‘For the Ladies’

John Strachan looks at women and advertising in late Georgian England.

Later advertisement for Pears soap dating from 1884

Historians have in recent years paid little attention to the cultural significance of advertising before the 1840s, often dismissing pre-Victorian promotional copy as ‘primitive’. Yet advertisements of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries are both fascinating and socially revealing. England in this period saw significant developments in advertising. Alongside the introduction of nationwide systems of product distribution and a growing awareness of the potential of brand marketing, advertisers became increasingly sophisticated in targeting specific audiences in terms of region, social class and gender.

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