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The King’s Bagnio

Additional Title(s):

Sir William Jennens, Sworn Servant to His Majesty for the King's Bagnio: Advertisement for the King's Bath, March 25, 1686

Sheet: 11 x 7in. (27.9 x 17.8cm)
Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Prints and Drawings
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IIIF Manifest:

Like coffeehouses-and often associated with them-public baths (or bagnios) were also seen as places for consumption of the exotic, offering the services of masseurs and barbers in an explicitly "Turkish" setting. Hot baths (hamam), as experienced by travelers in the Levant, were endorsed for their therapeutic qualities; the Royal Bagnio, which opened in 1679 in Newgate Street, was described in 1720 as a "neat contrived building after the Turkish mode for that purpose; seated in a handsome yard . . . Much resorted into for Sweating, being found very good for aches, etc., and approved of by our Physicians." Like other English bagnios, the King's Bagnio appears to have been constructed on the model of Turkish baths, consisting of a large square room with a cupola, with smaller ones surrounding it. Like the Royal Bagnio, it may have been lined with fashionable Dutch oriental tiles, of the type on display in the nearby case. Such establishments offered the opportunity for experiencing the Orient through consumption, whether of a hot drink or a hot bath, without having to make the effort to understand or accept Oriental cultures.

Gallery label for Pearls to pyramids: British visual culture and the Levant, 1600-1820 (Yale Center for British Art, 2008-02-07 - 2008-04-28)

Pearls to Pyramids: British Visual Culture and the Levant, 1600–1830 (Yale Center for British Art, 2008-02-07 - 2008-04-28) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Vaughan Hart, Christopher Wren: in Eearch of Eastern Antiquity, The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, London, p. 115, cat. 143, NJ18.W92 H37 2020 (LC) Oversize (YCBA) [YCBA]

Pearls to pyramids : British visual culture and the Levant, 1600-1830 [wall labels], Yale Center for British Art, 2008, p. 20, V 2576 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Pearls to pyramids : British visual culture and the Levant, 1600-1830, , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2008, p. 15, V1880 [ORBIS]

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