Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Return Engagement: Queen Victoria's Wedding Cake

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Loretta reports:

[Update: I've moved to an island for a while, and am temporarily  unable to access some of my stuff electronically.  Thus today's repeat performance, in honor of Queen Victoria's wedding anniversary, coming up this weekend.]

When Queen Victoria got married on 10 February 1840, she was not, as many believe, the first bride to wear a white wedding dress—though it was a new look for royals, who’d previously inclined toward silver.  Still, she did start a fashion for BIG royal weddings.  Previously, these had been relatively quiet, private affairs.  But then, hers was a big deal—the first wedding of a reigning queen since Queen Mary in 1554.

The wedding cake was a big deal, too. 

“If taste of design only equal what appears to be intended for the actual dimensions, it will beat any bride-cake ever seen.”*

  5. THE ROYAL WEDDING CAKE. —A select few have been gratified with a sight of the royal wedding cake at the apartments of the confectionary in St. James's palace, but it is described as consisting of the most exquisite compounds of all the rich things with which the most expensive cakes can be composed, mingled and mixed together into delightful harmony by the most elaborate science of the confectioner. This royal cake weighs nearly 300 lb. weight. It is three yards in circumference, and about fourteen inches in depth or thickness. It is covered with sugar of the purest white; on the top is seen the figure of Britannia in the act of blessing the illustrious bride and bridegroom, who are dressed somewhat incongruously in the costume of ancient Rome. These figures are not quite a foot in height; at the feet of his serene highness is the effigy of a dog, said to denote fidelity; and at the feet of the queen is a pair of turtle doves, denoting the felicities of the marriage state. A cupid is writing in a volume expanded on his knees the date of the day of the marriage, and various other cupids are sporting and enjoying themselves as such interesting little individuals generally do. These little figures are well modelled. On the top of the cake are numerous bouquets of white flowers tied with true lovers' knots of white satin riband, intended for presents to the guests at the nuptial breakfast. This elegant emblem of the felicities of marriage will be placed on the breakfast table of the queen at Buckingham palace at the breakfast which is to succeed the ceremonies in the chapel royal.
1840 Annual Register.

*The Mirror of literature, amusement, and instruction, Volume 35, 1840.


MrsC (Maryanne) said...

"various other cupids are sporting and enjoying themselves as such interesting little individuals generally do." This line always makes me laugh, it sounds so very droll!
Also, for years I thought the cake was 3 yards in DIAMETER!! I really am terrible at math. Circumference is SO much more reasonable :)

Mary Hart Perry said...

This is ever so cool. I've been writing stories with Victoria and her daughters (The Wild Princess)and therefore doing a lot of research on her. I believe when I visited London last fall I saw her wedding dress on display at Kensington Palace.Love your blogs--they are amazing!

CZEdwards said...

That cake top explains so much about the future Albert Memorial. Representational art, indeed.

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