then you’ll understand what I’m trying to say.

Aesthetics is very important to me. It’s not just about practicality with antiques. These are objects that carry a unique story from centuries ago. It doesn’t matter if you find the most expensive, well-preserved antique Turkish Oushak carpet – which is totally usable, it’s a rug! – but if you don’t think it’s that pretty, or don’t like the design, or it just doesn’t match your space, you won’t get any joy from it.

Similarly, you can buy the most impractical Edwardian teacup set, or a pair of French Art Nouveau wall sconces which can never be restored to proper lights, and if you love it, or can find a different way to use it, you’ll be happy, and that’s the most important thing. What I’m saying is – only buy things that make you feel good. That’s how you’ll get your money’s worth.

There’s nothing wrong with aesthetics if it makes you happy. Antiquing is definitely not for everyone, especially not for those whose attitude is ‘practicality first!’. Sure, you can get some use out of some antiques, but even if they’re there in your space just for the purpose of decoration, it’s not wrong and it’s definitely not a big deal!

You do you, and enjoy it! Byeee.