Over the years, we’ve written about many improvised “guest books”, that is, ways to memorialize the visits of friends. From my Venetian journal with notations of dinner parties and stuffed with memory-sparking evidence in the form of thank you notes, wine labels and polaroids

…to the wall scrawled with notes and signatures in a New York City brownstone…

…to tablecloths and place settings made of paper inscribed during the course of the meal…

…to chairs upholstered in white to act as a blank canvas for friends to inscribe with indelible markers..

We love the iteration Cecil Beaton came up with for Ashcombe House, his home in England in the 1930s: the hand prints of friends tattooed on a bathroom’s walls. Simple, doable, visually swell, full of memories. It made us think of depictions of hands in cave paintings throughout the world like those from Pech Merle in France which date back to around 25,000 BC.

Hand prints that say: Yes, I was here…

Top Photo: Cecil Beaton, The Bathroom at Ashcombe with outlined hands © Millar & Harris Collection of The Historic England Archive

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