Posted by P. Bingham on July 14, 1998 at 22:10:27:
In response to Lacing, written by Marie-Bernadette on July 14, 1998 at 19:18:56
[When was the wash stand first used? I thought I heard that it didn't come about until the 1820's or 30's. Where did people put their bowl and pitcher before then? On the toilette table?]
Washstands made for the specific purpose of holding a bowl and water pitcher (by heavy quantities) were available as early as 1740 or so. Before that, by at least the 16c., they were made but generally rare. The most popular and most attractive would be the tripod form (and they had corner-tripod forms too by late 18c). By 1790 models were being produced by all the leading ceramic factories and by 1840 they were widespread and affordable for even lower-class households.
Southey noted in 1807, ĎA compact kind of chest holds the basin, the soap, the toothbrush, and water glass, each in a separate compartment...with mirror, waterjug and bottle...and the whole shuts down a-top, and closes in front, like a cabinet.'
By 18c., the top of a chest of drawers might be used.
By 1780 the top of the Bonheurs du jour might be used. It was brought from France and was a combined writing and toilet table. But call it a ladies' writing table because the French term was a later import.
By the mid 18c. the top of a French commode might be used as a chest of drawers. It was not generally thought of for a night table until Victorian.
By early 1700 one might use a bedside cupboard.
As far as dressing tables (and some were called toilet tables), they were around by at least the 14c, but the models are not well known before 1660 or so. By 1660 the lowboy was the general model and by the mid 18c they began to incorporate sophisticated compartments for the various toiletries, the mirror, etc. During the Regency era, the harlequin (like all metamorphic furniture which the Regency was so famous for) was the most popular and was available by the late 18c.
my sources are scattered throught the 20 books I have on this subject in my 'library'. If you'd like anything more specific, I can find it for you.
- Thanks, Patricia, and... Marie-Bernadette 20:14:11 7/15/98 (0)
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