Cabinets of Curiosities, Patrick Mauriès

Hands up who collects things? Me too. Clothes (obv.), disco records, foreign/indie films on DVD, flick knives, old tins, religious statues, swing tags, luxury socks, Mai 68 posters and cool books are just some of the things that regularly bring out the hunter gatherer/blatant show-off in me. One of the books I’ve just added to my burgeoning collection is ‘Cabinets of Curiosities’ by Patrick Mauriès. This large and lavish book gives an insight into the world of obsessive collectors from over the last few centuries and their strange and unique curios, detailed via a series of illustrations and some photographs. Mauriès suggests that this particular brand of collecting weird stuff stems from a slightly earlier time when rare religious relics were collected by Monks and then displayed in medieval churches. In a similar way to how I set out all my Clarks Desert Treks when I have the house to myself. Suitably impressed by these bits and bobs Royalty and noblemen wanted to get in on this exciting collecting scene and so upped the game by assembling all manner of wild and freaky finds from the four corners of the globe. With every piece on show intended to blow the minds of any visitors who’d maybe only popped round for a quiet cup of mead only to be greeted by a smiling crocodile hanging from the ceiling. Covering late medieval times right up to the early twentieth century, the artefacts all share a similar kind of Michelin starred one-upmanship that puts my Ricard ash-tray collection somewhat into perspective. But who knows, in a couple of hundred years our OG Indoor Supers, Clockwork Orange first editions and vintage Snoopy phones could well be gracing the pages of a similar book…

Published by Thames & Hudson, £29.95.

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