Why Do We Collect?

A small sample of my china habit, Royal Crown Derby 'blue Mikado'.

A small sample of my china habit, Royal Crown Derby ‘blue Mikado’.

I’m always fascinated by what each of us chooses to collect! Why do we collect at all? What certain something gives us such a thrill that we have the need or compulsion  to amass a group of something.

Some choose jewellery, others art or ceramics.  Another person chooses coloured bottles but whatever you start collecting there is an underlying  need to collect.

I’ve always said that once I get two of something then I guess I’m collecting that now. Maybe that is how one starts a collection. By the simple thought ” well I now have two. How many more can I find?” And that then leads to the thrill of the quest. And that eureka moment when you find the next piece! And then you get this wonderful warm feeling when you bring it home- sometimes to wash it or dust it. Then you probably do what I do and try it next to the others to compare them- even when it’s the same item!

A view of the Dining room feature wall, with blue and white market finds.

A view of the Dining room feature wall, with blue and white market finds.

Having talked to other collectors I find we all share the same feeling of satisfaction and the thrill of the find.

But where do you stop? It’s not easy to just say that’s it. I’ve said for years I’m not buying anything else as frankly some collections take up alot more room than others! But then I wander to a market or home consignment  store and see one more wonderful piece of sparkling crystal. Or just one more piece of blue willow, after all I am stopping. Or I go out to an open air market in the country with friends, and I tell them I am only going for moral support. I have no intention  of buying anything- and come home with a gilt mirror and a silver gallery tray and 3 pieces of lettuce and lobster carlton ware and I’ve gone and done it again!

Part of my Carlton Ware 'Lettuce and Lobster' luncheon set.

Part of my Carlton Ware ‘Lettuce and Lobster’ luncheon set.

And then you find a place for the mirror by moving things around on a wall. You wash the lettuce and lobster wear and then decide to try it with your other 6 pieces. It’s now 9 pieces so you know you need 1 more piece to make it an even number and the collecting cycle goes on again!

I wonder if the great Art collectors of past century’s felt just like this only on a grander scale? Kings and Empresses built huge art collections of great masters. Most of the great art collections of the world came into being because of this collecting bug. So I actually rationalize that what I am doing is normal.

What I think is strange is those people who claim they dont collect. And then you open their closets and there are dozens of shoes or 100s of cookbooks. Years ago I dated someone very briefly who lived very minimally and said he didnt collect. And then I found out he had a couple of dozen watches! But no he didnt collect.

I think we all have a collection of something-some of us just choose to celebrate it and take it a bit further! And now I’m going to go make a cup of tea and decide which tea cup to use- after all there are only about 78 to choose from…