Part of the Roman baths discovered under the foundations of Abbey House, Bath
Medium: Ink wash on paper
A note attached to the drawing records: "One of the sudatines, with the structure of the hollow bricks to convey the fine part of the the Roman Baths discovered under the foundations of the abbey house lately taken down."
These Roman baths were built to utilise the town's natural hot springs, giving Bath its name and its first reason for existence. The Romans had established a settlement here by the end of the first century AD. They dedicated it to a new goddess, Sulius Minerva: a local Celtic deity, Sul, combined with the classical goddess of water, Minerva. An impressive series of bath houses and temples were built, turning 'Aqua Sulius' into a popular health resort. Although Aqua Sulius and its baths were gradually abandoned after the Romans left, the foundations of the baths remained preserved under layers of mud. Classical remains and antiquities appealed to late 18th century society and they were consequently sought out and studied at Bath and elsewhere. These baths were discovered in 1755 beneath the abbey on the estate of the Duke of Kingston.