John Harington's water closet, 1596.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
A detailed illustration and description of a water closet first described by John Harington in his satrical pamphlet 'A New Discourse of a Stale Subject, Called the Metamorphosis of Ajax' in 1596 in which he attacks hypocrisy. This is also a set of instructions for the installation of a water closet, which contained two of the elements of the modern flush toilet - a wash down system and a valve. Harington, who was a godson of Queen Elizabeth I, installed the first water closet in England at Richmond Palace.