Many of us know the use of a "potpourri" from our bathrooms: a bowl or jar with scented dried fruits to freshen the air. But in Georgian, Regency and Victorian houses potpourris were a normal feature in any room. This was a time before vacuum cleaners, when rugs and curtains were only shaken out thoroughly once a year in the spring cleaning, so rooms could get quite dusty and stuffy.
Porcelain factories made therefore beautiful potpourri vases and urns, made as much for decoration as for freshening the air. A smart way to do this was of course to make the body of the potpourri suitable to hold water while the cover was pierced, so you could choose whether you would use it to hold flowers or scented fruits.