Jane Austen's Will

Jane Austen wrote her will at her home in Chawton, Hampshire, 27th April 1817. She was already very ill with the disease that would kill her only a few months later. She left almost everything she had (which was valued at about £800) to her sister Cassandra, to whom she was very close. For some reason, the will wasn't signed by witnesses so two of her friends had to recognize her handwriting to vouch for its authenticity.

Here's a transcript of the will:

I Jane Austen of the Parish of Chawton do by this my last will & testament give and bequeath to my dearest sister. Cassandra. Elizabeth everything of which I may die possessed, or which may be hereafter due to me, subject to the payment of my Funeral expences, & to a Legacy of £50. to my Brother Henry, & £50 to Mde de Bigeon - which I request may be paid as soon as convenient. And I appoint my said dear sister the executrix of this my last will & testament.

Jane Austen

April 27 1817

Princess On Fire

Before electricity, candles and fireplaces illuminated rooms. And if you stood too close to them, you could easily catch fire, like it happened to poor Princess Sophia, one of King George III's daughter. Luckily, the princess wasn't much hurt. A young princess Victoria wrote about the incident in her diary on 26 February 1826:

"Poor Aunt Sophia could not come to dinner as she met with a sad accident in the morning; she set her cap, handkerchief and dress on fire and came to her servants all in a blaze; most fortunately they instantly put it out and she is not much burnt; only a little on her neck and behind her ear."

Further reading:
Princesses: The Six Daughters Of George III by Flora Fraser

Historical Reads: The History Behind The Names Of Various Hairstyles

Where do the names of popular hairstyles come from? Today I Find Out reveals:


This hairstyle dates back to 1721, and has managed to make a comeback in modern days. Pompadours became all the rage thanks to Madame de Pompadour, a mistress of King Louis XV. She wore the hairstyle, inspiring a fad that became popular for a time- then not- then revived in the 1890s-1910s- then disappearing for a couple decades- and once again revived for high-society women in the 1940s. By the 1950s, men were wearing a version of the look that is all about elevation of the hair near the front of the head. After Elvis- who by the way had blond hair naturally- wore the pompadour, its popularity exploded. Pink, the singer, has made it her trademark, followed by other celebs who have sported it at one time or another: Justin Bieber, Little Richard, David Beckham and Robin Thicke being among them.


Before referring to an adolescent-looking hairstyle, the term pigtail was used back in the 1600s to describe a twist of chewing tobacco. To prepare the tobacco, several leaves were twisted together into a tight bunch that was then cured. Many people referred to this bunch as a pigtail because it resembled the curly tail of a pig. By the late 1600s, the pigtail reference for hair was born as a way to describe the one (outside of America) or two sections of hair gathered and fastened on the head. Pigtails aren’t just for young girls or Britney Spears’ debut video. Modern styles can be seen on celebrities such as Heidi Klum and Madonna. In Massachusetts, a 15-year-old girl was bullied by a classmate for wearing pigtails to school but fought back by creating a Facebook page titled ‘Pigtails 4 Peace’. The victim pledged to wear pigtails for the entire week and asked classmates to join her in her support for anyone who has ever been teased. It worked. Hundreds of girls showed up the following day sporting the popular hairstyle. Score.

To read the entire article, click here.

Portraits Of Marie Antoinette's Sisters by Liotard

Jean-Étienne Liotard was a Swiss-French versatile artist famous for his pastel drawings. In 1742 he went to Vienna to paint the portraits of the royal family. His works were well-liked and, in 1762, he returned to the city to draw more portraits of the 11 royal children. Here are those of the archduchesses, Marie Antoinette's sisters:

Maria Anna, also known as Marianne, was born with a slight deformity (no one knows what it was exactly, but she developed a hunchback later in life), which made her unsuitable for marriage. She was, instead, destined for the convent and became abbess of the Imperial and Royal Convent for Noble Ladies in Prague. Marianne was also a very intelligent lady. She was, like her father, interested in science, and conducted several experiments. She also wrote a book about her mother's politics and financed several scientists, artists and archaeological exhumations, which made her popular among the scientific and artistic communities of her time.

Artistically gifted and very intelligent, Maria Christina, or Mimi, as she was called by her family, was her mother's favourite. Because of this, her siblings were jealous of her, especially when their mother allowed her to marry for love. She was the only one of Maria Theresa's children allowed to do so. The groom was her second cousin Prince Albert of Saxony. The couple was given the duchy of Teschen and was later appointed joint governors of the Austrian Netherlands.

Maria Elizabeth, called Liesl because of her sharp tongue, was considered the most beautiful of Maria Theresa's daughters. She also gained a reputation as a "coquette". Unfortunately, she was disfigured by small pox, which destroyed her hopes of ever getting married. So, she was forced to remain in Vienna at her mother's side. She was later appointed abbess of the Convent for Noble Ladies in Innsbruck, although she preferred to live at Innsbruck's Imperial Castle, where she resided until she was forced to return to Vienna when the Kingdom of Bavaria, Napoleon's alley, took over the province of Tyrol.

Maria Amalia was the glamorous and gay socialite of the family. She loved balls, parties and similar entertainments. Maria Amalia fell madly in love with the gorgeous Prince Karl of Zweibrucken, but her mother forbid the union and forced her to marry the Duke of Parma instead. Maria Amelia never forgave her mother and the two would remain estranged, reconciling briefly only after the birth of her son.

Maria Johanna was a likeable, good-natured young girl. She was very close to her sister Maria Josepha, who was only a year younger than her. Unfortunately, Maria Johanna died, aged only 12, of smallpox.

Maria Josepha was a pretty and charming girl. She was betrothed to the King of Naples but, before her departure, her mother insisted that she went to pray in the Haspburg family crypt. The young girl, terrified of dying of smallpox like her sister Johanna, contracted the disease while praying on the improperly sealed tomb of her sister in law, Empress Maria Josepha. She died the day she was supposed to leave Vienna to get married.

Maria Carolina was Marie Antoinette's favourite sister. Very close in age, the two young girls were inseparable, and loved playing tricks on people and causing all kinds of mischief. To put a stop to it, Maria Theresa was forced to separate them. After her sister Maria Josepha died, it was decided that Maria Carolina would marry the King of Naples instead. Despite this, she remained close to her younger sister, with whom she kept up a frequent correspondence. Maria Carolina and her husband were deposed twice by the French. She died in Vienna while she was trying to get help to be restored to her throne.

Rosalba Carriera

Rosalba Carriera was born in Venice on 12 January 1673. She manifested an artistic temperament from a very early age, when, rather than playing games or indulging in other amusements loved by children, she preferred to weave lace. Her father loved drawing, and Rosalba, once entered adolescence, started to follow his example. At first, she drew on her own, but soon her father hired some teachers. Antonio Balestra taught her technique, while Antonio Nazari and Dimantini showed her how to paint with pastels. But in was in miniature painting, taught her by the brother-in-law Antonio Pellegrini, that Rosalba excelled.

Rosalba was the first to use ivory in her miniatures to give them a shiny appearance. She also was the first to break the rules of tradition that dictated that miniatures should be painted with slow and well-blended strokes. Rosalba proffered the quick stroke characteristic of Venetian painting. Her portraits were also real. Unlike a lot of painters who tried to make their sitters appear more beautiful than they actually were, Rosalba painted what she saw, flaws and all.

Rosalba accompanied Pellegrini to Paris and London, where she assisted him in his decorative works. But she also acquired fame of her own. She was elected to the Academies of Rome, Bologna and Paris, and was invited to the courts of France and Austria, where she painted many portraits, including those of the sovereigns. She also travelled to Tuscany and England, where she was commissioned lots of portraits. She executed them in crayon and pastel, an art in which she surpassed all her contemporaries.

Rosalba was also a talented violinist. She loved music and became friends with the celebrated musicians of her time, including Antonio Vivaldi, Jean Philippe Rameau and fellow Venetian Alessandro Marcello. She also wrote a dairy about her two years in Paris, which is filled with details about the customs of society, and in particular those of the artists of the period.

Back in Venice, she lead a quite life, hunted by depression. She also felt sure that a great calamity was about to befall her. And she was right. She was not even fifty when she lost her sight. She died in Venice on 15 April 1757.

Further reading:
Il segreto nello sguardo. Memorie di Rosalba Carriera prima pittrice d'Europa by Casarotto Valentina

Book Review: Law's Strangest Cases By Peter Seddon

Full of riotous and entertaining stories, this book is perfect for anyone who is doing time on a long stretch. It covers the only dead parrot ever to give evidence in a court of law; one of the most indigestible dilemmas (If you'd been shipwrecked 2,000 miles from home, would you have eaten Parker the cabin boy?); the doctor with the worst bedside manner of all time; and the murderess who collected money from her mummified victim for 21 years. Readers will be gripped by these tales of murder, intrigue, crime, punishment and the pursuit of justice, tales that are in turn bizarre, macabre, and sometimes hilarious.

Reality is really stranger than fiction. That's something you'll often hear yourself say while reading Peter Seddon's Law's Strangest Cases, a short book about the most unusual cases in legal history. Some of the occurrences are so weird that, had you read them in a detective story, you would've shaken your head, bemoaning the lack of creativity of the author and wondering whether he or she thought readers were silly to believe things like that could ever happen. Yet happen they did. For real.

The book begins with the case of Jesus Christ and ends with that of two conjoined twin sisters, in which the judge was called to decide whether the operation that would separate them, and certainly kill one of them, could be performed. In the middle, there are all sorts of weird cases... dead parrots that give evidence in court, moles prosecuted for ruining crops, judges that preside trials from hospital beds, a man that gives evidence to the inquest for his own death, a murderess who collected money from her mummified victim for 21 years, jurors that refuse to do their duty unless they're paid for it...

Although law is supposed to be serious, and several of the cases mentioned are quite macabre, Seddon use an ironic, funny tone that will make you frequently laugh, even when it is not appropriate to do so. You just won't be able to help it. However, if you're not British, I suggest you keep a dictionary close (or better, read it on your Kindle), because Seddon often uses British slang. Most of the cases discussed in the book also occurred in Britain, although there are some from the USA, China, Italy, Australia and a bunch of other countries.

But my main gripe with the book is how brief is the space dedicated to each case. Only 4 or 5 pages at most. While this keeps the book fast-paced and entertaining (after all, who would want to read endless pages discussing trial proceedings in details?), it also means that if you aren't familiar with the cases (and most people aren't as the first half of the book relates trials that took place in past centuries, while most of the modern ones occurred in Britain), it's very difficult to relate to them or care much about the people involved. Giving readers more facts and a better idea of what happened during the trials, without discussing them in minute details, would have made the book more interesting.

In Law's Strangest Cases, Peter Seddon shares the weirdest legal cases (mostly from Britain) that occurred throughout the centuries. The book discusses each case in a funny and ironic way that will make you laugh a lot. However, the author often uses British slang that can be difficult to understand for those who aren't familiar with it, and, due to the limited space allotted to each trial, the reader only gets a vague idea of what happened.

Available at: amazon, barnes & noble and book depository

Rating: 3.5/5

Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for my honest opinion. In addition, this post contains affiliate links.

Jane, Duchess Of Gordon

Jane, Duchess of Gordon, was the Tory version of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, a devoted Whig. Both women were involved in politics and loved serving as political hostesses for their favourite party. And of course this caused them to be fierce rivals, despite the fact they had quite a lot in common.

Born in 1748 or 1749, Jane was the fourth child of Sir William Maxwell, a drunken and poor baronet, who had to sell most of his lands to pay his debts. In the meantime, his wife, Magdalene Blair, spent her time educating their daughters in Edinburgh, where they resided in a rented apartment. This was customary at the time, as it allowed the titled Scottish land owning families to give their daughters an education and, later, introduce them into Edinburgh society.

When Jane was 14, she accidentally stuck a finger from her right hand into the wheel of a cart. As it moved away, it tore her finger off! From then on, the poor girl wore gloves with a false wooden finger whenever possible. But her accident didn't prevent Jane from being admired and having lots of suitors. She had grown into a beautiful girl and had a song written about her, Bonnie Jennie of Monreith, the Flower of Galloway. Because of it, she earned the nickname of “The Flower of Galloway”.

Jane had fallen in love with a soldier but sadly he was soon forced to leave with his regiment and was presumed dead in battle. So she married Alexander, Duke of Gordon instead. While the couple was on their honeymoon, Jane received a letter from her soldier, asking her to marry him. The poor girl was so overcome that she fainted. She was stuck in a loveless marriage and there was nothing she could do about it, but make the most of a bad situation.

Jane may not have loved her husband, but she loved her title and the opportunities and privileges that came with it. She threw lavish parties (she was the leading hostess in Edinburgh and was nicknamed the “Empress of fashion”), loved local dancing, fiddle and pipe music, took an interest in farming, and had several affairs, including one with William Pitt's best friend, Henry Dundas. Her husband constantly cheated on her too and one of his mistresses gave birth to a bastard around the same time that Jane's first son was born. Both babies were named George. She also gave birth to another son and five daughters.

In 1787, Jane and her husband moved to London. Jane was proud of her Scottish origins and her London parties often had a Scottish vibe. She made everyone dance Scottish dances, wore tartan (which was outlawed) and, of course, never lost her Scottish brogue! Although at this time promoting your Scottish roots was forbidden, Jane got away with it because King George III, whom she supported, was an admirer of hers.

Jane also involved herself in politics. Jealous of how successful the parties thrown by Georgiana for the Whigs were, she decided to do the same thing for the Tories. Her contribution to politics didn't stop at that. Once, she kidnapped a man and kept him locked in her cellar to secure the seat for one of her friends! And if Georgiana was accused of canvassing for votes with kisses, Jane kissed men to raise an army. When the French revolutionary government declared war to Great Britain, Jane, wearing a military uniform and a highland bonnet (a large black feathered hat), toured Scotland to organize reels. Anyone who joined them, joined the army and received the payment (the King's shilling) from between her lips! That's how she founded the Gordon Highlanders regiment, which comprised of 940 men!

Jane was determined to arrange prestigious marriages for her children, whom she dearly loved. She married three of her daughters to Dukes. She has originally hoped to marry one of them to Empress Josephine's son, and went to Paris to arrange it, but nothing came of it. By this time, Jane and her husband were already separated, and in 1805, finally divorced. According to the divorce settlement, Jane was entitled to a new house, capital payments, and generous annual supplements. However, the Duke had financial problems and never paid her all the money he had promised her. Jane lived the rest of her life in hotels. She died at Poultney’s Hotel, Piccadilly, London, surrounded by her children, in 1812 and was buried in her beloved Scotland.

Further reading:
An autobiographical chapter in the life of Jane, Duchess of Gordon by Jane Gordon
Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire by Amanda Foreman

Fashions For April 1835

Hello everyone,

more fashion plates today, including one showing us a pretty child's dress. Enjoy!


Robe de chambre of mousseline de laine; the corsage and skirt made all in one. The collar or pelerine is in revers, rounded at back and pointed on the shoulders, where it is ornamented with small tassels: this revert folds back as far as the waist in front (see plate). The sleeves are immensely full all the way down: the dress is fastened round the waist by a ceinture of itself, from which depends two long ends, finished by tassels. A small lisere or piping of blue satin goes entirely round the dress. The robe de chambre is wadded and lined. Cap of Grecian net, with a plain round caul and double border of the same, standing up from the face (see plate): the cap is ornamented with small blue wild flowers, and bows of satin ribbon of the same colour. The hair is in plain bands. On the neck is a guimpe of fine cambric (see plate), with a single frill at top, of the same, festonno at the edge, and which, as well as the entire front of the guimpe, is small plaited; it is drawn in at the neck with a small cord and tassels. Cotton stockings, a jours and wadded silk shoes.


Frock and trousers of white muslin, the latter embroidered. The corsage a l'Enfant, the sleeves short and full. Ceinture and noeuds de page of pink satin ribbon: black silk mittens, trimmed at the tops with a ruche or quilling of tulle. The hair is divided in a point (see plate): the front hair, which is curled, falls as low as the neck; and the back hair is brought in two braids to the temples,where it is fastened up with bows of pink ribbon, to match those on the dress. Kid shoes, and gaiters of drap de soie couleur Hanneton.


Black velvet dress, the corsage a la Sevigne. ornamented down the front with bows of ribbon placed at distances. Short full sleeves, with double sabots of white satin. The front breadth of the dress being of white satin broche in gold, give it the appearance of an open robe (see plate). On the shoulders are the noeuds de page, of black satin ribbon broche in gold; the ends are long and fringed; a white blonde goes all round the bosom of the dress. Chapeau Castillan of black velvet, with a broad leaf turned up in front, and ornamented with a bird of Paradise dyed black. The hair is in curls, very much frizzed, and a braid of the back hair is brought across the brow (see plate). Echarpe caprice of very wide white satin ribbon, broche a la Jardiniere, in a rich pattern of flowers: the ends of the ribbon are fringed, and it is trimmed at each side with a narrow while blonde. Black silk gloves a jours, finished at the tops with a quilling of tulle. Black satin shoes, white silk stockings, necklace or cameos. The dress of the sitting figure, which is of pink satin, is precisely of the same make.

What do you think of these outfits?

Further reading:
The Lady's Magazine, 1835

Historical Reads: Lady Diana Beauclerk

Over at The Duchess Of Devonshire's Gossip Guide To The 18th Century, Heather Carroll discusses the life of the original Lady Di. To quote:

While walking with Di in the pleasure gardens he jokingly proposed to her and then before he knew it, Frederick was married On the condition of being married, the viscount insisted on keeping his bachelor lifestyle; basically pretending Di didn't exist except to give him heirs. He partied, gambled, slept with many women, and racked up huge amounts of debt. There are also rumors of him having a violent nature. Di distracted herself by becoming a Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Charlotte.

It was only so long that Di could handle her miserable marriage. Neither party was happy so she took the initiative to solve this problem. She had an affair with Topham Beauclerk. Beauclerk was a friend of Dr Johnson and was notoriously...stinky. It was once reported of him that he was so filthy he generated vermin. Either way, Di fell in love with him or maybe just saw him as a convenient means of securing a divorce, although it meant becoming a social outcast.

To read the entire article, click here.

Iced Puddings, A La Royal Family

An ice cream is a delicious way to cool you off when you're feeling hot. Like in the summer, when the temperatures are scorching. Or after hours of dancing at a ball or party. Ice creams (or ice puddings, as they were then called) were commonly served at such occasions during the Victorian era. Ice creams could be simple or elaborated, like the ones created by Charles Francatelli, Queen Victoria's chef. Here are a few recipes named after members of the royal family:


First, prepare eight yolks of eggs of custard, as for the Stanley cake*; previously to passing this through a tammy, add two pottles of picked scarlet strawberries, tossed in a sugarboiler with ten ounces of pounded sugar over a brisk fire, until they begin to simmer; When the whole has been passed into a puree, allow it to cool; then freeze it in the usual manner, and fill a cylindrical pudding-mould with it, stop it down with the lid, and immerse it in rough ice.

While the foregoing part of the process is in preparation, an iced macedoine of fruits must be made as follows :—First, extract the juice from one pound of muscatel grapes, and add a sufficient quantity of syrup, to give body to it; this must then be put into the freezing-pot, and worked in the usual way. Just before using the ice, a proportionate quantity of light-coloured fruit must be added, and mixed in lightly with the ice, so as not to bruise them: these fruits should consist of small pieces of pine-apple, peach, apricot, white raspberries, strawberries, and bigaroon-cherries; this macedoine should be finished just before dishing up. The pudding must be turned out of the mould on to its dish, the centre filled with the macedoine, as represented in the annexed wood-cut, and immediately served.


Prepare some rice custard ice, as directed for the pudding a la Cintra**: about half that quantity will suffice. Slice up a dozen ripe apricots, and boil them with twelve ounces of sugar, and half a pint of water, until the fruit is dissolved; then pass it through a sieve—if it should be too thick, add a little thin syrup, and freeze this in the usual manner. The two ices being ready, a pudding-mould should be lined with a coating of the apricot-water ice, about half an inch thick, and the centre filled up entirely with the iced rice-custard; cover the pudding with the lid of the mould, and immerse it in rough ice until dishing-up time. The pudding must then be placed on its dish, garnished with some wafer-gauffres filled with whipped cream seasoned with noyau, and served immediately.


Remove the skins from one pound of Albert-kernels, and pound these with ten ounces of sugar, (adding a few drops of water,) until they become soft and pulpy; take up this paste into a basin, add a pint of single cream, stir the whole well together, and pass it through a tammy into a puree; then freeze this in the usual manner. While the above is being prepared, a pint of cherry-water-ice must be made as follows:—Remove the stalks from two pounds of Kentish cherries, and bruise them thoroughly in a mortar, so as to break the stones, then take them up into a sugar boiler, add twelve ounces of sugar, and boil the whole together over a brisk stove-fire for five minutes; rub this through a hair sieve into a basin, and freeze it, adding a little thin syrup if necessary. Use the cherry-water-ice to line the pudding-mould with, garnish the centre with the filbert-cream-ice, cover the mould with its lid, and immerse the pudding in rough ice until dishing up time. The pudding must then be turned out on its dish, garnished round with wafer gauffres filled with some of the filbert-cream reserved for the purpose, and served immediately.


First, remove the skins from the kernels of about fifty green walnuts, then pound these with ten ounces of sugar, until the whole forms a kind of soft and pulpy paste; take this up into a basin, mix it with a pint of single cream, then pass it through a tammy into a puree, and let this be frozen in the usual manner.

While the above is in course of preparation, two dozen green-gages must be boiled with twelve ounces of sugar and half a pint of water, until the fruit is dissolved, when the whole must be rubbed through a tammy or sieve : this should then be frozen, adding if necessary, a little thin syrup. The pudding-mould must now be lined with the green-gage ice, and the centre filled with the walnut-cream-ice; then place the lid on the mould, and immerse the pudding in rough ice in the usual manner, until dishing-up time, when the pudding must be turned out on to its dish, garnished round with small almond-gauffres filled with whipped cream, with a preserved cherry placed on the top of each, and served immediately.

* Mix ten yolks of eggs with a pint and a half of boiling cream, eight ounces of sugar, and sufficient cinnamon and lemon-peel to flavour it; add a very little salt, and stir the whole in a stewpan over the fire until it begins to thicken ; the custard should then be immediately passed through a tammy or sieve, into a basin, and allowed to become cold. This custard must now be placed in a freezingpot used for making ices, and should be occasionally worked with a scraper as it becomes set by freezing.
** Wash and parboil eight ounces of Carolina rice; then, put it into a stewpan, with a quart of milk and a pint of cream, two sticks of vanilla, twelve ounces of sugar, and a little salt; allow the rice to simmer very gently over or by a slow stove-fire, until the grains are almost dissolved, stirring it over occasionally with a light hand. When the rice is done, and while it is yet in a boiling state, add the yolks of six eggs, then stir the whole well together for several minutes, in order to mix in the eggs, and also for the purpose of breaking up and smoothing the rice. Let this ricecustard be frozen in the same manner as directed in the foregoing case, and then put it into a plain mould; cover it with the lid, and immerse it in ice in the usual way.

Further reading:
The Modern Cook by Charles Francatelli

Poufs A L'Iphigenie, A La Circonstance & A L'Inoculation

One of the reasons of Rose Bertin's success was her ability to always come up with new trends and dos. Marie Antoinette's dressmaker drew inspiration for her designs from the events of her time, such as the release of a new opera or the inoculation of the royal family. Doesn't matter how extravagant they were, women didn't hesitate to sport the new dos, just to be fashionable. Here are a few very popular hairstyles created by Mlle Bertin:

The young Queen's dressmaker was celebrated above all for her creation of poufs; but as the novelty of the pouf aux sentiments had passed, it was imperative that a new style should be invented. Rose Bertin's genius rose to the occasion, and hats a l'Iphigenie and poufs a la circonstance (topical toques) made their appearance. The first style was well adapted to current events. The Court was in mourning for the King, and, according to the "Correspondance Secrete," hats a l'Iphigenie were made of a simple crown of black flowers, surmounted by a crescent of Diana, with a short veil falling at the back, partially covering the head.

Gluck's tragedy "Iphigenie en Aulide " was presented in Paris for the first time on April 19, 1774, and was the occasion of a great outcry which Marie-Antoinette was instrumental in appeasing, and in assuring the success of her favourite composer. The
triumph of Gluck's opera was flattering to her claims as a musical critic.

The pouf a la circonstance was a flattering tribute to the new monarch. It was intended to represent the change of reign. Mlle. Bertin possessed all the qualities that make for success; she brought to the profit of her trade the obsequiousness of the most assiduous courtier. The pouf was composed of a tall cypress ornamented with black marigolds, the roots being represented by a piece of crape; on the right side a large sheaf of wheat was placed, leaning against a cornucopia from which peeped out an abundance of grapes, melons, figs, and other fruit, beautifully imitated; white feathers were mixed with the fruit. The hat was a riddle; the answer was as follows: While weeping the dead monarch, though the roots of sorrow reach to the hearts of his subjects, yet the riches of the new reign are already looming in view.

These poufs varied in style: some represented the sun rising over a wheat-field, where Hope was reaper, being the same riddle more briefly depicted. The pouf a la circonstance was short-lived, being quickly replaced by the pouf a l'inoculation another of Mlle. Bertin's inventions. The King had been vaccinated on June 18, 1774. The custom of inoculation in use for centuries among the peoples in the vicinity of the Caspian Sea had been imported into England from Constantinople in 1738, and into France in 1755. The operation on the King gave Mlle. Bertin a new idea; the pouf a l'inoculation celebrated the occasion.

It represented a rising sun, and an olive-tree laden with fruit, round which a serpent was twisted, holding a flower-wreathed club. The classical serpent of Esculapius represented medicine, and the club was the force which could overcome disease. The rising sun was the young King himself, great-grandson of the Roi-Soleil, to whom all eyes were turned. The olive-tree was the symbol of peace, and also of the tender affection with which all were penetrated at the news of the happy success of the operation which the King and the Royal Family had undergone.

Further reading:
Rose Bertin, the creator of fashion at the court of Marie-Antoinette by Emile Langlade

Book Review: Adland By Mark Tungate

Adland is a groundbreaking examination of modern advertising, from its early origins, to the evolution of the current advertising landscape. Bestselling author and journalist Mark Tungate examines key developments in advertising, from copy advertisements, radio and television, to the opportunities afforded by the explosion of digital media.
Adland focuses on key players in the industry and features exclusive interviews with leading advertising veterans, including Jean-Marie Dru, Sir Alan Parker, John Hegarty and Sir Martin Sorrell, as well as industry luminaries from the 20th Century such as Phil Dusenberry and George Lois. This new edition is updated to include a new preface, a revised introduction and touches on the effects of the current recession, the impact of recent digital technology and thoughts on the future of advertising.
Exploring the roots of the advertising industry in New York and London, and going on to cover the emerging markets of Eastern Europe, Asia and Latin America, Adland offers a comprehensive examination of a global industry and suggests ways in which it is likely to develop in the future.

Advertising is everywhere. Ads interrupt our favourite TV and radio shows. They have invaded the pages of newspapers, magazines and blogs. We can't even walk down the street without coming across some billboards, and if we take the bus instead, chances are its sides are covered with ads. And with the advent of digital media, things are only gonna get worse (or better, depending on what you think of advertising). Wherever we go, whatever we do, we come across someone trying to sell us something. And to be noticed by bored and annoyed consumers, ads need to become more and more incisive and creative.

It's undeniable that advertising has a huge impact on our lives, but how did it all begin? Well, advertising has been around since someone first decided to sell something, but in the last 200 years it has evolved (and still is) considerably. British journalist Mark Tungate, in his book Adland, examines the key developments in the industry. The book is now in its second edition, which has been enriched with a new preface, a revised introduction, and a section about the most important developments in advertising since 2007 (when the book first came out), including the way advertisers are now using social media to promote their products and how ad agencies have been impacted by the recession.

But if you're looking for the history of famous and loved commercials, anecdotes about their creation or details about the techniques used to entice consumers to buy a certain product, you will be disappointed. You won't find none of that stuff in Adland. What you'll find, instead, is a global history of the industry, of its main agencies and players. The book has an European slant, which is to be expected considering that the author is a British guy living in France and that four of the main ad agencies are based in Europe. But it also discusses the history of Madison Avenue and has chapters about Japan, Spain, Brazil, Italy... Each country has its own distinct vision of what advertising is and particular techniques that work for its audience.

However, for an industry that's all about catching your attention, its agencies have long, boring names that are difficult to remember. Because of this, I've found reading about how these agencies evolved and merged together quite boring and dull at times. What was very fascinating, on the other hand, was reading about their founders, from Albert Lasker, often touted as the "true father of modern advertising," to the original copywriter David Ogilvy and the creative revolutionary Bill Bernbach. Each of them had a different vision of what advertising should be about, which they brought to life in their agencies, changing adland for good.

I had never really paid much attention to the people who created the ads, but this book made me realise how talented, driven and inspired a lot of them are. Their (and Tungate's) passion for advertising really shines in this book. Even if you are among those who detest advertising, this book will make you look at it differently.

Adland By Mark Tungate discusses the global history of advertising. The book introduces us to the people who, thanks to their vision and creativity, shaped the world of advertising, explains how the most famous agencies in the world evolved and what challenges they are still facing today. The book is informative and well-researched, and although some passages are quite dry and dull, most of it is written in a fast-paced, engaging tone that makes it easy to read quickly.

Available at: Amazon USA, Barnes & Noble and Book Depository

Rating: 4/5

Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for my honest opinion. In addition, this post contains affiliate links.

Birth Of Henry Fitzroy

In July 1519, Henry VIII became the father of a bouncing baby boy. The problem? The mother wasn't his wife, Queen Catherine of Aragon (who was, however, heavily pregnant at this time), but his mistress Bessie Blount.

Bessie Blount was one of Queen Catherine's ladies. Once her pregnancy had become impossible to hide, she was forced to retire from court. She probably went to the Priory of St. Lawrence at Blackmore in Essex, where her son would be born. We don't know the exact date of the birth, but historians have suggested that it occurred on the 15th. Elizabeth Norton, instead, believes the real date to be the 18th because on that day, Henry, who was expected at Hampton Court on the 19th, disappeared until the 29th. A few years later, 18 June was also the date chosen to bestow the title of Duke of Richmond on the child, and a royal grant on Bessie and her husband, Gilbert Tailboys.

The King and Cardinal Wolsey made sure that Bessie had everything she needed and was comfortable during her pregnancy, so it is likely that they also sent her a well-trained and experienced midwife. They probably also chose a wet-nurse, as was customary at the time. The baby would be baptized at the chapel at Blackmore a few days after the birth, with Cardinal Wolsey acting as godfather.

The King was over the moon when he was told Bessie had given birth to a boy, and visited them both several times. The baby was named Henry, like his father. He was also given the surname of Fitzroy, which means "son of the King", and indicated his status as a royal bastard. Henry had decided, in fact, to recognize his son as his own and would bring him up accordingly. The baby was given his own establishment and, once grown up, his father would bestow titles, offices, riches and lands on him.

Despite his illegitimacy, Henry loved his son tenderly. The King must also have felt very relieved to realise that he could, after all, conceive a healthy baby boy. If so far, his marriage hadn't been blessed with a living son and heir, it certainly wasn't his fault. Catherine, on the other hand, must have been hurt by the birth. It mustn't have been easy to come to terms with the fact that another woman had given her husband what he most wanted and needed: a son. And pretty soon, the King would start looking for a reason to annul their marriage...

Further reading:
Bessie Blount: The King's Mistress by Elizabeth Norton
The six wives of Henry VIII by Antonia Fraser

Marie Antoinette's Daily Life At Versailles

In a letter to her mother, the Empress Maria Theresa, the young Marie Antoinette described the routine of her daily life at court:

"As her mother wishes to know how the days are passed; she gets up between nine and ten, and, having dressed herself and said her morning prayers, she breakfasts, and then she goes to the apartments of her aunts, whose she usually finds the king. That lasts till half-past ten; then at eleven she has her hair dressed.

"At twelve," she proceeds to say, "what is called the Chamber is held, and there every one who does not belong to the common people may enter. I put on my rouge and wash my hands before all the world; the men go out, and the women remain; and then I dress myself in their presence. Then comes mass. If the king is at Versailles, I go to mass with him, my husband, and my aunts; if he is not there, I go alone with the dauphin, but always at the same hour. After mass we two dine by ourselves in the presence of all the world; but dinner is over by half-past one, as we both eat very fast. From the dinner-table I go to the dauphin's apartments, and if he has business, I return to my own rooms, where I read, write, or work; for I am making a waistcoat for the king, which gets on but slowly, though, I trust, with God's grace, it will be finished before many years are over. At three o'clock I go again to visit my aunts, and the king comes to them at the same hour. At four the abbé* comes to me, and at five I have every day either my harpsichord-master or my singing-master till six. At half-past six I go almost every day to my aunts, except when I go out walking. And you must understand that when I go to visit my aunts, my husband almost always goes with me. At seven we play cards till nine o'clock; but when the weather is fine I go out walking, and then there is no play in my apartments, but it is held at my aunts'. At nine we sup; and when the king is not there, my aunts come to sup with us; but when the king is there, we go after supper to their rooms, waiting there for the king, who usually comes about a quarter to eleven; and I lie down on a grand sofa and go to sleep till he comes. But when he is not there, we go to bed at eleven o'clock."

*De Vermond, who had accompanied her from Vienna as her reader.

Further reading:
The Life of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, by Charles Duke Yonge

Historical Reads: Jules Gervais-Courtellemont's autochromes of life at Versailles

Wouldn't it be awesome if we had photos of what Versailles and life at court looked like in the eighteenth century? Unfortunately, this art wasn't known then but, thanks to the historical autochromes taken at Versailles in 1925 by French photographer Jules Gervais-Courtellemont (1863-1931) we can get a glimpse:

Fascinating, isn't it? To see more photos, check out Reading Treasure.

Cornelia Knight

Born in 1757, Cornelia Knight was the daughter of Sir Joseph Knight, a navy officer knighted by King George III, and his wife, a well-educated and accomplished woman praised for her conversation skills. Cornelia was sent to London College, where she learned several European languages, including Latin. In 1775 Sir Joseph died, leaving only a small income to his wife and daughter. Because of that, they decided to move to Naples, where they took part, in 1798, to the celebrations for Nelson's victory at the Battle of the Nile. They two women also became good friends with Lord Nelson and the Hamilton.

The following year, Cornelia's mother died too. The Hamiltons and Lord Nelson thus decided to ask her to accompany them back to England. Once back in England, Cornelia settled independently, although she continued to visit her friends. She also wrote a lot and soon gained the reputation of a learned author. Among her works are Flaminius (an epistolary romance in Rome - 1792) A Description of Latium, or La Campagna di Roma (with her own etchings - 1805), and Translations from the German in Prose and Verse (1812). She also wrote a journal and an autobiography, which was incomplete at the time of her death. But while she was alive, she was very discreet.

In 1805, she was appointed companion to Queen Charlotte on the recommendation of another of her ladies, the novelist Fanny Burney, and, in 1812, she held the same position in the household of her granddaughter, Princess Charlotte of Wales. Cornelia, who was nicknamed The Chevalier by Charlotte, became a close friend and confidant of the young Princess. Cornelia felt very sorry for Charlotte. Her father, the Prince of Wales, knowing her daughter was much more loved and popular than him, kept a close eye on her, had spies in her household (and expected Cornelia to be one too) and didn't want her to have her own establishment until she married.

"Every consideration," Cornelia wrote, "was to be sacrificed to the plan of keeping the Princess Charlotte as long as possible a child; and, consequently, whoever belonged to her was to be thought a nurse or a preceptress". But Cornelia wasn't the right sort of person for such a job. Loyal to the Princess, she did everything she could to help her and thwart her father's plan. For instance, when the Morning Chronicle wrote that she had been appointed sub-governess, she insisted they rectified the mistake and announced her role as lady-companion instead. And when she accompanied the Princess in public, she always acted as she was was in attendance rather than in charge.

In 1814, The Prince of Wales decided to dismiss Charlotte's entire household. Among other things, he had discovered that the Prince August of Prussia had been paying court to Charlotte at her house, and that Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg had visited her too. Cornelia had insisted that Prince Leopold had behaved properly, and defended Prince August too. Cornelia had actually helped Charlotte meet with August, even leaving them completely alone, as she hoped he would marry Charlotte.

The Prince of Wales, instead, wanted her to marry the Prince of Orange, whom Charlotte disliked, and was determined to keep her daughter under even closer confinement. So, everyone had to go. Charlotte and Cornelia kept writing to each other though and, after the Princess married Prince Leopold, Miss Knight visited the couple frequently. Unfortunately, the Princess would die in childbirth, leaving her family, friends and the whole country devastated.

After she had lost her job as companion to Princess Charlotte, Cordelia took up teaching to help pay the bills. She taught the young Massimo Taparelli, the Marquis d'Azeglio (an Italian writer, painter and politician) English,science, literature, and fine arts. Cornelia spent the last 20 years of her life abroad, and died in Paris on 17 December 1837.

Further reading:
Autobiography of Miss Cornelia Knight
Charlotte & Leopold by James Chambers

Duchess De La Valliere

Louise De La Valliere was one of the mistresses of Louis XIV. Unlike other mistresses, she wasn't interested in riches and titles, but only wanted the King's love. When their relationship ended, she took the veil. Here are a few descriptions of the Duchess De La Valliere:

The complexion of the Duchess de la Valliere was very clear and blooming; she had a profusion of fair silky hair, and though her mouth was wide her lips were of a fine vermilion. The width of her mouth was the subject of frequent satire with the envious and ill-natured court of Louis XIV. A nobleman had the assurance to write an epigram on this defect, and the folly to present it with his own hand to the king:—this was the Count Bussy Itabutin. He got sent to the Bastille for his pains. This lampoon had been in circulation some years before without the slightest notice being taken of it by Louis, but the punishment followed the impertinence of thrusting it on the king's attention. The count obtained his liberty in a few months, but was banished the court ever after.

The Princess of Bavaria, second wife to the Duke d'Orleans, although sometimes a coarse, was an honest writer; she thus describes the Duchess de la Valliere in her letters :—

"She had the most beautiful form in the world, and her mien was the most modest; nothing could be more touching or enchanting than the expression of her eyes. She was a little lame, but this defect, instead of injuring, seemed to add to her graces."

Again, she says—" The Duchess dela Valliere was a person full of charms and attractions—good and sweet—tender—she loved the king, not through ambition, but with a real passion, true and excessive; and she never loved any one but the king."

Such was the testimony of the king's sister-in-law and friend, who was not only an eye-witness of the scenes played at court, but an acute and strong-minded judge of character. In another letter, Charlotte of Bavaria says—

"I find the eyes of Madame de la Valliere incomparably more beautiful than those of her rival, Madame de Montespan; for they have more of sweetness and sensibility in their regards than it is possible to describe."

Madame de Genlis thus describes her —" Her large dark blue eyes were veiled by long black eyelashes. The purest white diffused over her face a delightful softness. Her smile, full of grace, was at once ingenuous, touching, and animated. Her shape was perfect, though an accident which happened in her infancy had rendered her somewhat lame, but even this defect had with her a grace. She could disguise it by walking slowly, and then her movement appeared suitable to the delicacy and modesty of her figure."

Further reading:
The Lady's magazine (and museum), 1835

5 Best Poirot Novels

Although most people prefer Miss Marple, Poirot is my favourite Christie's detective. He may be arrogant and annoying, but when you're a genius, you're allowed to be. Poirot doesn't believe in getting his hands dirty but can solve any crimes just by sitting comfortably in his chair, provided he has most of the facts. How he does it? Psychology, and his little grey cells.

My favourite novel? It's really hard to pick one (so I picked five). A novel with Poirot very rarely disappoints (but stay away from The Big Four as that is truly awful; I just want to forget it involved the Belgian detective), but if you've never read one and would like to know where to start, I'd recommend The Mysterious Affair At Styles. It was the first Christie novel, the first one with Poirot and the perfect introduction to the famous detective.

As afterwards, you'll be left wanting more, pick up these books.They are all masterpieces.

Murder On The Orient Express by Agatha Christie
This is certainly Christie's most famous novel and it's easy to see why. It's truly a masterpiece. Poirot is returning home from "a little affair in Syria" (which is narrated in Murder in Mesopotamia) on the Orient Express. Here he meets millionaire Samuel Ratchett, who, after receiving death threats, asks him for help. He refuses. That same night Rachett is murdered with 12 stabs in his cabin. Due to a snow-drift, the train halts in the middle of nowhere. That means that the killer is still on board. But who did it? Everyone has an alibi and the murder seems inexplicable. Yet, with the help of his little grey cells and a little psychology, Poirot will solve the mystery. The plan was well-executed and so is the plot. The characters are interesting and the end will totally take you by surprise. Although the beginning is slow, it soon picks up speed and you won't be able to put the book down until you've reached the last page. I don't like reading detective stories twice (where's the fun when you already know whodunnit?), but I think I will definitely revisit this one in a few years' time. It's that good.
Available at: amazon.com
Rating: 5/5

Death On The Nile by Agatha Christie
Wherever he goes, Poirot seems to stumble onto a murder. Here, he's on a cruise on the Nile, where he meets the beautiful and rich Linnet Doyle and her husband Simon. The couple are on their honeymoon, which is however spoiled by Simon's ex-fiancé and Linnet's ex best friend Jackie, who's stalking them wherever they go. One night, Jackie shots Simon in the leg, but only wounds him. It's Linnet who is found dead in her cabin. She was killed with a shot in the head. Jackie is the obvious suspect, but did she really kill her old friend? Poirot and his friend Colonel Race investigate. The story is always well-written and well-plotted, full of possible suspects, red herrings and twists and turns. Again, the solution is completely unexpected. This book is truly a page turner that will enthrall you from page one.
Available at: amazon.com
Rating: 4.5/5

The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
Rumour has it that Mrs. Ferrars has poisoned her husband. Everyone knows she plans to marry Roger Ackroyd when the mourning period is over. But then, she commits suicide. Soon afterwards, Roger is found dead too. Poirot, who had just retired in the village to grow vegetables, investigates together with the village doctor, Dr Shepard. The characters are well-drawn and likeable, suspects abound, and there are red herrings at every turn. The end, which is totally unexpected, is also controversial. I can't obviously reveal too much, so suffice it to say that Christie used a technique that had never been used before and that has made some readers feel cheated. I think it was genius, and enjoyed the book throughoutly, from beginning to end.
Available at: amazon.com
Rating: 4.5

Murder in Mesopotamia by Agatha Christie
Louise Leidner is terrified. Her husband, archaeologist Dr. Eric Leidner, hires nurse Amy Leatheran to look after her while they're on a dig in the Persian desert. Everyone believes that Louise is just paranoid. But then she's found dead. Poirot, who has once again stumbled onto another murder, enlists Amy's help to find the culprit. And it's not easy. Suspects, as always, abound and this time someone else may be in danger too. Clues are few, and no one seems to be able to figure out how the murder was committed either. And the end? Again, another surprise. Doesn't matter how attentively you read Christie's books, finding the culprit is very often impossible. And isn't that what makes a detective story good?
Available at: amazon.com
Rating: 4/5

Hercule Poirot's Christmas by Agatha Christie
Millionaire Simeon Lee gathers his family home for Christmas. Alfred, the doting son. Harry, the black sheep. George, the thrifty one. And David, the sensitive one who still mourns the death of their mother. There also their wives and Pilar, his granddaughter, whom Simon had never met before. Tension is high as people who, albeit family, don't get along are forced to stay under the same roof, pretending everything's ok. That's until Simon is found with his throat cut in his study. The door was locked from the inside. Everyone is a suspect as everyone has a reason to kill Simon. But who did it? Both Poirot and Inspector Sugden investigate, but guess who will solve the mystery? Yep, our favourite Belgian detective. Just like the other books, this one too has a well-executed plot, interesting characters, red herrings and twists that will keep you guessing until the end. You won't be disappointed.
Available at: amazon.com
Rating: 4/5

What are your favourite Poirot novels?

Marie Antoinette's Wedding

On 16 May 1770 Maria Antonia Josepha Johanna von Habsburg-Lothringen married Louis-Auguste de France, in a lavish ceremony at Versailles, in front of more than 5000 guests. Guests were admitted only if they had a ticket, although many curious people flocked to the palace to try and get a glimpse of the royal couple. Even those who were officially invited, though, had to wake up really early in the morning (the Duchess of Northumberland was up at 6 am!) to get dressed and reach the palace in time.

The guests were, of course, required to be in full court dress. This meant "swords and silk coats for men, tightly boned bodices, hooped skirts and a long train for women, as well as elaborately dressed and powdered hair".*

Maxime de la Rocheterie described the ceremony and the festivities that followed thus:

On Wednesday, the 16th of May, at nine o'clock, Marie Antoinette left La Muette for Versailles, where her toilette was to take place. The king and the dauphin had preceded her the evening before. When she arrived at the chateau, the king received her on the ground-floor, discoursed for some time with her, and presented to her Madame Elisabeth, the Comtesse de Clermont, and the Princesse de Conti. At one o'clock she went to the apartment of the king, whence the cortege started for the chapel.

The dauphin and the dauphiness, followed by the old monarch, advanced toward the altar and knelt on a cushion placed on the steps of the sanctuary. The archbishop of Rheims, Monseigneur de la Roche-Aymon, grand almoner, offered them the holy water, then after having exhorted the young couple, blessed the thirteen pieces of gold and the ring. The dauphin took the ring and placed it on the fourth finger of the dauphiness, and gave her the gold-pieces. The archbishop pronounced the nuptial benediction, and as soon as the king had returned to his prie-Dieu, opened the mass.

The royal choir sang a motet by the Abbe de Ganzargue; after the offertory the dauphin and dauphiness went to make their offering. At the Pater a canopy of silver brocade was spread above their heads, — the bishop of Senlis, Monseigneur de Roquelaure, grand almoner to the king, holding it on the side of the dauphin, and the bishop of Chartres, grand almoner to the dauphiness, holding it on the side of that princess.

At the end of the mass the grand almoner approached the prie-Dieu of the king and presented to him the marriage register of the royal parish, which the cure had carried. Then the cortege returned to the king's apartment in the same order, and the dauphiness, after going to her own apartment, received the officers of her household and the foreign ambassadors. An immense crowd filled the royal city. Paris was deserted: the shops were closed; the entire population had betaken itself to Versailles to assist at the celebrations and fireworks which were to finish the day.

But at three o'clock the sky became overcast; a violent storm burst; the fireworks could not be set off; the illuminations were drowned by the rain; and the crowd of curious people who filled the gardens and streets were obliged to flee in disorder before the peals of thunder and torrents of rain.

In the chateau, however, the day ended brilliantly. The courtiers, in sumptuous attire, eager to see and above all to be seen, crowded the apartments; a magnificent supper was served in the theatre, transformed into a banqueting-hall and lighted by "a prodigious number of candles." "All the ladies in full dress in the front of the boxes presented a sight as surprising as it was magnificent." The court had never seemed so brilliant.

At six o'clock a drawing-room was held, games of lansquenet, and a state dinner. In the evening the king conducted the newly married couple to their room. The archbishop of Rheims blessed the bed. The king gave the chemise to the dauphin, the Duchesse de Chartres to the dauphiness. But despite the splendour of the celebrations and the promising aspect of the future at that moment, certain obstinate pessimists could not help regarding the rumbling of the storm as a menace from Heaven; and the superstitious recalled that the young wife, in signing the marriage register, had let fall a blot of ink which had effaced half her name.

Maxime de la Rocheterie's account left out an important detail, though. Well, important to us women: the dress. What did the young Marie Antoinette wear on her wedding day? Unfortunately nothing remains of her wedding dress, bar a few descriptions by contemporaries. From them, we learn that the bride, who appeared smiling and poised and no older than 12 (she was 14), wore a brocade gown with a long and heavy train. Her whole small figure glittered with diamonds.

However, the dress didn't fit her. Despite the ladies of the court's best efforts, the dress couldn't be completely laced in the back, which meant that Marie Antoinette's shift shew through, as the Duchess of Northumberleand remarked: "the corps of her robe was too small and left quite a broad stripe of lacing and shift quite visible, which had a bad effect between two broader stripes of diamonds. She really had quite a load of jewels."** The bridegroom instead, who, according to the Duchess, looked timid, trembling and worn out with anxiety, wore a suit of cloth of gold covered with jewels and orders.

The young couple was truly a dazzling sight.

* Marie Antoinette: The Journey by Antonia Fraser
** To the Scaffold: The Life of Marie Antoinette by Carolly Erickson

Further reading:
Marie Antoinette: The Journey by Antonia Fraser
The life of Marie Antoinette by Maxime de la Rocheterie
To the Scaffold: The Life of Marie Antoinette by Carolly Erickson

Fashions For Winter 1835

Hello everyone,

here are some plates of styles that were fashionable in the winter of 1835, some of which include both the front and back of the dress. I'm not a big fan of the big sleeves that were popular in this period. They give the figure such a funny shape! But I quite like the pink concert dress. The sleeves are not too big and the pink colour is so eyecatching. I also love the feathers women wore in their hair. They're pretty, aren't they?

Without further ado, here are the plates (as always, click on the pictures to enlarge them):



Dress of pink satin, the corsage plain, and fitting tight to the bust, with draperies a la Sevigne put on.The dress has short sleeves (see plate), over which are long full ones of rich blonde: the epaulettes and cuffs, which are pointed, are of the material of the dress: the front of the skirt is en tablier (see plate), ornamented with wreaths of oak-leaves, from the centre of which, as if fastening the two branches together, depend short cords, finished by tassels representing acorns (see plate). Six of these ornaments, increasing gradually in size as they go down, are placed at distances down the front of the dress: two ornament the front of the corsage. Hat of green velvet, a la Agnes Sorel. The crown is in shape like the calottes of the hats at present in fashion: the leaf is narrow at back and very broad in front, where it is turned tip; two long drooping feathers are placed at the left side. The hat, as may be remarked in the plate, is worn over a net-work a l'antiqne, of green and gold. The hair is in plain bands. Round the neck is a new-fashioned cravatte, called a caprice (see plate); it is of green satin, lined with swan's-down. White kid gloves and white satin shoes. The sitting figure gives the back of the hat. The dress is a redingotle of gros de Naples.


Dress of white crepe lisse, the corsage plain, the sleeves short and excessively full, and finished above the elbow with ruffles a la Louis XV. The garniture of the dress consists of roses without foliage, and the tips of ostrich feathers (see plate), put on in Vandyke just above the hem of the dress. A wreath of smaller roses goes round the neck of the dress: pink ceinture. The back hair is in several light braids on the crown of the head (see plate), which are encircled by an ornament of jewels and gold. Two immensely high feathers spring from the back of the braids. The front hair, which is excessively parted on the brow, is in full tufts of curls at the sides of the head. White kid gloves, finished at top with a puffing of satin ribbon, embroidered stockings, and white satin shoes. The sitting figure gives the back of this very pretty costume.



Dress of white gaze de Chomberry, worn over white satin. The corsage is made to fit tight to the bust: a mantilie or pelerine decollelee of pink satin (see plate), trimmed with two rows (one excessively deep, the other narrow,) of rich blonde, is worn over the corsage; the mantilie is open on the shoulders, and brought together with two small bows of satin ribbon; it is cut rather deep on the shoulders, and sloped off gradually towards the centre of the front and back, where it is as narrow as possible.— (Sec plate.) Three full folds of satin, in the style of a drapery a la Sevigne, depend from each side of the front of the mantilie, aud are fixed low down on the centre of the front of the corsage by a full bow of satin ribbon; another smaller bow is placed at the top of the centre of the corsage: the mantilie is edged all round with a narrow piping or liserc, and to which are attached the two falls of blonde: round the bosom is an excessively narrow blonde, standing up. The sleeves are short, and excessively full. The skirt of the dress is made en tablier.—(See plate.) Two rouleaux of satin, to which a very narrow blonde is affixed, go down each side of the front of the dress, in the style of robings; these rouleaux, which are very small at the waist, where they are close together, gradually increase in size and distance as they go down. A spiral wreath of full-blown roses goes from top to bottom, at each side, between the two rouleaux; a large bow of satin ribbon, from which springs a high bouquet of roses in the centre of the front of the lower part of the dress. The ceinture is to match. The cap, which is styled a la Chatelaine, is of blonde. The crown is plain; the borders of which there are two, a deep and a narrower, are put on with a great deal of fulness, and made to stand up completely off the face.—(See plate.) A high bouquet of roses, half sheltered by the blonde, is placed in the front of the cap, and rather on the summit of the head (for the cap is worn far back): two full-blown roses are placed on the right temple, one on the left; the barbes dependant from each side are of blonde: a ribbon goes round the head of the cap, it is tied in along loose bow at the back of the borders; a smaller bow is placed over the bavolet of blonde at the back. Necklace, ear-rings, and buckle of gold. White kid gloves; black satin shoes; silk stockings; a large bouquet, and a fan of mother o' pearl and gold. The sitting figure gives the back of the dress; the robe is of blue crape over white.


Satin redingote, the corsage plain and fitting tight to the bust. The redingote trimmed with silk braid, the colour of the satin: two rows placed close together go down the front from top to bottom; and two rows, but placed at a distance from each other, are round the bottom. A kind of mantilie of black lace, very deep on the shoulders, rather narrower at back, and diminishing gradually to a point in front,until it reaches the waist, is worn in the style of a pelerine with this redingote—(see plate); a double row of the same silk braid is placed a little above it. The collar, which is of black lace, is edged with a narrow piping of black satin, and trimmed with a deep black lace. The sleeves, which are enormously wide, are finished at the wrist with a deeper cuff than those lately worn. Green satin hat, the crown made slanting, higher at front than at back—(see plate): the front, which is worn as close as possible to the face, is very long at the sides, where it is rounded off; the trimming, consisting of a bow placed at the right side, and which retains a bird of Paradise (the bird dyed black, the long plumage the colour of the hat), is of the richest and the widest satin ribbon: a second bow finishes the hat at back. The Cravatte icharpe round the neck is of green gauze, to match the hat; the ends are fringed, and it is fastened in front by a brooch. Black shoes. White silk stockings. The reticule is a round basket cut in four pieces, the cover like the top of a parasol.—(See plate.) The frame is made in gilt wire, and the satin stretched upon it; it is finished underneath by a silk tassel, and suspended on the arm by a ribbon. Shoes of satin royal. The hair is in plain bands. The second figure shows the back of the dress.

The Parisian ladies are adopting the use of caleches of an evening; a fashion we should like to see more general here: the size and lightness with which they are made, prevent the possibility of disarranging the head-dresses, and they are a great preservative against cold: they are now made with capes arranged with whalebones, to prevent any weight or pressure on the dress.



Standing figure. Dress of pink velours epingle; corsage drapè,in folds across the bosom; back tight. The sleeves very short and full, and cut open in front to admit of the underneath sleeve being seen.—(See plate.) The fente or cut is trimmed all round with narrow blonde. A small bow without ends of satin ribbon is placed on each shoulder, and a larger bow with ends at the lower part of the sleeve. The skirt, which is very full, is in small plaits all round the waist, and is looped up at bottom (see plate) with full bows of satin ribbon that retain two marabouts. The dress is looped up higher at the left side than at the right; round the bosom is a narrow blonde. Toque of tulle sylphe, the colour of the dress. The toque is made in full high puffings (see plate), which looks well on account of the lightness of the material: a plain piece crosses the brow. The toque is ornamented with two long marabouts, and bows of satin ribbon. Necklace and brooch of cameos. White kid gloves, ornamented at top with puffings of satin ribbon, the colour of the dress. Embroidered cambric handkerchief, trimmed with Valenciennes. Bouquet of roses, white satin shoes, and silk stockings; the fronts in imitation of blonde.

Second figure, seated at the piano-forte. —Dress of white crape, over white satin, made like the foregoing, with bows of blue satin ribbon on the shoulders and sleeves. Coiffure en cheveux. The front hair is brought in plain bands below the temples, where it is suffered to fall in thick clusters of ringlets, a la Mancini. A bunch of roses is placed on each temple (see plate); the back hair is in a thick braid, forming half a circle, and a good deal elevated from the head. A wreath, consisting of seven fullblown roses, without foliage, is placed immediately over the braid. A small gold ornament, surrounded by a small braid formed of the ends of the hair, is over the division of the front hair. Gold necklace.

Third figure, leaning over the instrument. —Cap of blue gaze Dona Maria; the crown is cut round, and merely gathered to fit the head. The border, which is deep in front, where it is made to stand up, and narrower at back, is likewise of gaze, the same as the cap. A bow of satin ribbon is placed below the ear at the left side.—(See plate.) Two white marabouts ornament the front of the cap. Dress of white sati ; the corsage made to cross in front: it is trimmed round the neck with narrow blonde.


Dress of white crape; corsage a la Sevigne.. The sleeves very short and full, and ornamented with two deep falls of blonde, that nearly cover them. The skirt of the dress is richly embroidered down each side of the front, about as low as the knees, where it continues all round the dress.—(See plate.) A deep blonde, put on to a narrow satin liserc or piping, and reaching at each side from the waist to the knees, gives the dress the appearance of a short tunic. Ceinture of pink satin ribbon. Another pink satin ribbon, edged all round with blonde, forms a point that reaches to the top of the waist at back (see plate): it is brought over the shoulders, and crosses beneath the ceinture in front. The ends are short and rounded. This ribbon, as may be seen by the plate, is cut on the shoulders to make it sit. —Coiffure en Chiffons, ornamented with jewels, and three ostrich feathers. The back hair is in one high braid, encircled by a rich ornament of jewels; puffings of gaze Dona Maria are placed at each side of the braid. Two high ostrich feathers spring from the back; a third is placed over the left ear, and droops toward the face. The front hair, brought low at the sides, is in full clusters of ringlets. A small flat gold chain, a jours, crosses the brow like a Feronniere. Necklace, earrings, and brooch of cameos. White kid gloves, white satin shoes, silk stockings, and blonde scarf. The sitting figure gives the reverse of the dress.

What do you think of these outfits? Would you have worn them?

Further reading:
The Lady's magazine (and museum)

Historical Reads: Frances Abington

Heather Carroll, author of The Duchess Of Devonshire's Guide To The 18th Century, has written an interesting post about actress Frances Abington. To quote:

Before Mrs. Abington was a leading actress playing roles such as Lady Teazle, she was just a simple flower girl and busker. Fanny Barton, as she was known then, soon after gained employment with a French milliner which proved to be beneficial because she learned both French and the art of costume. It is unclear as to the specifics, but around this time she had gained employment in a brothel, something that would be publicized later during her celebrity. She got her big break in 1755, acting in the Haymarket. Her career took her to Ireland where she enjoyed great success and could only be lured back to England by the coaxing of the theater-genius, David Garrick. By this point Frances had married; the lucky man was her music teacher, a James Abington. The marriage gave her the name that made her famous: Mrs Abington, but it also gave her a lot of grief. It was not a happy marriage. In 1773 Frances had made it onto Harris's List of Covent Garden Ladies, a notorious listing of prostitutes, which reported that James Abington had "sold her to Mr.--- for 500L. and entered into the articles never to molest him in the possession of her." Sold the divine Ms A?! I doubt she was a woman to be sold! Well, at least not by someone besides herself. By this time the couple had separated and were living apart. Frances had even taken up with a rich MP.

To read the entire post, click here.

A Mother's Advice On Gambling

In the Georgian Era, gambling was endemic among the upper classes. "A thousand meadows and cornfields are staked at every throw, and as many villages lost as in the earthquake that overwhelmed Herculaneum and Pompeii", wrote Horace Walpole.

A lady very fond of gambling, much to her mother's chagrin, was Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. Lady Spencer would often urge her daughter to stay away from this dangerous vice:

"Let em entreat you to beware of it, and if [gambling] is mention'd to you any more, to decline the taking any part in it." [...]

"Play at whist, commerce, backgammon, trictrac or chess, but never at quinze, lou, brag, faro, hazard or any games of chance, and if you are pressed to play always make the fashionable excuse of being tied up not to play at such and such game. In short I must beg you, my dearest girl, if you value my happiness to send me in writing a serious answer to this."

Unfortunately, Georgiana didn't listen. She lost a fortune at the gaming table, and was constantly in debt. Afraid to confront her husband, she often borrowed money (which she never paid back) from her friends (including the Prince of Wales) to settle them. At her death, she was said to own today's equivalent of £3,720,000!

Further reading:
Georgiana: Duchess Of Devonshire by Amanda Foreman