Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Politicians Take It Easy in 1835

Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Taking It Easy
 Loretta reports:

Figaro in London was one of several 19th-century publications featuring satire and caricature. Among the  famous names in this business were George Cruikshank (whose caricatures have often adorned our blog posts), William Hone, and Leigh Hunt.

Since we’re unfamiliar with the individuals and issues being mocked, with varying degrees of savagery, much of the satire can be impenetrable to us.

In this case, though, I think readers will have no problem relating to Figaro’s satire about legislators—fair or unfair—who seem to have mastered the art of, as Charles Dickens put it, How Not To Do It (please scroll down to Chapter X).
Lord Melbourne

Lord Russell

Images: Head shot of Lord Melbourne from Wikipedia (detail from copy of larger portrait by John Partridge at National Portrait Gallery).

Head shot of Lord Russell via Wikipedia (detail from larger portrait by Lowes Cato Dickinson at National Portrait Gallery).

If you look  up these gentlemen at the National Portrait Gallery, you’ll find numerous paintings and sketches, including somewhat younger versions of themselves, closer to the time of the Figaro piece.

Satiric image, "Taking It Easy ," from Figaro in London.

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.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

From the Archives: Bugler's Cry: The Origin of Sounding Taps

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Isabella reporting,

It's been a few years since we last shared this short video, but I can't think of a better time to post it again.  The bugle call known as Taps is over 150 years old, and from the first notes it's both instantly recognizable and hauntingly evocative – and especially appropriate for Memorial Day in America.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Breakfast Links: Week of May 23, 2016

Saturday, May 28, 2016
Breakfast Links are served - our weekly round-up of fav links to other web sites, articles, blogs, and images via Twitter.
• Arch enemies: a (sometimes uncomfortable) social history of the high heel.
• Unearthing the lost gardens of poet Emily Dickinson.
• Finally: Congress approves Arlington burials for female WWII pilots.
• The extraordinary life of Marianne North, the Victorian gentlewoman who traveled the world.
Image: A mother and young son make flower garlands, c1911-14.
• For better or worse: origins of several popular good and bad luck charms.
• How England's first feline show countered Victorian snobbery about cats, 1871.
• Strange encounter: when Princess Caroline met Empress Marie Louise.
Child actors were kidnapped to order in Shakespeare's day.
• In the days before plastic bags: parcels and boxes for textile purchases in the 19thc.
The New York Times regrets the error, but readers don't.
Image: Hannah Stilley, born in 1746 and photographed in 1840; one of the earliest born individuals captured on film.
• The Jacobite mystery of Cluny's cage.
• The rediscovery of Alexander Hamilton's working papers.
• Reproduction of garments for a young 18thc New England woman, from the 1738 probate inventory for Sarah Williams.
Image: Young women at a domestic training school, 1938.
Agnes Sorel, 15thc mistress of the French king.
• What it's like to be an historical advisor for A-list movies.
• Unearthing the secrets of New York's mass graves.
• Why are there so few knitting patterns in early recipe books?
• How horses helped cure diphtheria.
Image: Sometimes the best pieces in a costume collection come with a story of love attached.
• The New England teachers who invented New Math in 1788.
• Rediscovered photo album shows ill-fated granddaughter of Queen Victoria in happier childhood days.
• The haunted doll of Hokkaido, whose hair won't stop growing.
• "Flower power" to aid 18th-19thc beauty.
• What a difference twenty years makes: two very different 19th trips from Boston to California.
Image: Just for fun: Calvin & Hobbes explain writer's block.
Hungry for more? Follow us on Twitter @2nerdyhistgirls for fresh updates daily.
Above: At Breakfast by Laurits Andersen Ring. Private collection.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Friday Video: Lace in 18thc Virginia

Friday, May 27, 2016

Isabella reporting,

Today nearly all lace is produced by machine, and as a result it decorates everything from lingerie to t-shirts and doll clothes. Lace has lost some of its cachet - but once handmade lace was as valuable and treasured as a piece of fine jewelry. This video from George Washington's Mount Vernon features Sarah Woodyard, journeywoman mantua-maker (one of our favorite historic tradespeople from Colonial Williamsburgand Cynthia Chin of Mount Vernon. Using reproductions made in the shop as examples, Sarah explains the importance of lace to fashionable 18thc Virginians.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Wanstead House, Its Heiress, & Her Unfortunate Choice in Men

Thursday, May 26, 2016
Richard Westall, Wanstead House
Loretta reports:

The clipping from the Annual Register sent me off in 2NHG search of more, as you’d expect, and boy, did I find a story, straight out of melodrama: Young Heiress Ruined By Fortune-Hunting Scoundrel.

A site devoted to Wanstead House tells the story here.

Annual Register May 1823
Further searching led me back to a beautifully illustrated site for Wicked William Pole-Tylney, which Isabella had very recently called to my attention for an altogether different nerdy historical reason (a lovely post on coaching inns). And which included an advertisement for the auction of the house’s contents the previous year.

Geraldine Roberts, who’s written a book about Catherine Tylney Long, The Angel and the Cadoutlines the heiress's story on her website, with many fine images, including the (rare) one of Catherine below.

William Pole-Tylney
Catherine Tylney Long
Image at top: Richard Westall, Wanstead House, undated (I’d guess about 1790s), courtesy Yale Center for British 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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