Powder and Paint: A History of the Englishwoman’s Toilet, Elizabeth I-Elizabeth II by Neville Williams

Powder and Paint: A History of the Englishwoman’s Toilet, Elizabeth I-Elizabeth II by Neville Williams lands on the shelves of my shop, where it will be found in my Social History section.

London, New York & Toronto: Longmans, Green & Co., 1957, (First Edition) Hardback in dust wrapper.

Contains: Black & white plates;

From the cover: This is a history of the Englishwomans toilet from the earliest recorded mention in the middle of the sixteenth century up to the present day. The author describes the remarkable changes in fashion, swinging like a pendulum from the extremes of artificiality to the utmost simplicity, according to the tastes and moral attitude of society.

The modern reader, who takes for granted the care and scientific research which the cosmetic industry of today puts into its products, will no doubt be astonished by the concoctions that were used in the not-so-distant past. Many women were, for instance, ready to use beauty preparations containing white lead which were always extremely harmful and sometimes even lethal.

Those seeking the secrets of beauty and eternal youth were often at the mercy of unscrupulous quacks. One reads, for example, of the notorious Earl of Rochester who set up as Dr. Bendo, of an Italian named Balsamo who did a brisk trade with his elixirs of youth, or of Mrs. Sarah Rachel Leverson who established a Beautiful for Ever salon in Bond Street and charged a thousand guineas for a course of Arabian Baths composed of bran and water.

The author has carried out concentrated research into his subject and writes with ease and freshness. This is a book for all who are interested in the curiosities of human behaviour, as well as being an important and original contribution to social history.

Very Good in Good Dust Wrapper. Unlaminated dust wrapper a little edgeworn and faded with tanning to the spine. Previous owners’ name to the first blank.

Grey boards with Gilt titling to the Spine. [XIV] 192 pages. Index. Bibliography. 8¾” x 5¾”.

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