Monday, September 24, 2018

The Landau Carriage

Monday, September 24, 2018
1809 Landau
Loretta reports:

My characters get from here to there in various horse-drawn vehicles, but mainly I've posted about public transportation, like hackney cabs and coaches. Privately owned vehicles have been rather neglected, although I do offer images on my Pinterest page.

In A Duke in Shining Armor, the heroine arrives in a landau to collect her wayward duke. The landau was a coachman-driven vehicle, pulled by two to four horses. It carried four passengers, and was more luxurious than the curricles and cabriolets that dashing heroes tend to drive in our stories. The latter are more like sports cars. The former are more like luxury sedans.

Something to bear in mind: Unlike today, vehicles did not come off an assembly line. They were individually made, and the owner might have been closely involved in the design.* Consequently, not all landaus look alike. Earlier ones were often built on square lines, but not always, as the 1809 Ackermann illustration, above, shows. Some interesting aspects of the landau, as pointed out here, are the seating design, allowing the two pairs of passengers to face each other, and the two folding hoods. According to Discovering Horse-Drawn Carriages, “In the early days, the hoods were made of harness leather and fell back a mere forty-five degrees.” When these early hoods were up, the interior could be hot, stuffy, and smelly, thanks to the oil and blacking used to keep the leather nice and shiny. In later vehicles, the hoods folded back flat.
Square Landau

A much later and fancier vehicle, one of the royal family’s Ascot landaus, was the carriage the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (aka Harry & Meghan) used for their wedding.

Here’s a late Victorian landau from the Horse and Carriage Museum Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, France. And this is one you can buy.

You can read more about landaus here at All Things Georgian.

*This is why some vehicles, like the Stanhope gig, are named after people.

Images: Patent Landau, Ackermann’s Repository, February 1809; Square Landau, NEN Gallery, Luton Culture Museum Service.

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. And just so you know, if you order an item through one of my posts, I might get a small share of the sale.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Breakfast Links: Week of September 17, 2018

Saturday, September 22, 2018
Breakfast Links are served! Our weekly round-up of favorite links to other web sites, articles, blogs, and images via Twitter.
• "Telling the bees": In 19thc New England, it was held to be essential to whisper to beehives of a loved one's death.
Wynflaed and the price of fashion: a rare 11thc manuscript will describes one woman's wardrobe.
• Alexander Hamilton and the lacemaking industry of Ipswich, MA.
Felix Nadar in the gondola of a balloon - and how this carte-de-viste was intended to help promote his costly ballooning ventures.
• Not for the shy: spectacular tartan Lord of the Isles suit worn by the Duke of Windsor.
Image: Rose gathered between the trenches on the Western Front, 1918, and more on the 19-year-old soldier who sent it home to his sweetheart.
Jane Austen's curious banking story makes her an apt face for the £10 note.
• Creole comforts and French connections: a case study in 18thc Caribbean dress.
• The 10thc teenaged English princess who defied a bishop over fashion.
• Ten vintage canes with amazing hidden features.
• Every picture tells a story - or does it? Examining two photos of romanticized train stations.
• A day in the life of a 19thc East India Company Director.
• The longest - and the shortest - reigns of the Middle Ages.
• Abraham Lincoln and the "sublime heroism" of British cotton workers.
• Old London landmarks: Fendall's Coffee House and Family Hotel.
• The story continues - much more about the Dido Elizabeth Belle portrait.
• The continuing power of literary relics: Shelley's ashes and Byron's hair.
• Rediscovering a missing evening dress worn by Queen Alexandra.
• Just for fun: the peekaboo cockatiel.
Hungry for more? Follow us on Twitter @2nerdyhistgirls for fresh updates daily.
Above: At Breakfast by Laurits Andersen Ring. Private collection.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Friday Video: Recreating Madame Récamier's Coiffure

Friday, September 21, 2018

Chinard, Mme Récamier
Loretta reports:

I have mentioned Madame Récamier before, mainly in connection with furniture (here and here). She is quite well known among Regency/Napoleonic era aficionados, both for her portraits and her salon.

The Gérard and David portraits of her will be familiar to many. However, being mainly interested in the chaise longue, I hadn’t really noticed the marble bust by Joseph Chirard, until I came upon Janet Stephens’s video. Ms Stephens has posted several YouTube videos explaining Greek and Roman hair styles, which in turn help us get a better sense of the powerful influence of Greek and Roman statuary on this period of fashion in Europe and America.

Image: Bust of Juliette Récamier by Joseph Chinard, in "Musée des Beaux-arts" of Lyon (France), photo by Philippe Alès, Creative Commons license.
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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

"Moral Poison": The Evils of Reading Novels, 1864

Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Susan reporting,

Loretta and I have written so many posts for this blog over the years - nearly a decade's worth! - that we've forgotten a good many of them. Fortunately, our readers haven't. This one surfaced yesterday on Twitter (thank you, Lucy Paquette), and I thought it deserved another appearance here as I wallow through deadline-itis.

In an earlier post, I shared an 18thc warning against women reading romances. By 1860, those who worried about everyone else's reading habits had expanded their concerns, including all novels read not only by women, but by men as well. Apparently novels were dangerous.

The warnings below come from a religious tract published in New York in 1864. A Pastor's Jottings; or, Striking Scenes during a Ministry of Thirty-Five Years was printed anonymously because, as the prefatory note explains, the author "could thus write with more freedom." That same note assures us that "the statements of this volume are all literally true."

Among the many things (this book is nearly 350 pages long) that distress this unknown pastor, novels - that "moral poison" - are right there at the top of the list: "The minds of novel readers are intoxicated, their rest is broken, their health shattered, and their prospect of usefulness blighted."

But he doesn't want us simply to take his word for it. Apparently even novels by Charles Dickens are suspect, and he quotes the famous educator Dr. Thomas Arnold of Rugby School fame to prove it:

Childishness in boys even of good ability seems to be a growing fault; and I do not know what to ascribe it, except to the great number of exciting books of amusement, like Pickwick, Nickleby, Bentley's Magazine, etc...that leave [a boy] totally palled, not only for his regular work, but for literature of all sorts.

Nor are women exempt from the terrible influences of novel-reading. In fact (remember, this is all LITERALLY TRUE), according to the pastor, women suffer even more:

Listen to the evidence given by a physician in Massachusetts: 'I have seen a young lady with her table loaded with volumes of fictitious trash, poring day after day and night after night over highly wrought scenes and skillfully portrayed pictures of romance, until her cheeks grew pale, her eyes became wild and restless, and her mind wandered and was lost – the light of intelligence passed behind a cloud, and her soul was forever benighted. She was insane, incurably insane from reading novels.'

But insanity is only the beginning:

Not very long since, a double suicide was a young married couple from Ohio, who were clearly proved to be led to ruin and death by these most pernicious books....Police officers too in London and some of our own large cities, have given mournful evidence of the results of some of these novels when dramatized and performed on the stage, as leading to burglaries and murder.

Suicide, madness, burglaries, and murder! As an unrepentant novelist, I clearly have much to answer for. While for obvious reasons, I don't want you to see the error of your ways, but if you'd like to read more of the Unnamed Pastor's edifying work, here's the link to his book, available to read for free via Google Books.

Thanks to Clive Thompson, who shared quotes from A Pastor's Jottings on Twitter.

Above: The Pink Domino; print made by William Henry Mote after Frank Stone, c1833-1835. The British Museum.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Ladies' Facilities in the 1700s to 1900s

Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Loretta reports:

In the course of trying to get a bit more information about this Victorian era public urinal, at the Museum of London, I wound up in a dead end. All I know about it is more or less what I’d learned about the public facilities in Paris.

However, I did discover more about how and where ladies answered Nature’s call during the 18th and 19th centuries. The short answer: It wasn't easy.

These days, we are frustrated by the long lines outside ladies’ lavatories: Why don’t they install more stalls? But at least we can find rather nice facilities. In London, for instance, I found such interesting and elegant ones that I started photographing them.

In the time of my stories, ladies’ public facilities were not so elegant, to the extent that they existed at all.

According to the Museum of London’s feature on Vauxhall Gardens:
“Respectable’ women, in particular, were suddenly in a situation where access to a discreet and reasonably hygienic toilet facility could not be taken for granted. In Vauxhall, a communal women’s privy appears to have existed, and was illustrated in a satirical print by the artist Thomas Rowlandson, although this may be an exaggerated representation – Rowlandson was known for his scatological and titillating images of women. Still, many women – and men – must have taken advantage of the garden’s dark corners and convenient plants.”
The Inside of Lady's Garden at Vauxhall (1788)
Susan has discussed this Rowlandson illustration in detail here. You can read the full Museum of London article here.

It's rather shocking to discover that it wasn’t until the 1920s that busineses began providing accommodations for women . This was also, I notice, about the time that women got the vote.

Rowlandson, Sympathy, or A Family On A Journey Laying The Dust (1784),
Images: Victorian urinal at Museum of London photograph by me; Rowlandson, The Inside of Lady's Garden at Vauxhall (1788), courtesy Yale University Library; Thomas Rowlandson, Sympathy, or A Family On A Journey Laying The Dust (1784), courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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.

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