Text by Mary-Kate Sherer
Once commonplace tools in European homes, these utilitarian pieces are now valued—and collected—for fashion over function.
A unique shape and a colorful enamel coating give the French body pitcher a signature look that makes a statement in any room or garden. Originally used in European households in the late 1800s and early 1900s to carry water for bathing, these enamelware antiques are now more often sought out for their bright aesthetic. As a stand-alone piece or grouped in a collection, the pitchers add a subtle French flair wherever they sit.
Many collectors fill their antique pitchers with fresh-cut flowers to create colorful vignettes that can brighten up a tabletop, doorstep, or garden pathway with ease. “Their tall shape sets off a large bouquet to perfection,” says antiques dealer Lidy Baars, owner of French Garden House antiques. “A few pitchers hung on pegs outside are a wonderful way to water plants and add a pop of color to a garden shed wall at the same time.” French body pitchers are complementary of both modern and rustic cottage décor.