Heaven Scent…………

Pastille Burner H a3237Accounts of Victorian domestic bliss rarely make mention of the problems surrounding the provision both of an adequate water supply and of effective sanitary facilities, the miasmic theory of disease, which held that infection was carried by “bad air”, predominating throughout the 19th Century. Even when the connection between cholera and contaminated water had been patently demonstrated, and despite an increasing awareness of the importance of public health from the 1840’s onwards, “bad air” was a concept that the Victorians were reluctant to part with. The resultant stench that daily pervaded Britain’s rapidly expanding cities, and to a somewhat lesser degree their rural cousins called therefore for ingenious counter-measures ~

 

Pastille Burner H 3265As always, the poor had to make do as best they could, accepting their unwholesome lot without complaint. Respectable families meanwhile sought to sweeten the air in their homes by the use of incense burning cassolettes known as “pastille burners” such as those illustrated here, within which were burned small scented cachous. A wide variety of these decorative objects were produced throughout the Victorian era, typically in pottery and porcelain, and these have now become popular with today’s Collectors, who can of course afford to disregard their original noxious purpose ~