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Posts Tagged ‘19th century’

This post is the second part of Byron sources, part one is located here

The other day I attended a theatre show, where the tv program where a dateable girl has to pick one of three bachelors was played. The girl was Richardson’s Pamela, and her choice of men were Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Oscar Wilde (he left early because he was gay.) In the end, Pamela was dragged off stage by Lord Byron, who cackled.

BBC’s Byron
The BBC serie about Byron was by far the most interesting thing I ever saw. If you know BBC series, you know they’re not shy about the, er, less pretty facts of someone’s life, so this serie might not be one you want to show to young children. (Although it’s not very explicit.) The best thing I think is, because it’s so beautiful and interesting, you remember a lot and can appear as a smart person to your peers because you know all kinds of facts about Byron, just by watching a movie. It seems very honest in its representation of Byron’s life.
My only remark would be: show us a little bit more Shelley!

Here are some Byron icons from the BBC series, if you feel Byron should represent you on various messageboards across the net.

You can send your child to Byron Bible Camp. I was very surprised for a minute, until I realised it’s probably named after a different Byron.

You can visit Byron’s home, which is very beautiful.

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I think everyone knows about Byron. And if you don’t, it’s only a Wikipedia click away. So I won’t tell you about his life story or works, instead, I’ll review some sources that might be fun to read, or shed a new light.

To read about Byron in an unconventional way, you can read John Crowley’s “The Evening Land” (Amazon link) (I see the American cover has art by Friedrich, which is very curious indeed.) This book is about a lost manuscript by lord Byron (who all of a sudden wrote proze, apparently.) It was found by his daughter, Ada Lovelace, who said she destroyed it but actually wove it into a blanket, and wrote about it, in code. These writings are found by a girl who works in London, and writes emails to her father, with whom she does not have a very good relationship, and to her lesbian lover who is still in America. Confused yet? Yes, so was I, and after a while I started skipping the parts that are Byron’s story (they read a bit forced, like most things that use archaic words to sound authentic) and only read the emails, (which also read a bit forced, because one of them uses a ‘hip email language’ without an interpunction, that I don’t think anyone uses) because the story of the two girls was quite a bit more interesting. Actually, I must admit, I have yet to finish the book. But, it’s quit educational and gives you lots of Byron facts without really ‘teaching’ or being annoying about it.

After reading it, you might be up for a Byron fun facts in pop-quiz format:
Byron, the bad boy of poetry.

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Last time I gave a link to some great mustaches. But it was not easy to maintain such an accessory for the face. In the movie ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ (highly recommended!) you can see Hercule Poirot wearing a special mustache-protecting device when he goes to sleep, in order to keep the ‘stache in the right shape. But, more drastic measures were taken. Fellow blogger Rob Campbell from Dumpdiggers told me:

We sometimes find ‘mustache cups’ when we are digging in century old dumps here in Toronto.

A mustache cup was no different than a regular tea cup (or coffee cup) except it contained a flap of porcelain on the top of the ceramic cylinder that would protect a man’s moustache from becoming soaked with beverage whilst he was sipping the brew. Of course, ladies suffer for beauty, also. Here is how one puts on a hoop skirt:

Found on the great site engelfriet.net, which is sadly all in Dutch. He also mentions that, at the ultimate width of hoopskirts, ladies carried little dogs on them…I so wish this was true, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen any picture evidence.

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Today some random bits ‘n bobs that didn’t fit into the other posts.

Food preservation
Before the Victorian Era, food preservation techniques such as salting, pickling, drying, and smoking had changed little. The theory of canning was first developed in the 18th century with “dried soups” that were made by reducing stocks to a “glue” that could be reconstituted when needed, but they never attained much popularity outside the navy. However, by the 1880s, largely in response to Pasteur’s theories about disease and putrefaction, scientists experimented with chemicals to kill germs and bacteria in food. These early attempts often proved fatal to those who ate the “preserved” food, but legislation to control the use of chemicals for preserving food was not developed until 1901. The first tin cans in which preserved foods were packaged came with the simple instruction, “Cut around the top outer edge with a chisel and hammer.”

The next is taken from this livejournal post, there’s also a few recipes.

Hints for Gentlewoman at Table.
A Gentlewoman being at table abroad or at home must observe to keep her Body straight, and lean not by any means with her Elbows, or by ravenous Gesture discover a voracious appetite; talk not when you have Meat in your Mouth; do not smack like a Pig nor venture to eat spoonmeat so hot that the Tears stand in your Eyes, which his as unseemly as the Gentlewoman who pretended to have as little Stomach as she had Mouth, and therefore would not swallow her Peas by Spoonful, but took them one by one and cut them in two before she would eat them. It is very uncomely to drink so large a Draught that your Breath is almost gone, and are forced to blow strongly to recover yourself, throwing down your Liquor as into a Funnel is an Action fitter for a Juggler than a Gentlewoman. In carving at your own Table distribute the best Pieces first, and it will appear very comely and decent to use a Fork, so touch no piece of Meat without it.

To Extinguish Fire in the Female Dresses
So many fatal Accidents arise from light Dresses catching Fire no Manual for Females is complete without the following cautions.

1st. Let every Female mind be impressed that Flame tends always upward: that she will burn more rapidly if upright than if laid on the Floor.

2nd. Give instant alarm by screaming or pulling the Bell, (which is usually near the fire-place), but if possible avoid opening the door.

3rd. The Alarm should be given while the Female is rolling in the rug, tearing off the burnt clothes, or turning her clothes over her head.

4th. A Man may quickly strip off his coat and wrap it around a Female.

5th. If the Victim cannot save herself entire, let her protect her bosom and the face by crossing her hands and arms over these parts.

6th. A Piece of green or scarlet-baize called a Fire-extinguisher should be in universal Use in Sitting-Rooms and Nurseries, and its Name and use known, although it serve as a Table or Piano-forte Cover.

7th. Let the injured Person have cold Water plentifully pored over them if they cannot be immersed in water till Medical Advice is obtained.

More Victorian recipes

And even more recipes

This post is part of a series on cooking! Follow the links to see the other posts:
A Victorian Christmas
Upperclass dinner
Victorian kitchens
Links to recipes & etiquette

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      Around 1800 the first stove that was made to cook on was developed by Benjamin Thompson, it was called the Rumford Stove. (Up to 1800, stoves were mostly used for heating, not for cooking.) One fire was used to heat several pots, which hung in the fire through various holes on top of the stove. This stove however was too large for domestic use.
     In 1834 the Oberlin Stove was patented in the US, it was the same technique but made smaller for domestic use. In the following 30 years 90,000 units were sold. During this time, the stoves still worked on wood or coal; while gas was available but it wasn’t used until late in the 19th century.
     Towards the end of the 19th century, more and more houses got water and sewer pipes, and also gas pipes (used for light.) These pipes were later used to provide gas for the first gas stoves (around 1880.)
     In 1893 the first electrical stove was presented in Chicago, but only in 1930 these stoves were advanced enough to be sold for domestic use.
     Because the small houses of the working closses, the kitchen was often used for living and sleeping, and also as a bathing room. (No wonder: due to the stove that was almost constantly on, this room was probably the warmest place in the house!) While pots and kitchenware was usually stored on open shelves in the kitchen, curtains were used to seperate them from the rest of the room.
     Upperclass kitchens were of course the territory of servants only. Gradually, these houses got water pumps, sinks, drains, and sometimes even water on tap. With the closed stoves the kitchen became a cleaner place, because the fire was more restricted.

     During the 19th century, new kitchen appliances were invented and patented, for example the cork-shaper (to shape corks to fit into different bottles,) the can-opener and the corkshrew

victorian kitchens & cooking

victorian kitchens & cooking

An exhibition of kitchen wares.

This post is part of a series on cooking! Follow the links to see the other posts:
A Victorian Christmas
Upperclass dinner
Victorian cooking
Links to recipes & etiquette

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The architect that most accurately captures the spirit of the Art Nouveau (or Jugendstil) is, in my opinion, Victor Horta. Horta was born in 1861 in Ghent (Belgium) and started his carreer as a interior designer in Montmartre, Paris. After his father’s death he moved to Brussels, where he graduated at the Academy of Arts and received his first gold medal for his art.
A year after graduating he started his own bureau, entered many contests and networked a lot, which paid off because Horta became a very popular artist. His design for the Hotel Tassel in 1893 is generally seen as the start of the Art Nouveau. He introduced many new concepts in architecture, which are still used today, for example the bel étage and the soutterain.

Due to copyright issues, not a lot of Horta architecture pictures are online (and you can’t take pictures in the museum!) So if you’re ever visiting Brussels, checking out some Horta buildings will be definately worth the effort!

victor horta hotel tassel staircase
The famous staircase in Hotel Tassel

horta tassel hotel entrance
The entrance of the Hotel Tassel

victor horta rue americaine
Rue Americaine

The website of the Horta museum, with lots of info.

The Lifejournal community for Art Nouveau

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I wish to write something awe-inspiring and insightful, but I’m really tired. Maybe you’re really tired too, and just feel like flipping through pictures. Here are some of my favourite sites with Victorian prints and photographs. And I promise a decent update for sunday ;)

Victorian photographs

the 100 year old photo group on Flickr.

The database of mid-Victorian wood engravings.

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I first saw this kind of trousers at my job, sorting costumes, and I thought it was pretty smart. They are called ‘fall front trousers,’
‘drop front trousers,’ or sometimes ‘flap pants.’ Zippers were not in use in the nineteenth century, and having a button front closure on trousers might have been seen as uncomfortable or not elegant enough, the trousers were closed with a ‘flap’ which buttons on the sides or top. Under the flap, the waistband has a front closure so you can open the flap without dropping trou (convenient, convenient.) The pockets are also located under the flap. Trousers like this were worn from the French Revolution onwards (1790s), around 1840 the centered trouser closure was introduced but for a long time the two styles existed simultaneously.



Picture credit to vintagetextiles.com


My very favourite emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was a big fan.

Now you might think, I want one of those! Luckily, Marc Jacobs thinks they’re very sexy too:

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The movie ‘Immortal Beloved’ is a movie that I have mixed feelings about. Visually, this movie is great: beautiful interiors; the costumes are, even though not totally historically correct, very beautiful; the haircuts are a lot more varied then the ‘curly updo’ thing you usually see in costume movies. It’s also one of the few movies using mittaines (little gloves covering the wrist) and big shawls which to me are essential for Victorian outfits. And of course during the entire movie you can hear the beautiful music of Beethoven.
The use of two Dutch actors for two important roles seems curious, but their accented speech gives the movie a fitting, foreign, feeling.

What bothered me is above all, Gary Oldman, but that’s a personal quirk. The movie moves between different timeperiods so it’s hard to keep track of what happens sometimes. The movie shows Beethoven as a crazy, unlovable person, keen on bothering and annoying others. The movie puts Johanna van Beethoven forward as the Immortal Beloved, while current popular opinion favours Antonie Brentano.
The letter to the Unsterbliche Geliebte (immortal beloved) actually exists, but there is no consensus among Beethoven scholars as to the true identity of the intended recipient. Ladies who are considered possible recipients are: Giulietta Guicciardi, Therese von Brunswick, Antonie Brentano, Johanna van Beethoven, and Countess Anna-Marie Erdődy, almost all are featured in the movie.

Scholars have never identified who the woman was, but the film’s director, Bernard Rose, has controversially claimed in an interview that he has successfully identified the woman whom Beethoven loved and he shows his opinion in the movie.

In conclusion, this movie is beautifully made, with stunning visuals and music. Whether it is believable from a more academic point of view is to be debated. Some Beethoven lovers favour ‘Un Grand Amour de Beethoven’, so if you have the chance, make sure to watch it!

For more info on Beethoven himself you might want to check out this site (scroll past the Dutch intro), it has a great faq with lots of resources for further reading.

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It being wednesday, here are the last two of my Japanese Victorian prints…They still amuse me.


Click for larger!

I always love victorian recipes. Usually they hardly give any information, because they assume you already know how to cook and basically only give suggestions on ingredients and new things to try. One of my favourite resources is Goode Cookery, with tons of recipes ranging from super yummy to kinda silly! Another great site especially for tea parties is this one, with lots of cake and fingerfood, and this site, which also has a lot of cake recipes.

Of course, after cooking up your delicious food, you want to eat it in the right manner! Here is a site on victorian dinner etiquette!

This post is part of a series on cooking! Follow the links to see the other posts:
A Victorian Christmas
Upperclass dinner
Victorian cooking
Victorian kitchens

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