Saturday, July 21, 2018

Breakfast Links: Week of July 16, 2018

Saturday, July 21, 2018
Breakfast Links are served! Our weekly round-up of favorite links to other web sites, articles, blogs, and images via Twitter.
• Literary dreams: the 1903 Carnegie Library in Elwood, IN is for sale.
• An account of Peggy Jones, a Regency-era London mud-lark.
• In search of abandoned African-American cemeteries and the stories behind them.
• How two hundred stitches in time saved the lining of an 18thc banyan.
• The last summer of White Court, President Calvin Coolidge's summer White House.
Video: Cozy accommodations for the most miniature of miniature books in the Newberry Library.
• Has supper always meant dinner?
• Beautiful sky blue 1870s silk faille dress, made in Paris.
• How Abigail Adams and Thomas Jefferson became friends - and what finally destroyed the friendship.
• The funeral of Elizabeth Valois, Queen of Spain, 1568.
• Dangerous beauty: new exhibition looks at Medusa in Classical Art.
• The heatwave of 1808.
• The changing place-names of Washington, DC.
Earl Grey tea: a splendid cup of tea with a tasty tale of creation.
• Why NYC needs a tribute to Nellie Bly, 19thc travel writer and journalist, and the original "fearless girl."
• What beds were like in 1776.
• Who will save this old 1840s stone schoolhouse, originally built and given for the education of the children in Hackney?
• Favorite story-tweet of the week features a 95-year-old former firefighter.
Hungry for more? Follow us on Twitter @2nerdyhistgirls for fresh updates daily.
Above: At Breakfast by Laurits Andersen Ring. Private collection.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Friday Video: 18thC Working Women in Summer

Friday, July 20, 2018

Susan reporting,

Here's another short video from our friends at Crow's Eye Productions, featuring two young rural women from 18thc Britain and how they dress for their day as harvest workers. I have to admit that they don't seem to be working particularly hard, but then they'll be working from dawn to dusk, so maybe they're pacing themselves.

Thanks to producer/costume designer Pauline Loven for sharing with us!

If you received 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, July 19, 2018

From the Archives: Dining in July 1815

Thursday, July 19, 2018
Loretta reports:

Since we had a short video about 18th and early 19th C dining last week, now seemed like  good time to bring back this post on what foods were available in July during the Regency era.
The Greengrocer

From The Epicure’s Almanack July Alimentary Calendar:
~~~
The heats of the season now impose the necessity of occasionally substituting a light vegetable diet for the more solid gratification of animal food ... Cauliflowers, artichokes, green-peas, French-beans, Windsor* and other garden beans, frequently form a conspicuous part of the family dinner, to which butcher’s meat, in moderate quantities, may be said to serve merely as an auxiliary stimulant. Ham, bacon, and tongues, as well as ducks and geese, are the most seasonable viands for this purpose ... On festive occasions venison and turtle retain their pre-eminent station at the tables of the opulent, where also the fawn ... forms an elegant dish, when roasted whole and served up with rich gravy. Veal, having now been fed on milk, in its richest state, is peculiarly fine and well flavoured; but care should be taken that it be delivered fresh to the cook, as it is more liable to suffer from the heat of the weather and from flies than any other kind of meat. Ragouts of sweetbreads, oxpalates, lambs’ bits, fat livers, and cocks’-combs, are among the light dishes introduced at superior tables; where also various preparations of curry afford a delectable repast to those who have acquired a taste for this Indian diet.
 ...
 ... a plenteous and varied dessert presents itself at this season; consisting of pines, melons, peaches, cherries, grapes, currants, gooseberries and raspberries, as well as early apples and pears. Fruit is certainly most salubrious in hot weather; but, if the opinion be well founded that it does most good when taken before dinner, the dessert ought to take place of that spurious meal called lunch, which, being usually made of animal food, too often banishes the appetite irrecoverably for the day.

~~~
*broad beans

Excerpted from The Epicure's Almanack: Eating and Drinking in Regency London (The Original 1815 Guidebook).

Image: James Pollard, The Greengrocer (ca 1819) courtesy Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection.

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

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

From the Archives: A Pretty, Witty Pineapple Reticule, c1800

Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Susan reporting:

This past weekend, Jane Austen fans from around the country (and a few from overseas as well) gathered in Louisville, KY for the Jane Austen Society of North America's annual Jane Austen Festival. Nearly all of the participants dress in splendid replicas of the era that they've created themselves, and from the images all over the internet, it's quite a Regency-era fashion show. (On Instagram, the hashtag #janeaustenfestival will lead you down a wonderful rabbit-hole.) 

In the spirit of all those beautifully clad ladies - and maybe a hussy or two - I'm sharing this post again featuring the perfect accessory - including a link to directions for knitting one yourself.

As we've noted here before, the dramatic change in women's fashion in the late 18th and early 19th c not only meant the temporary end of wide skirts with hoops, but also the invention of a necessary new accessory: the purse. Gone were the days when a woman could tuck all her little necessities in an over sized pocket that tied around her waist and was hidden beneath voluminous petticoats. Much as purses are today, the new bags were often as stylish as they were utilitarian, and added a touch of bright color and whimsy to the ubiquitous white muslin gowns.

Many of you mavens of historic dress will recognize the picture of the gown, left. It has appeared in several of the excellent fashion books featuring the holdings of the Kyoto Costume Institute, and is all over fashion history blogs and pages on Pinterest.

The gown is French, c 1800, of silk taffeta with a drawstring waist. The shawl is silk net with an embroidered floral motif and silk fringe, and the hat is also silk net and pongee with a tassel.

But it's the pineapple dangling from the lady's wrist that has always intrigued me. Little bags like this were called reticules, from the French and earlier Latin for a small net or mesh bag. (There's another charming, if unsubstantiated, explanation that the word is a mocking derivative from ridicule, the French word for ridiculous.) Pineapples and other exotic fruit had become a fashion-forward motif thanks to the trendsetting Josephine de Beauharnais Bonaparte, born on the Caribbean island of Martinique. This pineapple-shaped reticule was knitted in yellow and green silk with silver beads for accents, and the top with the leaves pulls open with the tasseled drawstrings. It's a wonderful, witty example of three-dimensional knitting, whether the skilled workmanship of a professional knitter or a dedicated lady.

For a zoomable view of the bag on the Kyoto web site, click here.

The fashion for knitted and crocheted pineapples outlived Napoleon, with directions or "recipes" for them appearing in lady's magazines well into the mid-19th century. One version of the "Pine Apple Bag" appeared in The Lady's Assistant, for executing useful and fancy designs in knitting, netting, and crochetwork, published by Mrs. Jane Gaugain in 1840. Contemporary needleworker/blogger Isabel Gancedo has adapted this pattern for modern knitters, and posted both her version and Mrs. Gaugain's on her website here. Be forewarned: this is a challenging pattern for experienced knitters – but if you're game, the results are delightful!

Above: Photo from Revolution in Fashion 1715-1815, copyright 1990 The Kyoto Costume Institute
Many thanks to Janea Whitacre for pointing me towards Ms. Gancedo's on-line instructions.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Baron de Berenger—Horse Whisperer?

Monday, July 16, 2018

Thomas Alken, A Gentleman Riding With a Groom, and Coversing
Loretta report:

Last year, during my visit to the Kensington Central Library, Dave Walker introduced me to the Baron de Berenger’s gun. Thanks to Dave's introducing me to this colorful character, I’ve spent some time with de Berenger’s Helps and Hints: How to Protect Life and Property. It surprised me in a number of ways.

At the time of my stories, animals tended to be treated brutally. I won’t go into the ugly details, but, generally speaking (of course there were many exceptions) if human life was cheap, non-human life was close to worthless, the RSPCA notwithstanding. And while life was kinder to humans of the privileged classes, they were not necessarily kinder to their animals, especially their horses. And so I was struck with de Berenger’s views on the subject:
“[A] rider should, to appearance at least, be a part of his horse; in the efforts of both these component parts there should seem as if there was but one and the same impulse,— a generous and reciprocal attention to please,—to serve, and to spare; and when that is accomplished, most horses will display as much delight in being rode, as the rider will be delighted in riding such a horse; but to accomplish this to perfection, an intimacy, nay, an affection, must be established between yourself and the generous animal; but which ... cannot be attained by the intercourse which, by far too generally, prevails between fashionable characters and their horses; these poor, willing, and faithful animals, rarely experiencing any other notice, save that of being urged on by whip and spur, to exertions but too frequently woefully distressing to a willing frame ... What has secured to the dog the reputation of being more affectionate, more intelligent, and more faithful, than the horse? Because, even the exquisite will deign to hold a familiar and encouraging intercourse, nay, conversation, with him: not so with the poor horse; except when being cleaned or fed, it stands unnoticed for many hours in dull solitude, at least as far as man is concerned. With him the cheering influence and the enjoyments of the sun are embittered by a portion of severe, because generally inconsiderate, labour; even then, and although enduring willingly, hardly ever to experience the pattings of a condescending hand as a cheap encouragement!  ... nevertheless, and aware as the horse must be that it is led forth to endure straining labour, we see him cheerfully leave the stable, ever as willing slavishly to serve his master, as to please him, in any way, which he is taught to know as agreeable to him. Only familiarize with and pet him, as much as you do the dog, and his best endeavours at least to rival canine affection, intelligence, and fidelity, will soon be placed beyond all doubt.
The entire entry, from which I’ve also included a clipping (at right), is well worth reading. I’d be especially interested in the reactions of our horse-loving/riding/driving Nerdy History persons.

Image: Henry Thomas Alken, A Gentleman Riding With a Groom, and Conversing (undated), courtesy Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection.

 
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