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  • Place of origin:

    London (published)
    England (made)

  • Date:

    1900 (made)
    1890 - 1910 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (made)
    A. & F. Pears Ltd. (publisher)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Colour lithograph

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case GG, shelf 60, box IV

Object Type
This is a colour lithograph, or chromolithograph. A lithograph is a picture made by printing from a flat surface (traditionally stone, now often a metal plate), on which the artist draws or paints the original design with a greasy substance like chalk. The surface is next prepared, moistened and inked; the greasy printing ink adheres to the design, which is then printed onto a sheet of paper. To make a colour lithograph, a separate printing surface is required for each colour: this chromolithograph was printed from no fewer than 24 colour blocks.

The trademark product of A. & F. Pears was its transparent amber soap, which was developed and promoted as a great improvement on the harshness of contemporary soaps by the company's founder, Andrew Pears, at the turn of the 18th century. In the mid-19th century, the company took on a new partner, Thomas J. Barratt to stave off fierce competition and to improve sales performance. He devised a series of expensive and original publicity schemes, the most famous of which was the adaptation of John Everett Millais' painting Bubbles as an advertisement for Pears Soap. He also promoted art through the pages of Pears Annual (published 1890-1921, and price six pence until 1915). Presentation plates like this one were given away as a separate package with the Pears Annual.

Physical description

Colour lithographs of pictorial advertisments, advertising a wide range of products

Place of Origin

London (published)
England (made)


1900 (made)
1890 - 1910 (made)


Unknown (made)
A. & F. Pears Ltd. (publisher)

Materials and Techniques

Colour lithograph


Height: 43 cm, Width: 32.2 cm

Object history note

Published by A&F Pears, London

Descriptive line

Anonymous. Pictorial advertisements c. 1890-1910.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Victoria & Albert Museum, Department of Engraving, Illlustration and Design & Department of Paintings, Accessions 1919, London: His Majesty's Stationery Office, 1921.

Labels and date

British Galleries:
The manufacturers of Pears Soap aimed to link their product with art and culture and their advertisements were sometimes based on paintings by famous artists. The company also published their own 'Pears Annual' which included presentation plates, such as this, for framing and hanging at home. [27/03/2003]


Printing ink


Printing; Colour lithograph


Advertising; Posters


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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