After what turned out to be a slightly wan experience looking at the late Dowager Duchess of Devonshire's things spread out for auction, I picked up the latest issue of the London Review of Books and began to read an article on the subject of borders. In it was this quote from Georges Perec who, it seems to me, goes some way to explaining my reaction to what was on view. Sotheby's was trying to slide the domestic into the public and the result was jarring:
"The private, the domestic (a space overfilled with my possessions: my bed, my carpet, my table, my typewriter, my books, my odd copies of the Nouvelle Revue francaise); on the other side, other people, the world, the public, politics. You can't simply let yourself slide from one into the other, can't pass from one to the other, neither in one direction nor in the other. You have to have the password, have to cross the threshold, have to show your credentials, have to communicate ... with the world outside."