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“YOU DIRTY BOY!”, 1880s

© 2021 Royal Pharmaceutical Society


This painted plaster model is advertising Pears Soap. It shows an old woman, wearing a bonnet and a shawl, scrubbing the face of a small boy. On the base are the words; ‘From the original Pears Soap sculpture “YOU DIRTY BOY” (after G. Focardi)’. Giovanni Focardi was the original artist.

Advertisements for copies of the “YOU DIRTY BOY” statuette were published in the Chemists’ and Druggists’ Diary from 1880-1888. The original marble statuette of “You Dirty Boy” was exhibited at the 1878 Paris Exhibition.


This model is based on a scene witnessed by the artist while staying in a hotel in Preston. When recreating it for the model, buckets of water were repeatedly thrown at the boy in order to keep his facial expression.