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.