Advertisement for designer baths from Shanks & Co.



This advertisement for ‘high class bath decorations’ from the late Victorian period shows the growing interest among the British middle-classes in personalising the home through decoration. The styles are soft and warm, and consciously borrow from the decorative art of other ages and nations: a mild exoticism intended to suggest comfortable worldliness on the part of the owner.

The baths for which these coverings were intended would most likely have been free-standing and unplumbed. Modern central heating systems had been in steady development since the 1830s, but in the absence of adequate nationwide drainage and the general reliance on coal fires to heat water, a bath heated from a direct water supply would have been very rare indeed.

Full title
Advertisement for designer baths from Shanks & Co., Sanitary Appliances
Advertisement / Ephemera / Illustration / Image
Held by
British Library
Usage terms
Public Domain
BIPC Trade Literature

Related articles

The rise of consumerism

Article by
Matthew White
The middle classes

With increasing variety in clothes, food and household items, shopping became an important cultural activity in the 18th century. Dr Matthew White describes buying and selling during the period, and explains the connection between many luxury goods and slave plantations in South America and the Caribbean.

The built environment

Article by
Liza Picard

Liza Picard examines how industrialisation altered the building of cities and affected the different social classes living within them.

Related collection items