Smart & Stylish: Historically Humorous Home Goods

While it's undeniably important to take pleasure in the beautiful and the sentimental, I also love indulging from time to time in homewares that make me laugh. Injecting a space with quirkiness, mirth, and whimsy is an easy way to make it feel inviting and carefree, and what better way to poke fun than with a dose of historical wit?

1. If you need a place to leave your crown jewels, these busts of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI (who actually looks rather like William Tell, truth be told), provide a glamorous solution. Decked out in her pouf à la Belle Poule, the Queen of the Petit Trianon looks especially fabulous. Forbidden Fruit Collection jewelry holder by imm Living via Burke Decor.

2. A beautiful leather-bound book from 1947 explaining the humor of the Vikings. (As if Old Norse weren't funny enough on its own.) From Rosa's Creations on Etsy.

3. This historicism print by Genis Carreras is not so much humorous as decidedly smart, graphic, and informative. If historicism isn't your favorite philosophical movement, there's a whole series of these beautiful prints.

4. Okay, hear me out. Yes, this black-and-white Freud pillow (which plays "Memories"), is downright kitschy. But as an accent pillow nestled into some classic black and white bedding, it could add the perfect humorous touch without drawing too much attention to itself. Indulge your id and buy it today. Available from Museum Store Company.

5. Kate Beaton's book Hark! a Vagrant, which features some of my favorites from her history-themed web comics, would make a delightful coffee table book, especially if you need a fix of dude-watchin' with the Brontës.

6. These Tudors look nothing like Jonathan Rhys Meyers and his compatriots, but the squooshy, lopsided faces featured on these mugs are probably better for those interested in historical accuracy. From Culture Label.

7. Marie Antoinette may never have said it, but she will never live it down. Called the "Pragmatic vase," this trompe l'oeil stoneware vessel is anything but, which makes me love it even more. From Anthropologie.

8. Classic English transferware gets a new life, becoming the arch anachronism. A pterodactyl and stegosaurus refuse to pay their dues to the lord of that feudal manor. From Austin Modern.

9. All children love the 5th President. Why not teach this new version of a classic nursery song? I love the staid black-and-white portrait, mixed with the punchy, pop-art-inspired backdrops. From Puns Intended.

10. So maybe this isn't exactly "stylish," but it was just too weird to pass up. I'll admit that my interest is piqued by a Spanish plaque that reads "Napoleon's hidden hand," especially if said plaque also features a cartoon of him looking up a lady's skirt and a plastic skeletal hand. Etsy seller Lizzie Bones includes a bit of history with her write-up on the piece if you, like me, are fascinated by this little piece of satire.

(Images: as credited above)

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Carolyn is a freelance writer and photographer, as well as a lover of all things colorful and quirky. She grew up in Texas and settled in Chicago by way of L.A., England and Paris. Currently, she is a professor at Illinois Institute of Technology.

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