I know these ceramic balls from Williams-Sonoma Home may just look like decorative spheres but their original fate wasn’t just to sit in a bowl–it was to bowl. In the Victorian era, carpet bowling was all the rage. Refined ladies and gentleman would gather in the parlor and set up these carpet balls like pins across the rug for indoor bowling. The game is now a thing of the past but the original spheres are still circulating in auctions and antique stores while reproductions are popping up at retailers like William Sonoma Home. If you love the look of these smooth painted spheres, six for $38 at WSH is a fantastic deal but to me, it’s the antiques’ dents and marks of hard fought game that really make them appealing.
I first heard of carpet balls when I was profiling the home of Americana auctioneer, Jeff Jeffers. He uses the 19th century spheres as a center piece in his dining room.
This 19th century carpet ball looks like it took a pretty hard hit from a Victorian bowler, but that bit of character makes me love it even more. This carpet ball and a ton more available on Cyber Attic.