Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Photo: "The Victorian Home", Ellen M. Plante
Chapter 5 - The Victorian bathroom

Photo: "Gold Country Cottage"
The master bath

The comfort and convenience we enjoy in the modern bathroom is due to Victorian ingenuity and ambitious nineteenth-century industrial growth.

Baths were spacious in the early Victorian period, with room-like furnishings and appointments.

They evolved into models of efficiency in the late 1800's and we have reverted today to making bathrooms roomy and elegant in typical Victorian fashion.

The Victorians were proud of this new indoor facility and not adverse to showing it off.

"Cleanliness is the outward sign of inward purity.  Cleanliness of the person is health, and health is beauty.  The bath is consequently a very important means of preserving the health and enhancing the beauty.  It is not to be supposed that we bathe simply to become clean, but because we wish to remain clean.  Cold water refreshes and invigorates, but does not cleanse, and persons who daily use a sponge bath in the morning, should frequently use a warm one...for cleansing purposes.  When a plunge bath is taken...soap should be plentifully used, and the flesh-brush applied vigorously, drying with a coarse Turkish towel."

John H. Young, A.M.
"Our Deportment", 1882

This is me, in my little tub, in my grandmother's garden, probably around 1 1/2 years old.

"In most of our houses in the city there is a separate bathroom with hot and cold water, but country homes are not always so arranged.  A substitute for the bathroom is a large piece of oilcloth which can be laid upon the floor of the ordinary dressing-room.  Upon this may be placed the bathtub or basin."

Richard A. Wells, A.M.
"Manners, Culture and Dress of the Best American Society", 1891

"Bathrooms are no longer a novelty in small towns and farm houses.  But, it must be understood that to enjoy these in winter, requires almost of necessity a range or furnace...When possible, cover the floor of the bathroom with tile...Hang the walls with waterproof papers...or hang India matting three feet (0.9 m) high around the wall above the wainscot boards, and finish top and bottom with a small piece of molding...The best plumbing and porcelain are none too good for the bathroom."

Sidney Morse
"Household Discoveries", 1908

"The washstand should be furnished with a large bowl and pitcher, small pitcher and tumbler; soap tray, sponges and basin, holding two sponges (large and small), china tray containing two toothbrushes and nail brushes, and a bottle of ammonia.  On the right of the washstand should be the towel rack, which should contain one fine and two coarse towels and two more very coarse...Turkish towels.  The foot-bath should be placed beneath the washstand."

Richard A. Wells, A.M.
"Manners, Culture and Dress of the Best American Society", 1891


The early bathroom experience would not be complete if I didn't share this with you...Although my parent's home had all the modern conveniences available at the time, as far as the bathroom went, my grandparents were not so lucky...

Yes, this is where I sat my little girl tushie down when I went to visit my grandparents.

They lived about one mile from where our comfortable home was located, at "the ranch", where my dad grew up.  My sister, brother and I used to walk there quite often as we loved that we would pass through a very juicy and delightful cherry orchard, swim in the creek behind the house and my grandfather's mill, and eat crispy cereal, that was kept in a little cubby in the side of the wood stove, drenched in sweet cream that we helped Grandpa coax out of Old Bossy and garnished with fresh picked strawberries from Grandma's garden.

Those were wonderful times and, looking back, we didn't even think what hardships might be involved, except when we had a sleep-over and needed to use the facilities in the middle of the quiet, dark night -- but that's another story for another day.



I would like to thank Kris for the beautiful issue of Artful Blogging magazine in which her charming cottage is featured.  She sent it along with a special card that contained a pouch for a sweet little tea bag.

If you haven't met Kris, go right over to her Junk Chic Cottage.  She has the most lovely blog and is always such a wonderful hostess when she invites you into her sweet and beautiful home.  If you have never been there before, you will thank me after one visit.

I must add that the tea was so good.
  Harney and Sons, Raspberry Herbal.

Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness, Kris, and I spent the most delightful afternoon on the front porch...


Smoke in the sky    

This is what we woke up to this morning...

There is a fire burning in Placer country.  Just a few miles from us as the crow flies.  Last report was that it has burned 1200 acres and is 0% contained.  Hope they will get control of it soon and that no one's homes or animals are in danger.


I am sharing with these lovely parties today:


  1. Judy,
    Thank you for the thank you!!!! You are very welcome for the magazines. I am glad the tea was yummy too. You are the sweetest and I am so happy you got the magazine ok. Enjoy.

  2. What a great post, Judy. You certainly found some beautiful examples to post about. Love them all. I just love Kris, too. She is one of my favorites out in blogland- xo Diana

  3. A spacious bathroom is a joy. I was lucky enough to have in-laws with a deep claw foot tub. It was a delight! Your post is charming with all your lovely photos.

  4. I remember the spacious bathroom in our house growing up, brrrr it was always cold it seemed. A great post and love all of your pictures, especially the one of you in the bathtub - adorable!

  5. I so love that porcelain tub! I wish I had a bath big enough for one. I can barely turn around in mine and could never fit that perfect dresser vanity/sink. Love them all and the little tray is perfect.

  6. Judy i would love a gorgeous bathroom like those above! Unfortunately most modern homes seem to have small bathrooms with no room for such luxuries.Gorgeous post though as always!

  7. Loved the post. I can remember my time at the farm also. The pictures of the bathrooms are gorgeous and some of them are so big. My house was built in the 50's, so the bathrooms are small. I sure wish I had one of those lovely ones with the claw feet.

  8. un super reportage du xix é siècle
    les wc avec la planche , j'étais très petite , chez des coussins
    j'avais une très grande peur de m'asseoir ::::::::
    je vais aller visiter le blog de votre amie
    merci pour toutes ces jolies photos
    bonne journée
    edith (iris) France

  9. What a fun post and I loved all those pictures over the tub! Quite an art!

  10. Thanks a lot for the interesting story about the Victorian bath. Have you ever been a teachter? Seems like that as you can make things very interesting even though one couldn't Think so Before lol.
    Wonderful pic's as Always. And thanks for letting us know about Kris. Her blog is as interesting as yours.
    Hope you have a nice day my friend.
    Love Elzie

  11. I love the victorian bath! Thanks for sharing the story.

    Amy Jo

  12. Judy, I love your bathroom, the tub and the wonderful silhouettes hanging on the wall above it. It is beautiful and cozy and inviting. The bathroom has evolved greatly over the past 100 years and even the past 50 years. I remember using outhouses when at a camp or my aunt and uncle's house. Thankfully we had a nice bathroom with a clawfoot tub when growing up. I didn't have my first shower until I went to camp and I didn't like it as it felt too claustrophobic! An interesting post! I hope the forest fires are contained soon and that you get some rain. We have lots of rain to share here. :) Pamela

  13. Thank you for the enlightenment of the Victorian bath. Your bathrooms are lovely. Especially love the shared photos of you as a little girl Very cute.
    I hope all is well for you and the fire is contained.


  14. Oh Judy, I LOVE YOUR BATHROOM!!!! Everything is just perfect! The vanity, the tile, the claw foot tub, your silhouttes, everything! I always envy you gals who have the perfect space in your bathroom to have a china cabinet or hutch of some sort to put your pretties in.
    Thanks for sharing and have a great week,

  15. OMG Judy..I am in love with your Bathroom. That tub with those photos? I am swooning!!! So happy I stopped by today.
    Have a great day..Tami xo

  16. Your bathroom is beautiful Judy. I LOVE it! So very Victorian!!! I laughed when I saw the photo from the outhouse you frequented as a child :))))))))).
    sending hugs...

  17. i hope the fire gets under control as well. As to the rest of the post so enjoyable and interesting to read! and that bathroom is gorgeous! :)

  18. Your bathroom is gorgeous. And I hope that fire is under control.

  19. The bathroom is beautiful Judy and I love your collection of shadow silhouettes. I have only one example; a tiny frame of a couple of ladies walking with parasols and the background is made of morpho butterfly wings. Also love your deep claw-foot tub. They're the best, aren't they? We have one in Vancouver and England. On those chilly winter evenings it's so wonderful to have a good soak. But do you let the water fill hot first? We find that the cast iron absorbs so much heat that if we don't fill it with hot then the temperature is a bit too cool. (things you learn along the way...lol) Anyway, lovely visiting with you again my new friend and I hope the fire is under control by now. Better still, I'll do my rain dance. :)

  20. Hey Miss Judy, I was so pleased to see your visit this week. I must agree with veronica, your silhouettes are so lovely.
    I grew up reading the books that were beautifully illustrated by Jan Pienkowski, 'Necklace of raindrop's, 'The thousand nights and one night', 'The first Christmas', 'The kingdom under the sea' and 'Fairy Tales'. See, I still remember them today, there is something so magical about the silhouette that reminds me of my childhood. If I had children they would definitely be listening to me reading these books again.
    Hope you are having a lovely summer. Paul X

  21. I love a Victorian anything! Beautiful accents in these bathrooms. I remember having an aunt who had the outside potty...when I was little i thought it was fun except when I stayed with her at night and had to use it!

  22. What a sweet post. When I was growing up, we had a bathroom, but it was frequently out of order due to a willow tree whose roots kept growing into the clay pipes. During those times, we visited the outdoor facilities too! Thankfully we had both!

    Have a great weekend!

    1. Thanks, Kathy. As a kid, I guess you are not aware of the drawbacks! It was fun to visit Grandma's except when night time came and you had to make the trip down the dark path!! But, yet, I seem to always remember the moon shining brightly..Happy Sunday..Judy

  23. We had ONE BATHROOM and SIX PEOPLE in my family. We fought for bathroom time. Now that our kids are grown my Mr. and I both use the two upstairs. He gets one and I get the other. :) If his gets messed up I make HIM clean it.

    I jest. Can you imagine a MAN cleaning anything?

    Sweet post!


  24. I'm happy to discover your sweet blog thanks to Ivy and elephants where you are featured. In the French country side people had also the same "commodities" that were called "the log at the end of the garden" !
    xoxo from PARIS/FRANCE

  25. What a gorgeous bathroom you have! I've always dreamed of a clawfoot tub, so I have major tub envy:) I also love the beadboard, and all of the space you have. I would spend alot of time in there for sure!

  26. What an absolutely delightful bathroom....I think I could take a vacation in there! I also think I need to find some Turkish towels! Love that baby photo of you...lucky that you have that treasured picture! Lovely blog!!
    Karla & Karrie
    PS...we are hoping that the fire has been contained for you all :)

  27. PINNED! Thanks for sharing all this stuff. Linda



Your comments are so special to me...Judy