Saturday, November 20, 2010

How British Was Queen Victoria? (Silly historical video time again)

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Another delightfully silly video from our favorite Horrible Histories, with their usual little edge to the humor. The point of this video – that often the things considered most thoroughly British were in fact imported from somewhere else – is one more commonly made against us Americans.

In our enthusiasm to display our Yankee-Doodle-Dandy patriotic fervor, we (particularly politicians) too often slap the "All American" tag on things that really aren't. Denim jeans are one of the examples that comes immediately to mind. We've all heard the tale of how, in 1853, enterprising Levi Strauss created sturdy work pants for the miners of the California Gold Rush, and an entire denim world was born. What could be more thoroughly American than jeans?  (Of course this glosses over the fact that Strauss was a German immigrant, and that his fabric of choice was serge de Nimes, a heavy twill imported from France.)

Now a recently rediscovered series of 17th century paintings by a forgotten Italian artist have tossed that assumption out the window. Based on the evidence of these pictures by the newly-dubbed "Master of the Blue Jeans", it seems that denim clothing has been around for a lot longer than the United States.

Queen Victoria would understand.

Hope you enjoy!

8 comments:

Theresa Bruno said...

Thank you for the good laugh!

Anonymous said...

They forgot to mention that the English china she was drinking her British tea from was actually invented in China!

Thanks for the laugh :-D.

Deb said...

I've read that Victoria actually spoke with a slight German accent--which, perhaps, is not surprising, given that she was raised by her German mother and that the entire family on her father's side had been intermarrying with their German cousins for generations.

Anonymous said...

Sorry -- those really do not resemble blue jeans, Remember, what Strauss claimed as his design was the whole thing, especially the riveted wear-points. :) The rivets were specifically called out in his early advertisements. A trouser made of blue denim does NOT equal Levi's or Wranglers! :)

Erika Sundeen said...

Hahaha, I love it!

Erika Sundeen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bearded Lady said...

that is so funny. I had always bought that Levi Strauss story. I think I have even repeated it a few times to anyone who would listen.

Juliette said...

There's a birlliant bit in Blackadder Goes forth where Blackadder is interrogating Captain Darling, threatening to arrest him as a spy...
Darling: I'm as British as Queen Victoria!
Blackadder: Oh so you're you're half-German, your mother's German and you married a German?!

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