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Gentle Readers: to ponder whether showing one's elbow was acceptable or not, mayhap, you will find the following entry from A Governess in the Age of Jane Austen: The Letters and Journals of Agnes Porter, very interesting. The last line reminds us that though time marches on, people are people. Enjoy!
29, March 1803
With a large party at Mrs. Vilett's- a little music, a good deal of chat, with a tincture of scandal: Lady Meredith was talked of for being turned out of the Rooms at Bath by the Master of Ceremonies for having no sleeves to her cloaths-the naked elbow appears every where with impunity, but the arm above it is not tolerated as yet. The Bishop of Meath is aid to preach against female fashions in dress- he is a popular preacher, but has as yet made no great reform. Then they talked of a marriage and 'What could he see in her?' was repeated by the ladies, while the gentlemen seemed as much at the loss to account for the predilection of the bride- so goes the world: criticizing and criticized.
Oh My, Gentle Readers. What do we have here? Is our Fashion (Victim) making an unseemly gesture? What an unfortunate placement of the hand. One wonders what is going on there, but any gentile lady would be remiss in her niceties to discuss such things.
We're looking for pen pals! Here's an excuse to pick up quill and ink and try your hand at writing in a period manner...or just pick up the ol' ballpoint and exchange opinions over Regency topics with someone who appreciates the era as much as you do! You don't need to be an RSV member to participate but you do need to register on the RSV website (https://regencysocietyofvirginia.wildapricot.org/event-3825…) no later than May 12 in order to be included. Join in and rediscover the joy of receiving a personal letter in the mail!
Well, it's time again for our next Friday Fashion (Victim). With the current restrictions on how close one can get to another, it is not a wonder we are all probably in need of a good catch up with our hairdresser. But my oh my. One wonders if this was an unfortunate hair day, or mayhaps curly, uncontrolable locks? Or was this a fashion choice? if so, Gentle Readers, one ponders why? Does she not remind of you the poodle? We leave you to judge.Picture of dog courtesy of dogappy.com.
In 1815 Mr. Ralph Rylance visited over 650 shops and restaurants to create his Epicure's Almanack. His aim was to guide the publick to places of good quality whilst dining in London. Though future additions were promised, alas, it was not to be. Let's follow Mr. Rylance down Old-Bond Street...
At. No. 20, in Old Bond-Street, is Hawkin's (late Wade's) warehouse, for the sale of mineral and spa waters.
No. 19, is Chapman's, a celebrated Fruit-Shop, where jellies, ices, marmalades, cakes, liqueurs, and other delicious things are sold in the highest state of perfection.
At No. 4, is the shop of Lyne, a confectioner, who supplies routs and balls with the multifarious produce of his ovens.
At No. 45, Mr. Others has long kept a princely repository long noted for the finest forest venison.
No. 166, Piccadilly, facing Old Bond-Street, is the Shop of Messrs. R. and J. Taylor, who style themselves Fish Salesmen. Perambulate all London, and you will nowhere find so splendid a display of fine fish.
Gentle Readers, are you ready for our next Fashion (Victim)? Though one cannot argue the gown and bonnet in this print are not repulsive, we cannot say so for the backward arms. My goodness. Was she a contortionist before posting for this? Note the feet. One shoe is facing forward and the other, quite creepily, seems to be facing backwards. Is she looking over a shoulder? Was she sewn together incorrectly (thank you Victor Frankenstein)? We shall let you judge.
Greetings Gentle Readers. As many of you have now taken on the additional role of teacher we thought you'd like a glimpse of what a day was like in the life of a Regency Governess. This excerpt comes from A Governess in the Age of Jane Austen- The Journals and Letters of Agnes Porter. Ms. Porter was born in 1752. Though she did have thoughts and hopes of marriage, alas it was not to be, and thus turned her eyes to the education of children. She was the governess to tee second Earl of Ilchester's children and grandchildren.
I go on as usual with the dear children. They come to me at half-past seven, stay near three hours, then I breakfast with their papa and mama. I them am by myself till one o'clock-I walk , work, read and write at pleasure. I again meet my pupils at their dinner and my nunch at one, and they stay with me till half-past four. I then dress for dinner at five. The children come in at desert, and continue in company till eight. I then very often see the two elder young ladies put to bed, and after that return below stairs to the drawing-room till ten. Then to bed. I endeavor to be as useful as possible to my dear pupils, and may God bless them here and ever, Amen. A. A. Porter, Penrice Castle, Swansea, March 24th, 1804.
It's time to show our mirth and introduce a new series of posts entitled- Fashion (Victim). Each week we will introduce you to an unlucky lady, or two, who must spend the rest of eternity dressed, well, not at her best. One wonders what these ladies did to their mantua makers to make them hate them so...
This week we present two print. The first hails from from La Belle Assemblee, January 1809. It is titled "Walking Dress in Feb. 1809". One gets the general impression of clerical influences, with a dash of Ivan the Terrible.
Gentle Readers, this dear lady truly was a victim. All of us here can appreciate that magnificent green. But did you know green can kill? Her spencer, parasol, purse and shoes were more than likely produced from arsenical green which was created using, you guessed it- arsenic.
The copper arsenite was created by Carl Wilhelm Scheele in 1778, mixing potassium and white arsenic on a solution of copper vitriol. Prior to this date greens were made by mixing colors together, but failed to reach the vivid green of the Scheele's Green, as it was called. By 1814 he had created an even more vivid color, called Emerald or Schweinfurt Green, after the town of production in England. In America is was called Paris Green.
Many a young a garment and flower maker met a horrible death trying to create this beautiful color.
For further reading see Fashion Victim: The Dangers of Dress Past and Present, by Allison Matthews David.
If you've been looking for a productive way to spend your time while we "shelter in place," look no further than our new Regency Recipes page! Our wonderful secretary/culinary expert, Kim Costa, has been kind enough to film cooking demonstrations of period "receipts" so that we can get the flavor of the early 19th century. Her first recipe--pepper cakes from Hannah Glasse's 1799 edition of The Art of Cookery--has been posted. Don't worry about taking notes during her video, either; we've got the modern conversion of the recipe available for download on the Regency Recipes page, too.
Be sure to mark your calendars for March 28-29 so that you can participate in DrunkAusten's #VirtualJaneCon, a series of online sessions dedicated to all things Jane Austen!
The "sessions" will be held over a variety of platforms, including Facebook, Zoom, and Twitter, and featuring topics such as "Making a Regency Dress," and "Persuasion Adaptations." There will also be a Pride and Prejudice (2005) watch party and a LiveTweet for the new Emma movie. A listing of the schedule and links to all of the online events can be found on the #VirtualJaneCon page.
Participation is absolutely free, although the hosts do suggest that donations to your local JASNA chapter would be appropriate.