The Collection

The objects in this collection were chosen because they combine:

  • UTILITY They are all functional tools. They all do a job.
  • MYSTERY That job was, initially, mysterious.
  • INDIFFERENCE It was never to please us, as decorative objects try to do.
  • ELEGANCE Their shapes appeal to the collector's eye.
  • RESONANCE Often this is because they provoke memories of faces, figures or works of art.
  • ANONYMITY In contrast to most works of art, however, their makers are unknown.

Visitors to this site should be warned that finding beauty in anonymous tools that were never intended to be beautiful may undermine their faith in the canonical masterpieces of Modernism which they are accustomed to worship in museums and galleries. Although these objects have much to teach us about design and art they are not the products of known artists or designers. Their work is disqualified because it is never anonymous and always intentional and because it aims either to delight and entrance us or to shock and astonish. The appeal of these objects is that they couldn't care less.

To give visitors a hint as to what these objects are and to suggest to potential exhibitors how they might be organised for display they have been arranged in two different ways, by Function and Context. And, because many were initially collected for their suggestive resemblance to faces, figures etc. some, but not all, are in addition arranged under Metaphorical headings.

Visitors to this site are encouraged to look first, then to guess and then, if they must, to check their guesses against the captions. Because these are merely the collector's best guess, comments and corrections are welcome.