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Milsom Street, Bath

Milsom Street was the fashionable shopping street in Bath: “Do you know I saw the prettiest hat you can imagine in a shop window in Milsom Street just now,” enthuses a friend of Catherine Morland, Jane Austen's heroine in 'Northanger Abbey'.

It was also a fortuitous street for chance meetings: “in walking up Milsom Street, she had the good fortune to meet with the Admiral. He was standing by himself at a printshop window, with his hands behind him, in earnest contemplation of some print...”

In John Claude Nattes’ view, a lady is escorted by a uniformed man while figures in the background peer into the bay windows of the shops. This engraving comes from a series of plates made from drawings of Bath by Nattes and published in 1806. The preface to the volume extols the artistic merits of Bath: “Perhaps no city in the kingdom could be so proper for the purpose of picturesque illustration as that of Bath and its environs. The variety and beauty of its scenery is almost infinite; it unites some of the finest specimens of modern buildings with the splendid remains of antiquity...”

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