My wife and I are extremely fortunate to live in a house with five intact Victorian fireplaces.  These afford endless more-or-less geeky and more-or-less obsessive-compulsive opportunities for arrangement and re-arrangement of artefacts upon the long shelves above them known as mantelshelves or mantelpieces.

The mantelpiece (our preferred term) is inevitably the focal point of any room, and its display should therefore be considered more carefully than that on other mere shelves.  I tend to prefer symmetry as a guiding principle, but others are less conventional.  One of my daughters, for example, has a pair of antique candlesticks placed together at one end of her mantelpiece, with nothing of equal height to provide balance at the other end.  It works beautifully.  But I couldn’t do anything half as daring myself.

A charming innovation amongst pottery collectors who share photographs of their collections online is the shelfie, where they show their latest arrangement of pots for others to admire and envy.

So here are my five current mantelshelfies.  I’m not 100% happy with any of them and move stuff around on them from time to time.  If truth be told, they tend to get re-arranged more often than they get dusted.


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