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Girls' Head

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1899-1902 (made)
    1890 - 1910 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Davis, Lucien (artist)
    Unknown (made)
    A. & F. Pears Ltd. (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Colour lithograph

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Messrs A. & F. Pears

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case GG, shelf 40

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, which involved reproducing celebrated paintings. Such 'artistic' advertising appeared in the UK in the 1880s. Barratt was particularly keen to use the work of Royal Academicians to add kudos and respectability to his product and so target middle-income customers. He also promoted art through the pages of Pears Annual (published 1890-1921, and price six pence until 1915). Presentation plates were given away as a separate package with the Annual. This image appeared on the cover of Pears' Annual in 1902. Pears bought the painting on which poster was based in November 1898.

Physical description

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

Place of Origin

England (made)


1899-1902 (made)
1890 - 1910 (made)


Davis, Lucien (artist)
Unknown (made)
A. & F. Pears Ltd. (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Colour lithograph

Marks and inscriptions

Across top

Matchless for / the Complexion
Across bottom


Height: 43 cm sheet, Width: 32.8 cm sheet

Object history note

The strapline 'Matchless for the Complexion' was used by Pears between 1880-1920 according to information obtained from Unilever Archives.

Pears bought the painting 'Girl's Head' in November 1898.

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.


Printing ink; Paper


Chromolithography; Colour lithograph



Production Type

Mass produced


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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