In ancient French bath in a manor house retains its antique atmosphere.
How charming and quintessentially French is this unfitted bath in an updated manor house in Champagne? Of course, it could be Sweden or Belgium too. Styled to look cozy, the room has a settee, a chair and a privacy screen in front of the window. It also appears to be L-shaped, with additional sanitary facilities out of view (or in another room entirely, which sometimes happens in old houses).
In the days before indoor plumbing, servants would have filled the freestanding slipper tub by hand, using buckets of hot water. Today, a more pressing issue would be staying warm while bathing in front of such a the huge French window. The charming may be helpful in blocking drafts, but not entirely. The enormous blue armoire provides a clue to the scale of the space. I calculate the ceiling to be 12 to 14 feet high — at least four times the height of Louis XV sofa (if the back is 3-feet high.)
What’s distinctive though, is the watery blue patina of the cabinet with its lovely worn paint. Legions of chalk-paint ladies would be brandishing their sanding blocks to achieve a similar effect though nothing can quite duplicate original old paint, I believe. The provincial quality of this French bath could not be more picturesque. So while it’s updated, it’s far from modern. Naturally, there’s a nod to practicality with the paneled oval mirror but the general sensibility of the era when bathing was a production, and candlelight ruled, has been generously preserved.
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