5 February 2016


One of the most fascinating things about the Plantin-Moretus Museum is its domesticity: the family lived above the shop and in the shop, the type setting and printing rooms were next to the sitting and dining rooms and there was a much greater integration of family and work life than we have nowadays, with our mad separation of offices and schools so that they are empty for twelve hours a day. If we followed the Plantin-Moretus model and integrated everything, we would solve our housing difficulties in one go. But it would need a huge shift, in attitudes, planning laws and expectations. Yet there are shifts eventually. This Plantin bed was rather fascinating. The caption reads: ‘The carved oak four-poster dates from a time when people were advised to sleep more or less sitting up. According to the medical science of the day it aided the digestion. This is why the bed is very short.’ This slightly fills one with despair  – perhaps half an hour on the What Doctors Don’t Tell You website is called for.