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Objects in Focus: Trade Bills

In the eighteenth century, shopping became more than just about acquiring goods. It was a pastime and leisure activity, especially for the rising middling classes. London shopkeepers were at the forefront of marketing innovation. They advertised their wares and services in newspapers and through trade cards and bill heads given to customers that often recorded their purchases. Trade cards also reminded customers of specific shops.

In this video Elenor Ling discusses the trade cards at the Fitzwilliam Museum and the social history relating to them. Some of the trade cards discussed are on display in Treasured Possessions.

For more information on the Fitzwiliam Museum's collection of trade bills, please see the online exhibition.

From the collection

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Mourning Rings