Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

A Favourite Custom

1909

Medium
Oil on wood
Dimensions
Support: 660 x 451 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1909
Reference
N02675

Display caption

This scene is set in the baths at Pompeii. In the foreground one woman playfully splashes another bathing in the ‘frigidarium’, a cold bath. The artist based this work on photographs of the ruins of the Stabian 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. This small work attracted enormous success when it was exhibited and bought immediately for the nation.

Gallery label, February 2016