But other artefacts can take on particular meaning and significance within households and across time. In Stradbally Hall, there is a mahogany-clad room on the ground floor that houses a prized possession: a series of taxidermy squirrels which were gifted to the late General Sir Francis Cosby and date back to 1700s. This collection comprised a series of encased taxidermy squirrels, each clothed in ‘boxing’ shorts and gloves, depicting various stages of a ‘boxing match’. On a more modest scale, another participant talked about an attachment to collectables and how they function as reminders of the past: I am always trying to pick up something, but I have too many ornaments. I remember my mam, when she passed away, there a lovely little ornament at home. And I said kill or cure me, I don’t care, I’m going to get this little particular ornament, and it was an owl, and I went and got it and it’s there in that press. Yet another participant spoke about an old-fashioned writing bureau that stood in one corner of her modern living room, with a picture of her deceased father atop: Yeah, it’s a writing desk. [My Dad] he got that as a leaving present, when he left work. So when he died I inherited that. Despite my two brothers…. Well I always had an eye on it. No, even when he was alive. I don’t mean I was going “I’ll have that”. So, he’s sitting on top of it as well. That’s his little corner, yeah. Functional objects can also make statements about the owner’s personal predilections and taste: You see, everything is poppies, you know my teapot and cups and jugs. Everything is a poppy design. Well when I grew up in [place], our back garden was all poppies you know before it was you know dug up and so on. And I loved poppies, and I loved the little seed, which when you open that seed it was pink before the seed developed into a flower. All my life I loved poppies. So when I was choosing the kitchen [of this house] I had the red tiles put in, and the poppies were all in that year. I have this painting here, which I bought, an artist painted it in Spain and I brought it home and got it framed. So I had that, and then my daughter-in-law did [painting] that for me, you know because I like the poppies. Domestic pets In the House Portraits project we discovered a culture of care in homes that extended to keeping domestic pets, taking in stray animals, and fostering pets of family members and friends. Likewise, in Stradbally, all of the participants had some relationship with animals and as a result pets featured strongly as part of the household dramatis personae. Most had memories of growing up around animals or having a favoured family pet, and so they were clear that a household is not complete without one (or several of them!). 57