Christopher Howe is no stranger to the English countryside. The furniture maker and antiques dealer has a warehouse there that’s filled with a vast collection of antique furnishings (treasures he's acquired over the years for his eponymous shop on London's Pimlico Road). That being said, we stopped in our Instagraming tracks when he posted a photo of antique bathtubs strewn across a rolling field recently. Though the service goes unadvertised, it turns out that Howe is happy to assist customers seeking period bath furniture. Say the word and he’ll take you trudging around to his favorite salvage sources (like the top secret field of bathtubs) and help you see the potential in even the most weathered looking roll top. His team will then take care of its full restoration. I’d say priceless but I’m sure it’s not!
That of course got me to thinking about lovely old bathtubs. There's nothing like the curves of an original cast iron. They may not have all the bells and whistles of modern examples (air jets, sustained temperature controls, light therapy...) but their endurance is a testament to authentic craftsmanship, not to mention an unbeatable look. As salvaging goes, there’s something quite reassuring about having someone with Howe’s well-honed eye to help you pick out the diamonds in the rough but if you want to go it alone, here are some of our favorite sources for antique bathtubs across the country:
Devon & Wiltshire
Antique Bathrooms of Ivybridge & Malborough
Cox's Architectural Salvage
Catchpole & Rye
Chadder & Co
From copper to vitreous enamel, these companies sell a vast array of antique baths, both salvaged and fully restored, as well as new reproductions. If you already own an antique bath tarnished by flaking enamel, some even offer re-enameling services to bring them back to life. A worthy investment indeed!
Photograph © Christopher Howe