It’s English, it’s antique and it’s useful. What is it? It’s a bidet! No-one has been able to trace the first use of a bidet because essentially it’s just a question of who squatted over a bowl of warm water first, but it seems they were reasonably popular in upper class households from the 18th century onwards. Napoleon Bonaparte actually went to the trouble of gifting his silver-gilt bidet to his son in his will. The curving shape of the antique bowls explains why the bidet once had nicknames like violin-case or little guitar. Originally the word bidet itself referred to the wooden furniture designed for holding the bowl, and meant pony in French. This bidet has links to quite a different animal,the ultimate in luxury sanitary ware, a crocodile-skin bidet. A choice that may come back to bite you?