Advertisement for Warren's Blacking Warehouse with cat crest



Warren’s Blacking was a leading manufacturer of shoe-black (shoe-polish) in the 19th century. Available as a liquid in bottles or as a paste in pots, the blacking was ‘sold in every town in the kingdom’ as this advertisement boasts. Notoriously, Charles Dickens worked at Warren's Blacking Factory when he was 12 years old, during the period his father was imprisoned for debt. His job was to paste labels onto the blacking pots.

This small printed advertisement is cut from a newspaper. As typical of all of Warren’s advertisements, its header illustration is comic in tone and emphasises the blacking’s high quality: a cat bristles at the sight of its own reflection in the newly shined and blacked shoe.

Full title
Advertisement for Warren's Blacking Warehouse with cat crest. Pencil inscription G. Ck., with additional note: 'C. Dickens lived here'. No source apparent for either advert. [from the author's presentation copy of The Life of Dickens, 1872-74]
n.d., London
Advertisement / Ephemera / Illustration / Image
George Cruikshank , John Forster [compiler]
Held by
British Library
Usage terms
Public Domain
Dex 316 - Vol I, part I