11 Apr 2021
February 15, 2010 - Filed under: History of Antiques — Harriet

Although custom built washstands had been in existence in wealthy households since the middle of the 18th century, it was Victorian technological advancement that produced the many types of washstand that we see in antique shops today. In typical Victorian fashion, the washstand increased in size, in flamboyance and was produced with a range of matching ceramic wears such as soap dishes, sponge bowls, jugs and basins.

Cast iron was also the new material during the latter half of Victoria’s reign to be used. It was considered to be more hygienic, easier to keep clean and less perishable than wood. Although indoor plumbing was introduced into houses after 1880, the washstand was still used in many homes until well after the end of World War One.

Again this piece of utilitarian furniture was exposed to all the revivals and styles of the Victorian era, even to the extent that Elizabethan pastiches were produced to imitate what Victorians thought a medieval washstand would look like. William Morris also produced functional well made washstands, typically made from oak. Many were also made in pine for the cheaper end of the market which could be painted or stained to be disguised as walnut or mahogany. Initially marble topped, but then cheaper tiles were used to create the highly decorative pieces which remain popular today.

Desirable antique washstands as investments need to be as much as possible in their original state and can be purchased through antique furniture dealers in Preston, Lancashire, Cumbria and across Great Britain.

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