Celebrity Sightings At Vauxhall Gardens

Vauxhall Gardens, a pleasure garden located in Kennington on the south bank of the River Thames, was one of the leading venues for public entertainment in London, from the mid-17th century to the mid-19th century. Initially entrance was free. The owners made money by selling food and drinks. But as its attractions expanded, an admission fee was charged too.

The gardens boasted a rococo Turkish tent, a Rotunda, several buildings in the chinoiserie style, a statue of George Frederic Handel, and walks so intricate and private they were often used for romantic assignations. Performances were frequent. Crowds gathered to watch tightrope walkers, fireworks, concerts (the most famous singers and musicians of the day, such as Handel, played there), and hot-air balloon ascents. In 1817, they even hosted a re-enactment of the Battle of Waterloo.

All the most popular celebrities of the day could be frequently seen at Vauxhall Gardens. This print by Thomas Rowlandson has immortalized quite a few. In the centre, wearing a white dress, there's Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. She's with her sister Harriet, who's wearing a blue riding habit. The two sisters, who were very close, are no doubt gossiping about their acquaintances, who are, in turn, talking about them.

Everything the Duchess did interested the papers and their readers. Next to the sisters, we can see Sir Henry Bate, the editor of the Morning Herald, and James Perry (he's wearing a kilt), the editor of The Morning Chronicle, a rival publication. You can bet the sisters' outing at Vauxhall Gardens will be reported by their papers the following day, hopefully accompanied by some juicy bits of gossip, if they can overhear any worth reporting from the ladies' own lips.

Farther to the right, the Prince of Wales, future George IV, is whispering something romantic into the gorgeous Perdita's ear. Mary Perdita Robinson and the Prince were lovers, but their affair had ended by the time Rowlandson draw this picture. Next to them stands Perdita's husband, but no one is paying much attention to him.

In the dining box, enjoying a hearty meal, is Samuel Johnson, the author of the famous "Dictionary". He's eating with writers Mrs Thrale, Boswell, and Goldsmith. Jonhson's friend Topham Beauclerk, a famous wit, is observing some ladies with his monocle.

More difficult is the identification of the performers. Some historians believe the singer to be Mrs. Weichsel, others her daughter, Elizabeth Billington. The identity of the composer leading the orchestra, instead, is certain. He's François-Hippolyte Barthélémon.

Can you identify any other celebrity?

Maria Theresa Of Spain, First Wife Of Louis XIV

Maria Theresa of Spain, the daughter of King Philip IV, and his wife Elisabeth of France, was born at El Escorial in 1638. Sadly, her mother died when she was only 6, and her father, who adored his daughter, soon remarried. The new queen, Mariana of Austria wasn't too interested in the little girl and often neglected her.

Spain, at the time, was at war with France. But everyone was tiring of it. To secure peace, a marriage between Maria Theresa and Louis XIV was suggested. The negations were long, complicated not just by war but by the Spanish law of succession. Spanish princesses could inherit the throne too, and Maria Theresa had already been heiress presumptive twice, upon the deaths of her two brothers, Balthasar Charles and Philip Prospero. If her surviving brother, Prince Charles, were to die too, the crowns of Spain and France would be united.

The French loved that prospect. The Spanish, afraid they would become subservient to the French, not so much. They insisted on a renunciation clause that would deprive Maria Theresa and her offspring of any rights to the Spanish throne. The French agreed but on one condition. In such an eventuality, to make up for such a loss, Spain would have to pay a large dowry to France. When the moment came, Spain, impoverished by decades of war, was unable to do so. But that's a story for another post.

When the negotiations were over, and all matters settled, Maria Theresa left Spain for France. On 9 June 1660, Maria Theresa and Louis XIV were married at the church of Saint Jean the Baptist in Saint-Jean-de-Luz. At first all was well between the couple, but soon Maria Theresa started to put on weight and Louis' eye to wander. He had many affairs, and in 1661, installed Louise de La Vallerie as his first official mistress. The Queen was very hurt by it.

Virtuous and pious, she started to withdraw more and more from court, and spend more time with her circles of dwarfs, the traditional attendants to a Spanish infanta (besides, her ladies-in-waiting could easily catch the King's eye). She also found comfort in her faith and, when they asked for it, she always forgave both her husband and her mistresses. Years later she would even enjoy a friendly relationship with another of Louis' mistresses, Madame de Maintenon, grateful that she encouraged her lover to pay more attention to her (although the King had never, infidelities aside, treated her with disrespect).

Maria Theresa also became close to her mother-in-law, Anne of Austria, and, in her free time, could often be found playing cards and gambling. She had no interest in politics, and played little part in it, only acting as regent for short periods of time when Louis was away on war campaigns. In November 1661, she gave birth to her first child, a son and heir to the Spanish throne. In the following years, she would give her husband five more children. Unfortunately, only her oldest son, Louis, would survive childhood, but not long enough to become king.

In 1683, a tumour was discovered under her arm. Soon, the Queen fell gravely ill and, on 30 July, she died. "This is the first trouble which she has given me," Louis XIV remarked upon her death.

Further reading:
Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King by Antonia Fraser
The Mad Monarchist

Emperor Joseph Visits Versailles

From the time of Louis XVI.'s accession to the throne, the Queen had been expecting a visit from her brother, the Emperor Joseph II. That Prince was the constant theme of her discourse. She boasted of his intelligence, his love of occupation, his military knowledge, and the perfect simplicity of his manners. Those about her Majesty ardently wished to see at Versailles a prince so worthy of his rank.

At length the coming of Joseph II., under the title of Count Falkenstein, was announced, and the very day on which he would be at Versailles was mentioned. The first embraces between the Queen and her august brother took place in the presence of all the Queen's household. The sight of their emotion was extremely affecting.

The Emperor was at first generally admired in France; learned men, well-informed officers, and celebrated artists appreciated the extent of his information. He made less impression at Court, and very little in the private circle of the King and Queen. His eccentric manners, his frankness, often degenerating into rudeness, and his evidently affected simplicity,—all these characteristics caused him to be looked upon as a prince rather singular than admirable.

The Queen spoke to him about the apartment she had prepared for him in the Chateau; the Emperor answered that he would not accept it, and that while travelling he always lodged at a cabaret (that was his very expression); the Queen insisted, and assured him that he should be at perfect liberty, and placed out of the reach of noise. He replied that he knew the Chateau of Versailles was very large, and that so many scoundrels lived there that he could well find a place; but that his valet de chambre had made up his camp-bed in a lodging-house, and there he would stay.

He dined with the King and Queen, and supped with the whole family. He appeared to take an interest in the young Princess Elisabeth, then just past childhood, and blooming in all the freshness of that age. An intended marriage between him and this young sister of the King was reported at the time, but I believe it had no foundation in truth.

The table was still served by women only, when the Queen dined in private with the King, the royal family, or crowned heads. I was present at the Queen's dinner almost every day. The Emperor would talk much and fluently; he expressed himself in French with facility, and the singularity, of his expressions added a zest to his conversation. I have often heard him say that he liked spectaculous objects, when he meant to express such things as formed a show, or a scene worthy of interest. He disguised none of his prejudices against the etiquette and customs of the Court of France; and even in the presence of the King made them the subject of his sarcasms.

The King smiled, but never made any answer; the Queen appeared pained. The Emperor frequently terminated his observations upon the objects in Paris which he had admired by reproaching the King for suffering himself to remain in ignorance of them. He could not conceive how such a wealth of pictures should remain shut up in the dust of immense stores; and told him one day that but for the practice of placing some of them in the apartments of Versailles he would not know even the principal chef d'oeuvres that he possessed.

(The Emperor loudly censured the existing practice of allowing shopkeepers to erect shops near the outward walls of all the palaces, and even to establish something like a fair in the galleries of Versailles and Fontainebleau, and even upon the landings of the staircases.)

He also reproached him for not having visited the Hotel des Invalides nor the Ecole Militaire; and even went so far as to tell him before us that he ought not only to know what Paris contained, but to travel in France, and reside a few days in each of his large towns. At last the Queen was really hurt at the Emperor's remarks, and gave him a few lectures upon the freedom with which he allowed himself to lecture others.

One day she was busied in signing warrants and orders for payment for her household, and was conversing with M. Augeard, her secretary for such matters, who presented the papers one after another to be signed, and replaced them in his portfolio.

While this was going forward, the Emperor walked about the room; all at once he stood still, to reproach the Queen rather severely for signing all those papers without reading them, or, at least, without running her eye over them; and he spoke most judiciously to her upon the danger of signing her name inconsiderately.

The Queen answered that very wise principles might be very ill applied; that her secretary, who deserved her implicit confidence, was at that moment laying before her nothing but orders for payment of the quarter's expenses of her household, registered in the Chamber of Accounts; and that she ran no risk of incautiously giving her signature.

The Queen's toilet was likewise a never-failing subject for animadversion with the Emperor. He blamed her for having introduced too many new fashions; and teased her about her use of rouge. One day, while she was laying on more of it than usual, before going to the play, he pointed out a lady who was in the room, and who was, in truth, highly painted. "A little more under the eyes," said the Emperor to the Queen; "lay on the rouge like a fury, as that lady does." The Queen entreated her brother to refrain from his jokes, or at all events to address them, when they were so outspoken, to her alone.

The Queen had made an appointment to meet her brother at the Italian theatre; she changed her mind, and went to the French theatre, sending a page to the Italian theatre to request the Emperor to come to her there. He left his box, lighted by the comedian Clairval, and attended by M. de la Ferte, comptroller of the Queen's privy purse, who was much hurt at hearing his Imperial Majesty, after kindly expressing his regret at not being present during the Italian performance, say to Clairval, "Your young Queen is very giddy; but, luckily, you Frenchmen have no great objection to that."

I was with my father-in-law in one of the Queen's apartments when the Emperor came to wait for her there, and, knowing that M. Campan was librarian, he conversed with him about such books as would of course be found in the Queen's library. After talking of our most celebrated authors, he casually said, "There are doubtless no works on finance or on administration here?"

These words were followed by his opinion on all that had been written on those topics, and the different systems of our two famous ministers, Sully and Colbert; on errors which were daily committed in France, in points essential to the prosperity of the Empire; and on the reform he himself would make at Vienna. Holding M. Campan by the button, he spent more than an hour, talking vehemently, and without the slightest reserve, about the French Government. My father-in-law and myself maintained profound silence, as much from astonishment as from respect; and when we were alone we agreed not to speak of this interview.

The Emperor was fond of describing the Italian Courts that he had visited. The jealous quarrels between the King and Queen of Naples amused him highly; he described to the life the manner and speech of that sovereign, and the simplicity with which he used to go and solicit the first chamberlain to obtain permission to return to the nuptial bed, when the angry Queen had banished him from it. The time which he was made to wait for this reconciliation was calculated between the Queen and her chamberlain, and always proportioned to the gravity of the offence. He also related several very amusing stories relative to the Court of Parma, of which he spoke with no little contempt.

If what this Prince said of those Courts, and even of Vienna, had been written down, the whole would have formed an interesting collection. The Emperor told the King that the Grand Duke of Tuscany and the King of Naples being together, the former said a great deal about the changes he had effected in his State. The Grand Duke had issued a mass of new edicts, in order to carry the precepts of the economists into execution, and trusted that in so doing he was labouring for the welfare of his people.

The King of Naples suffered him to go on speaking for a long time, and then casually asked how many Neapolitan families there were in Tuscany. The Duke soon reckoned them up, as they were but few. "Well, brother," replied the King of Naples, "I do not understand the indifference of your people towards your great reforms; for I have four times the number of Tuscan families settled in my States that you have of Neapolitan families in yours."

The Queen being at the Opera with the Emperor, the latter did not wish to show himself; but she took him by the hand, and gently drew him to the front of the box. This kind of presentation to the public was most warmly received. The performance was "Iphigenia in Aulis," and for the second time the chorus, "Chantons, celebrons notre Reine!" was called for with universal plaudits.

A fete of a novel description was given at Petit Trianon. The art with which the English garden was not illuminated, but lighted, produced a charming effect. Earthen lamps, concealed by boards painted green, threw light upon the beds of shrubs and flowers, and brought out their varied tints. Several hundred burning fagots in the moat behind the Temple of Love made a blaze of light, which rendered that spot the most brilliant in the garden. After all, this evening's entertainment had nothing remarkable about it but the good taste of the artists, yet it was much talked of.

 The situation did not allow the admission of a great part of the Court; those who were uninvited were dissatisfied; and the people, who never forgive any fetes but those they share in, so exaggerated the cost of this little fete as to make it appear that the fagots burnt in the moat had required the destruction of a whole forest. The Queen being informed of these reports, was determined to know exactly how much wood had been consumed; and she found that fifteen hundred fagots had sufficed to keep up the fire until four o'clock in the morning.

After staying a few months the Emperor left France, promising his sister to come and see her again. All the officers of the Queen's chamber had many opportunities of serving him during his stay, and expected that he would make them presents before his departure. Their oath of office positively forbade them to receive a gift from any foreign prince; they had therefore agreed to refuse the Emperor's presents at first, but to ask the time necessary for obtaining permission to accept them. The Emperor, probably informed of this custom, relieved the good people from their difficulty by setting off without making a single present.

Further reading:
Memoirs Of Marie Antoinette, by Campan

Book Reviews: Helen Of Sparta, Talent For Humanity, & Creative Schools

Hello everyone,

today I want to share some of the best, most inspiring books I have read this month. Enjoy!

Helen of Sparta by Amalia Carosella
Helen of Sparta, the face who launched a thousand ships, was the most beautiful woman in the world. But also one of the most dull. In Greek mythology, she is portrayed as a pawn of the gods, Paris, Menelaus, or her family, without a clear will of her own. In these legends, she is a sorrowful figure. In a few, she's a treacherous woman enjoying the carnage the War of Troy has unleashed.
The Helen Amalia Carosella has created isn't evil. And she's certainly no pawn. She's a fiery, compassionate, stubborn, and determined to decide her own fate. Even if it means defying the gods.
Long before Paris took her to Troy, Helen was haunted by nightmares of a burning city under siege. She realised the only way to prevent this terrible war was to refuse to marry Menelaus. But both her betrothed and her family had other ideas. They refused to listen to her pleas, leaving her no option but to look for help elsewhere. She turned to Theseus, King of Athens and son of Poseidon. In the dead of night, he helped her escape, and slowly, the two started to build a life together. But, with danger and threats on any side, can Helen really escape her destiny so easily?
I'm glad that Carosello decided to concentrate on her elopement with Theseus rather than her adduction by Paris. Not only it brings back to life one of the lesser known myths about Helen and Theseus, but these events, and they way they shape this beautiful woman, help us better understand the choices she will make in her future. It's also refreshing to see the story told though Helen's own eyes, rather than by the men in her life.
Carosella knows her mythology. You don't need to know anything about ancient Greece, its gods and heroes, to appreciate the story. Carosella provides all the background information you need, weaving it seamlessly into the pages. It helps bring Helen's world, with its customs and traditions, forces and beliefs, vividly back to life.
Some reviewers have complained about the end. It's so abrupt that at first I wondered whether this was the first book in a series. This doesn't seem to be the case yet, although I sure hope it wilò be. But that's because I loved this book, and this Helen, so much, not because the end left me unsatisfied. It may not wrap up every little thread, leaving the door open for a sequel indeed. But it wraps up this particularly story sufficiently well to make the book stand on its own.
If you are interested in Greek mythology, Helen of Sparta, or just a fast-paced, engaging and enthralling story full of drama and intrigue with a dollop of romance, I highly encourage you to pick up a copy. You won't regret it.
Available at: Amazon
Rating: 4.5/5

Talent for Humanity: Stories of Creativity, Compassion and Courage to Inspire You on Your Journey by Patrick Gaffney
We are all born with the power to imagine what does not yet exist. What if we used that power to create the world we all dream of living in--for ourselves and others?
Patrick Gaffney has collected the stories of seven amazing people who have done just that. Reva is a photojournalist who has travelled to dangerous localities to document the atrocities going on there. Sherry and Bob Jason started an arts programme to help disadvantages children living in poor and crime-rife areas discover their own potential and become caring and active citizens. Aliza Hava a singer and songwriter who organizes concerts for peace. Deeyah, a pop singer turned activist who has dedicated her life to draw attention to the plague of honour killings. Yarrow Kraner is a "gardener of genius" who connects talented young people with mentors to help them accomplish their potential and dreams. Finally Daniele Finzi Pasca, the stage director responsible for the opening ceremony of the Paralympics in Sochi in 2014, creates shows that portray the human condition in all its joy, pathos, and paradox, evoking compassion in the audience.
Although it may seem that all these people were born special, different, and destined for greatness, they weren't. They are all ordinary people, living ordinary lives who, at some point, decided they just couldn't stand by and watch other suffers anymore. So, they started to use their talents to help them. At first they didn't know what they were doing. Their initiatives were slow and disorganized. It took them all a lot of trial, errors, and hard work to finally figure out how best to accomplish their missions. You can do the same. Too often we stand by simply because we don't know how to help. We're convinced we're insignificant and talentless and unable to make a difference. But we aren't. Every good action, however small, can help improve someone else's life, and the world, for the better.
Let the stories of these amazing men and women inspire you to embark on a journey of self-transformation, to discover your talents, and how you can use them to help out in your community and support the causes that are close to your heart. If you want to help others but just don't know how, pick up a copy. Actually, pick one up anyway. It's a truly empowering and inspiring read that I highly recommend to anyone.
Available at: Amazon
Rating: 4.5/5

Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That's Transforming Education by Ken Robinson, Lou Aronica
I've always been obsessed with education. Education is key to the development and empowerment of caring and informed citizens, civic involvement, elimination of poverty, a bright economic future, a successful democracy, and long-term crime prevention. It's the key to the world's prosperity and future. But, too often, schools are failing our children. Why?
Robinson, author of the most watched TED Talk of all times, points out the problems of the current school system (the book focuses mostly on the US and UK, but a lot of it is relevant to any country), why they originated, and how to fix them.
Our modern school system developed in the industrial era to satisfy the needs of that society for clerks and professionals. That's why academic subjects were preferred. Today, we are in the information age. Employers don't just care about what you know anymore. They now need creative people who can come up with new solutions to fix new and old problems. But creativity is often stifled in schools. That's partly due to how difficult it is to assess. We have become obsessed with standardised tests, but these rarely measure the things that really matter. They can tell us how many facts a student knows, not the quality of the education he has received, his level of competency in a subject, or his strengths and weaknesses, such as creativity, resilience, and cognitive abilities. Standardized tests don't work. But neither does a standardised education. We seem to think that, if we keep raising the standards and push students harder, they'll succeed. But that's not working. That's because students aren't machines. They are people. Different people learn in different ways, have different passions and interests, different familiar and economic situations, different aptitudes and goals. To allow them to learn and succeed, schools must take all these differences into considerations and provide as personalized an education as possible. Impossible? Nope. Many schools, as the book highlights, have already taken this approach with outstanding results.
But it's not enough. Every student deserves the best, most personalized, education possible. For that to happen, we need reforms at state levels. We need politicians to understand what our students really need so they can reform school accordingly. In the last chapter, Robinson explains why these reforms are so difficult to make and how all of us (parents, teachers, and citizens) can help bring them about.
Insightful, informative, and engaging, Creative Schools is a must read for everyone who wants to change the school system for the better and give our children a real education to become caring, conscious, and independent adults. Highly recommended.
Available at: Amazon
Rating: 4.5/5

Will you pick up any of these books?

Disclaimer: this book was sent by PR for consideration. In addition, this post contains affiliate links.

Louis XVI: His Childhood And Education

Louis Auguste de France, Duke of Berry and future king Louis XVI, was born on 23rd August 1754. Little is known about his early years. The baby just wasn't important enough to have his every step and move recorded. He was only the second son of the Dauphin Louis of France and his second wife Marie-Josèphe of Saxony, an unusually devoted royal couple. The royal nurses fusses over the Duke of Burgundy, Louis' older brother and heir to the throne, and spoiled the Count of Provence, his younger brother. But they only "took care of the Duke of Berry’s needs."

Like it happens to most middle children thus caught in the middle, little Louis suffered from excessive shyness and a lack of self-confidence, which showed themselves from early infancy. The few sources that mention him talk of a child that was "weak" (although this may have been, at least in part, due his wet nurse's lack of milk; as the mistress of the Minister of the Household she had been difficult to fire), "not precocious" and, "who still needs at the age of three to be guided in his tottering walk". Things were made worse by the praise heaped upon his older brother, a genius who could do nothing wrong. Louis just couldn't compare to him.

Although the royal children were allowed to have their fun, most of their time was dedicated to studying. Their parents, both philanthropy devoted to charity work, wanted their offspring to see how the poor lived. They thus instructed their tutors to take them to the houses of the needy to "learn to weep" because "a prince who has never shed any tears cannot be good". They also taught their children that the only difference between them and everyone else was virtue. The King should be the model of virtue, always sensitive to his subjects' troubles and amuse himself only after completing his duties and, even then, "only for the time necessary to relax his mind, strengthen his body and take care of his health".

Even though noone suspected Louis would be the one to sit on the throne one day, these ideas had a big impact on the shy little prince. At first, Louis was brought up by governesses with his younger siblings but, when he turns 6, he was declared healthy and old enough to "pass to the men" and get a male tutor. He is ordered to join his elder brother, a prospect that initially delighted him. But even though the two little boys were happy to see each other, the little Duke of Burgundy's eagerness to help his brother soon caused troubles. Apparently, in an attempt perfect his character, Louis was forced to listen to a list of his own qualities and faults. Poor Louis!

The Prince wasn't even supposed to be with his elder brother so soon. Seven, not six, was the customary age for princes to get a tutor. If Louis was deemed suitable a year earlier wasn't because he was particularly precocious. The real reason was tragic. The Duke Of Burgundy was ill and the doctors, despite their efforts, couldn't do anything for him. Louis was supposed to distract his brother, but also be ready to take his place when the worse happened. When it did, in November 1960, the shy boy, who had always been neglected by everyone at court, suddenly found himself, completely unprepared, at the center of attention.

In 1765, tragedy struck again. The Dauphin, Louis' father died. His wife was devastated. She cut her hair, dressed in mourning, installed black draperies and a copy of the funeral monument erected for the late Dauphin in her rooms, and spent her days praying, encouraging her children to do the same. As the historian Jean-Francois Chiappe commented: "Louis-Auguste, having lost his father, has a living corpse for a mother". His mother was also ill, having caught pulmonary tuberculosis while caring for her sick husband. She would soon follow him to the grave.

Their deaths deprived the young boy of the affection of his parents, and left his education firmly in the bad hands of Mr de La Vauguyon. He has been accused of keeping the Dauphin in fear and ignorance so as to be able to better influence him. The tutor didn't see fit to discuss the problems of the time with his pupil, preferring to impart to him abstract moralistic principles and the ideal of a paternalistic absolute monarchy that was slowly becoming archaic as the new revolutionary ideas of the philosophers were starting to germinate and take root in France.

His childhood and education had left Louis unprepared and poorly equipped for his job as king. A job he succeeded to at the young age of hardly 20, after the sudden death of Louis XV by smallpox in 1774.

Further reading:
Louis XVI by John Hardman
Madame Guillottine

Rudolph Ackermann: Inventor, Publisher, & Businessman

Over the years, I have shared with you many beautiful fashion prints taken by Ackermann's Repository, a British periodical popular in the first few decades of the 19th century. Every time I browse the pages of the magazine, and stare at its pretty images, I can't help but think of the man who made it all possible.

His name was Rudolf Ackermann. The six child of Barthel and Justina, he was born in Stollberg in the Electorate of Saxony, on April 20, 1764. Rudolf attended the Latin school in Stollberg and would have loved to further his education by enrolling at university, but the family couldn't afford the expense. So, Rudolf was forced to become a saddle maker, like his father. He began his apprenticeship at 15.

That job didn't satisfy Rudolf. He had always been passionate about drawing and needed a profession where he could nurture and use his skill. So, at 18, he became a carriage designer. He learned the trade in Dreden and then moved to Switzerland, France, and London, where he designed carriages for some of the most important and influential people of his time, including the Lord Mayor of Dublin and the American President George Washington.

With success, came money. He was now able to support a family and married an Englishman called Martha and had nine children with her. Just as important for him, money allowed him to dedicate himself to his passion for art. In 1795 he opened his first print shop where he sold prints, books, and all kind of supplies for artists. His success owned a lot to his early adoption of gas, which allowed visitors and clients to peruse the prints in shops and the exhibitions he held there even when natural light was faint and fading. Soon, many other shops followed suit.

Business went so well that Rudolf decided to commission original prints from the most famous satirists of his time, such as Cruikshank and Rowlandson, and sell them in his shop. He even published several art books and, in 1809, the first edition of his Repository of Arts, Literature, Commerce, Manufactures, Fashions, and Politics. What a mouthful! And yet, these were only a few of the topics discussed in its pages. Of course, the magazine featured many beautiful pictures that illustrated the new changes in fashion, both in dress, furniture, and carriages. Portraits of celebrities and drawings of famous places also ornamented its pages.

A new issue of the magazine was published every month until 1829. There are about 40 in total, featuring all together about 1500 prints! But then, the Repository had to close. Rudolf had simply stretched himself too thin. In addition to the magazine, he now owned several print shops in London and South America. He even patented a method for rendering paper and cloth waterproof and built a factory to make it. He worked so hard that, eventually, his health broke down. A few months after he closed the magazine, he had a stroke that left him paralysed. He died a few years later, in 1834.

Further reading:
Nineteen Teen

Court Dress, 1820

I was recently browsing an old edition of the Repository of Arts, Literature, Fashions &c, as you do, when I came across this beautiful court dress, accessorized with a multitude of ostrich feathers to hide the hair. I fell in love with it straight away, and just knew I had to share it. Here's how the magazine described the dress:

A blue satin petticoat, finished at the bottom by a silver foil trimming, above which is a mingled wreath of white and pale blush roses; this is surmounted by a rich trimming of silver lama. Over the blue satin petticoat is one of point lace, short enough to display the entire of the rich trimming of the satin petticoat; the border of the lace one is extremely beautiful; the pattern of the middle is a rose, thistle, and shamroc entwined.

The corsage is white satin, and the front, which is formed in the stomacher style, is nearly covered with pearls. The corsage is cut very low round the bust, and the front part is edged with pearls; we believe there are three rows. The robe is blue zephyrine; the body rather long in the waist; the back part made in the corset style, and with a small peak: the robe is trimmed round with Urling's point lace, set on very full; a double fall of point lace ornaments the top of the back; it forms a full ruff between the shoulders.

The sleeve is white satin, covered with blond lace, and tastefully intermixed with pearls; it is very full on the shoulder, but the fulness is confined at the bottom by a plain broad band of pearls. The front hair is disposed in a few light ringlets on the forehead; the hind hair is concealed by a profusion of ostrich feathers, which are placed behind, and droop over the forehead, which is encircled by a broad pearl bandeau. Point lace lappets, white kid gloves, and white satin shoes, ornamented with rosettes of pearl. Necklace and ear-rings, pearl. White crape fan, richly embroidered in silver.

We are indebted to Miss Pierpoint, inventress of the corset a la Grecque, of No. 9, Henrietta-street, Covent-Garden [for this dress].

What do you think of this dress? Would you have worn it?

Further reading:
Repository of Arts, Literature, Fashions &c, 1820