Consulting the Seven Games, we discover that Alfonso X used the same room for all royal uses: council, banquets, and the most intimate “comforts”… The Book of the Chamber explains that the bathroom was a room located alongside the room where food, lavatory services, clothes and prayer books were stored and…a chair or square box that contained the chamber pot…
In the chronicles of the trip of Charles V, the luxurious bathrooms of the Najera Castle were described as “covered in yarn and silk upholstery”.
Elizabeth I of England used for her necessities a type of box that locked with a key, so no one else could use it besides the queen. It was lined with crimson fabric, had an overstuffed velvet seat, and was adorned with lace and gold studs.
In the 17th and 18th century, similar boxes were lined with damask (red, crimson or blue), velvet or carpeting; or even bound, like a masterpiece, with Levante leathergoods. But Catherine de’ Medici, on the death of her husband Henry II, had to dress his relief chair in mourning black. Perhaps it was a bad premonition, because his successor Henry III was assassinated as he sat on his commode, with a cover over his shoulders.
Louis XIV had a “chaise d’affaires”, decorated with pearl and Chinese bronzes. The seat was lined with green velvet. Later bold creations were made, such as the commode concealed in the interior of a large box depicting four large books. The title of the thick volumes is obvious: “Journey to the Netherlands”.
When John Ruskin and Walter Pater revolutionized the students of Oxford with their beauty doctrines, the comforts of the world were also influenced by the sumptuous idea of “art for art”. In the catalogs of the last World Expositions of the 19th century we have found some spectacular models: Magnolia Blue, flowered like a Pre-Raphaelite painting, Acanthus leaf, inspired by classicism of the Composite order; Imperial, which allows to do the necessities like a winning marshal, in a cup held by a lion. And the most ceremonious, baptized with the name of Epic, seems like a grand piano.