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Bought, found, given

We fill our homes with gifts and heirlooms, scavenged treasures and lucky finds. The stories behind these objects can carry memories and emotions that make them personal to us.

The diverse collection in this room explores how we come to acquire the things that make up our homes and the hidden stories they reveal.

A photo of a bedroom inside a yellow square frame, with a black border, on a grey wall Photograph by Em Fitzgerald

Stories to look out for

Pages from a sketchbook showing drawings of the interior of a home Object number 19/2013

Sketchbook, 1890-1921

Mary Gibbs Shapter (born 1841) meticulously documented the possessions in her home over a 30-year period. The rooms Mary drew contained inherited furniture, bought antiques and purchases from high-end retailers. 

A clock set in brown and black wood Object number 177/2015

Mechanical mantle clock, about 1968

Catherine Breheny's parents received this clock on their wedding day. Although it eventually stopped ticking, it never lost its significance to her mother.

Black and orange plastic cassette holder Object number 58/2015

Cass Bar cassette holder, about 1970

The first birthday present Paul Membrey ever received from his girlfriend Behnaz was this rotating cassette holder.

Paul and Behnaz were married the following year, and moved into their first home together. Paul placed the cassette holder among his hi-fi equipment in their living room, where he and Behnaz entertained family and friends.