The advertisement generated comment and jokes before Joyce adopted it, as in Frank Leslie’s Pleasant Hours (1873: vol. 13, p. 476):
... in the interests of decency, we protest against the coolness of a certain tradesman who advertises daily that be "has left off clothes of every description".
and the Cleveland (Ohio) Medical Gazette of 1893 (vol. 8, p. 38):
A friend walking down Piccadilly one day saw this announcement in a show window: "Mr. and Mrs. Brown have left off clothes of every description, and invite your careful inspection at a shilling a head."
In 1894 the fashionable Pall Mall Magazine offered much the same humorous fare:
But the summit was probably reached in the startling advertisement: "Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Hyam have left off clothes of every description" — an announcement which must have caused considerable pain and surprise to Mr. and Mrs. Hyam's friends.
Pall Mall Magazine, volume 4, p. 230