Buckets and all: National Trust collections online

Leather fire bucket painted with the royal arms, at Scotney Castle, Kent. ©National Trust

The National Trust has just made another small step towards making its collections more accessible: our object database, including fine and decorative art, furniture and household and estate parafernalia is now available online as National Trust Collections.

Small metal bucket at Standen, West Sussex. ©National Trust

This is very much a work in progress. Although almost three quarters of a million items are currently available online, more are still being added and we will probably end up with closer to a million.

Mahogany and brass turf bucket, mid-eighteenth-century, at Ardress House, Co Armagh. ©National Trust

Some records are more extensive and complete than others, but several people (of which I am one) are constantly checking and improving descriptions and adding images. We thought it would be better to show you what has been recorded so far, warts and all, rather than wait until everything is perfect.

Child's metal bucket, at Wightwick Manor, Wolverhampton. ©National Trust

So do let us know if you spot anything that can be improved – either by emailing collections@nationaltrust.org.uk or by contacting me.

Leather fire bucket at Florence Court, Co Fermanagh, with the 'E' of the Earl of Enniskillen, the owner of the house. ©National Trust

Equally, we hope you will enjoy browsing the collections and discovering the beautiful, weird and wonderful objects lurking in the various historic houses of the National Trust. If you have a specific research interest there are various ways you can search, such as by historic house, by object category, or by date. Happy treasure-hunting!

9 Responses to “Buckets and all: National Trust collections online”

  1. Parnassus Says:

    Another great resource to get lost in on a rainy day. I love these buckets, especially the fire ones; one sometimes sees old leather buckets in American museums. These certified National Trust ones remind me of the old Noel Coward song: “…but still if they ever catch on fire (which with any luck, they might!), We’ll stand by the Stately Homes of England.”

    Creating the National Trust was a much better solution.

    –Road to Parnassus

  2. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Parnassus, glad the buckets appeal to you. The first and the last one could definitely qualify as ‘stately buckets’ :)

  3. jo Says:

    A marvelous undertaking! Bravo!

  4. Mark D. Ruffner Says:

    Like Parnassus, I’m drawn to the stately buckets. And I like that in moments of disaster, the English will respond in style! I’ll look forward to accessing this literal treasure trove.

  5. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Jo, thank you.

    Mark, isn’t it amazing how beautifully decorated some of those fire buckets are? There must have been some ‘bucket envy’ going on between landed families…

  6. Philip Wilkinson Says:

    A wonderful resource that I’ve already enjoyed browsing – we have so much to thank the Trust for.

    As for the buckets: they’re very entertaining. The ‘stately buckets’ must be but one example of everyday objects made grand or otherwise special by the addition of arms, insignia, or decoration related to country houses.

    Thank you. And season’s greetings.

  7. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Philip, thanks very much. Yes I love the combination of grand and humble, or of pride taken in humble objects – a kind of UK version of the Japanese concept of ‘wabi’ or humble beauty.

  8. style court Says:

    It’s a staggering number and a real treasure trove, so everyone’s hard work is very much appreciated. I happen to have a real affinity for these buckets — especially the leather ones. Very happy, Emile, that you decided to highlight them here!

  9. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Courtney, thank you – I knew you would like them :)

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