Fenella Fielding, actress, on her blue coffee pot.
GB Tell me why you chose this.
FF Well, it’s a very large coffee pot, it’s blue enamel which isn’t how you think of a coffee pot, is it? And I should think it probably holds a dozen cups, which makes it very welcoming. I love the way it stands in profile with this lovely handle, which looks like somebody’s arm. Coffee pots are always tall and slim but they’re usually china and this is metal. I like the fact that it’s very utilitarian and the balance of it is very good. You just need a finger tip under the spout as you tip the jug which you can do without burning your finger. It’s also the blue of the Troubadour which is partly what makes it so lovely. Bob Gill, an old boyfriend, liked my coffee pot so much that in the 1960s he used it for a poster he did for the Troubadour Coffee Shop. I’ve had this coffee pot for a very long time. There must have been a certain amount of magic connected to it. Bob gave me a poster and I had it framed and put it in my kitchen with my coffee pot next to it.
GB Was he a serious boyfriend? Did he ever use the coffee pot?
FF I don’t think he ever used the coffee pot! He was much more interested in the object itself than in coffee. He was an artist. But things that are useful are very often beautiful.
GB You’ve worked on projects that go from Carry On films to reading T S Eliot. Not many people cover such a diverse range. Do you find that you’re drawn to people who find beauty in the same things as you?
FF I don’t know. I think it’s individual to the actual person. I know that if I met someone who didn’t find my coffee pot beautiful or thought it was very peculiar, I think I would not wish to know that person because it’s rather rude to open up an opinion about it like that. You can always keep quiet about it.
GB When you look at the world around you, that you see very day, do you think it’s becoming more or less beautiful?
FF A lot that was beautiful has disappeared and a lot of other things have appeared, but some of them are very beautiful and some just aren’t. I think one has to accept that there are various ranks of beauty, passable things and things you can’t bear to look at. And that’s that. Every five years there’s a different lot and you just have to concentrate on the things you like, otherwise your life would be sheer misery.
GB What makes something worthy of the word Beauty to you?
FF I think that for me to find something beautiful, it usually has to have very pleasing proportions. You don’t think that a part of it is sticking out at a tangent or going off or looking peculiar. It fits into the space it’s in and it’s charming. Charm is a very important thing in people and in objects.