Among other things, the book offers a clue to how matters stood regarding makeup. The contents make it clear that it was acceptable for women—and not just actresses and harlots—to wear make-up.
Though the author recommends making beauty aids at home—and offers many dire warnings regarding toxic ingredients—ladies could and did buy them from their favorite perfumer.
One could buy rouge in dishes, of which there were two kinds, Portugal-made (superior & costlier) and London-made. One could also buy small cakes of rouge-tinged Spanish wool (I’m picturing felt, but welcome explanations from our experts)—the London-made being superior to the Spanish-made.
There were also color papers. One variety was rouge-tinged paper, “chiefly for the convenience of carrying it in a pocket-book.” Another, from China, came in fragile 3” diameter “large, round, loose cakes.” The wool that holds the rouge is described as being “like carded wool,” and apparently, the color flaked off easily.
China also provided color boxes, which “contain each two dozen of papers; and in each paper are three smaller ones, viz., a small black paper for the eyebrows; a paper of the same size, of a fine green colour; but which, when just arrived and fresh, makes a very fine red for the face; and lastly, a paper containing about half an ounce of white powder (prepared from real pearl), for giving an alabaster colour to some parts of the face and neck.”
There’s a big difference in how we use history. But we’re equally nuts about it. To us, the everyday details of life in the past are things to talk about, ponder, make fun of -- much in the way normal people talk about their favorite reality show.
We talk about who’s wearing what and who’s sleeping with whom. We try to sort out rumor or myth from fact. We thought there must be at least three other people out there who think history’s fascinating and fun, too. This blog is for them.