Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema
A Favourite Custom 1909

Artwork details

A Favourite Custom
Date 1909
Medium Oil on wood
Dimensions Support: 660 x 451 mm
frame: 957 x 751 x 83 mm
Acquisition Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1909
On display at Tate Britain
Room: 1900

Display caption

This scene is set in the Stabian baths at Pompeii. In the foreground one woman playfully splashes another bathing in the 'frigidarium', a cold bath. Others gather in an undressing room beyond. The artist based this work on photographs of the remains of the baths, revealed by archaeologists in 1824. He has made them more luxurious by adding a marble floor and walls which would more usually have been found in larger imperial baths. The Dutch-born artist Alma-Tadema achieved enormous success in Britain with carefully researched scenes like this of daily life in the ancient Roman world.

May 2011

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