Friday, September 30, 2016

Friday Video: Why Share a Picture of a Meal When You Can Eat It? (18thc Style)

Friday, September 30, 2016

Isabella reporting,

Yes, I have an Instagram account, but no, I don't post pictures of food before I eat it (okay, so there was this one pumpkin pie I made for Thanksgiving - pie pride! - but I swear, that's IT.) Having to wait with food on the table while someone else hovers with their phone, trying to compose the perfect shot of their rapidly-cooling meal to post on IG, Yelp, or a personal foodie Just no.

All of which is why I found this advertisement so entertaining. It features that too-familiar, first-world-scenario, but from an 18thc perspective.

Relax, indeed.

If you receive this post via email, you may be seeing an empty space or a black box where the video should be. Click here to view the video.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Newgate Prison and Its Inmates in September 1819

Thursday, September 29, 2016
Newgate Prison—west view
Loretta reports:

My recent book, Dukes Prefer Blondes, features a barrister (trial lawyer) who’s familiar with Newgate Prison and the Old Bailey. As I researched the book, I was already aware that, during the Regency era (some years before my story) England had an extremely high number of capital offenses. According to Albion’s Fatal Tree, “The most recent account suggests that the number of capital statutes grew from about 50 to over 200 between the years 1688 and 1820.”*

As a consequence, we tend to believe that people were being hanged by the droves. What I learned was, people were hanged, yes, including children, but more often, mercy was sought and granted, and the sentence changed to transportation or prison. This may explain the rather shocking nil in the category “Convicts under sentence of death.” You will notice that, even though more men than women were convicted of crimes, more women were sentenced to transportation. At the moment, I can’t explain that one.

*Figures based on Sir Leon Radzinowicz, A History of English Criminal Law and its Administration from 1750.
Newgate Statistics 1819
Newgate Statistics 1819

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

From the Archives: A Gold Box for Rouge & Patches, 1783

Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Isabella reporting:

An 18th c. French lady could take literally hours dressing for an important ball. Just like modern celebrities preparing for the red carpet, a Parisian court beauty required a team of experts to dress and powder her hair, apply her make-up and patches, fasten jewels around her throat and wrists, lace her into her stays, and pin and her into her gown.

But even this carefully crafted magnificence might need a touch-up or two in the course of the evening, and a lady had to be prepared. This little gold box, left, contained a looking glass, a tiny brush, rouge, patches - those black velvet faux beauty marks so well-loved in the 17th-18th centuries.

Just as fashionable artifice reached new heights in the 18th c., so, too, did the craftsmanship that produced this box. This is the work of a master goldsmith: precisely cut and meticulously soldered, with inset hinges and perfectly fitted panels as well as separate compartments for the rouge and patches. The surfaces of the box are beautifully decorated as well in contrasting yellow and white gold. All of this is done on a miniature scale: the box measures only 2-1/8" x 1-1/2" x 5/8".

It's easy to imagine a lady using such a piece for artful flirtation, gracefully opening the little box and fluffing the brush over her cheeks, and, perhaps, coyly using its gleaming reflection to check the interest of the gentleman sitting behind her....

Above left: Box for Rouge and Patches, French (Paris), 1783-84, Varicolored gold. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bequest of Kate Read Blacque. Photos copyright Susan Holloway Scott.
Lower right: Les Adieux, engraving, Jean-Michel Moreau le Jeune, 1777.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Carlton House's Conservatory

Monday, September 26, 2016
Carlton House Conservatory 1811
Loretta reports:

Regency aficionados will recognize the famous 19 June “entertainment” referred to in this description of the Prince Regent’s Conservatory.

What I wanted to point out was the lack of plants in the picture. Apparently, this isn’t just a function of the artist’s wanting to show the space without a lot of trees and flowers in the way. I recall reading somewhere (but have not been able to find the source) that plants were moved into and out of the conservatory as needed. One assumes, consequently, that it didn’t truly house a horticultural collection, in the way we think of conservatories doing. If you have further information about this, please feel free to comment.
Conservatory description

Conservatory description cont'd
For more images of the long-vanished Carlton House, you might want to take a look at David Watkins’s The Royal Interiors of Regency England: from watercolours first published by W.H. Pyne in 1817-20.

You can see some of the images, from the Pyne’s Royal Residences, online here and here.

Clicking on the image will enlarge it.  Clicking on the caption will take you to the source, where you can learn more and enlarge images as needed.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Breakfast Links: Week of September 19, 2016

Saturday, September 24, 2016
Breakfast Links are served - our weekly round-up of fav links to other web sites, articles, blogs, and images via Twitter.
• The long, sad history of accusing women who seek power and influence of ugliness and ill health.
Kingsbridge, the Bronx, NY, neighborhood with royal connections.
• Students, stay in your seats: improving 19thc school desks.
• "Welsh's Splendid Cheap Eating House", the NY beer cellar favored by Edgar Allen Poe and other newspapermen in the 1840s.
• In 1896, P.T. Barnum's grandson threw the greatest bachelor party on earth.
• Fun site to explore: 30 objects from the world of fashion, from the collections of the National Museums of Scotland.
• The real housewives of Jane Austen.
Image: Crinoline forever, and no bathing machine required.
• Welcome to Bluetown, where every other house is a public house and every third house a brothel.
• How do descendants of slaves find their ancestors?
• Highway robbery: the curse of Tupton Hall.
• An octagonal gem: the 1842 McBee Methodist Church in Conestee, SC may be only one of three such surviving churches in the country.
• Were Iron Maidens really medieval torture devices?
• Image: 1916 appeal for aid for horses wounded in active duty during World War One.
• Rags, riches, and cross-class dressing in Elizabethan England.
• Chicago's stylish but forgotten magazine of the Jazz Age.
• "What do you want to be when you grow up?": this 1961 book had the answer for girls.
• Did artists in the Renaissance realize they were in the Renaissance?
Image: In 1907, Madame Decourcelle became Paris' first woman taxi driver.
• The 18thc mystery of the housekeeper's chocolate at Chatsworth, home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire.
Armour for children.
• How did 18th-19thc mariners use log books to keep time?
Sir Hans Sloane: collector, marmoset-owner, and chocolate-popularizer.
• The dome of the US Capitol was built in the Bronx, 1860.
Image: An unusual protective good-luck charm from Word War One.
• Marguerite of Valois, Duchess of Savoy and Berry.
• History's strangest tax? Peter the Great puts a price on beards.
• Quick video: Explore the interior details of this c1805 silk satin dress.
Hungry for more? Follow us on Twitter @2nerdyhistgirls for fresh updates daily.
Above: At Breakfast by Laurits Andersen Ring. Private collection.
Two Nerdy History Girls. Design by Pocket