Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Accessories, Part 11: More Scarves and Wraps

We’re back for another installment in our fashion series on NineteenTeen focusing not on dresses and gowns (gorgeous as they are) but on the little things that complete a fashionable ensemble—hats, shoes, gloves, purses, parasols, and other accessories.

Our accessory of the week is the scarf or shawl, a particular favorite of mine (you don’t want to know how many scarves I own!) I’m not including fitted wraps or mantles (basically, colder weather wear) in this survey—we’ll look at those at a later date. In this era of no central heating, the shawl was a ubiquitous—and needed—garment. Ladies made a virtue of necessity by turning it into not only a fashion statement, but also a status indicator via expensive imported shawls from India, of silk and cashmere.

We’ll be seeing examples from 1822 through 1829. Look for lots of images rather than commentary, though I’ll try to supply original text if I have it—the point is to be able to examine multiple examples of each item. Images are drawn from my collection of prints from Ackermann’s Repository. Happy accessorizing!

Full Dress, January 1822, Ackermann’s Repository
Full shawl with decorative edging—embroidered or woven?

Evening Dress, July 1822 Ackermann’s Repository
Again, large shawl with decorative edging like that in the previous image

Walking Dress, August 1822 Ackermann’s Repository

Promenade Dress, December 1822 Ackermann’s Repository
From the accompanying text: “Long tippet and muff of chinchilla.”

Evening Dress, March 1823 Ackermann’s Repository
Appears to be a lighter weight shawl—silk?—in a tartan pattern.

Ball Dress, August 1823 Ackermann’s Repository
A light silk gauze wrap.

Evening Dress, September 1823 Ackermann’s Repository

Evening Dress, February 1824 Ackermann’s Repository
From the accompanying text: “...lace scarf...”

Morning Dress, March 1824 Ackermann’s Repository

Evening Dress, March 1824 Ackermann’s Repository

Dinner Dress, May 1824 Ackermann’s Repository
A very large (and elaborately drawn!) lace shawl.

Ball Dress, August 1824 Ackermann’s Repository
I can’t tell if those are beads on the fringe ends, or just knots.

Evening Dress, September 1824 Ackermann’s Repository
Another silk tartan shawl or scarf.

Evening Dress, January 1825 Ackermann’s Repository

Evening Dress, July 1825 Ackermann’s Repository
Another surprisingly modern-looking scarf with knotted fringe.

Morning Dress, August 1825 Ackermann’s Repository
Perhaps a wool tartan shawl here?

Evening Dress, January 1826 Ackermann’s Repository
I wish I had the text for this one, because the coloring on the scarf is very interesting. 

Evening Dress, April 1826 Ackermann’s Repository

Ball Dress, June 1826 Ackermann’s Repository
This shawl looks almost ombre dyed!

Evening Dress, July 1826 Ackermann’s Repository

Evening Dress, August 1826 Ackermann’s Repository

Evening Dress, December 1826 Ackermann’s Repository

Evening Dress, March 1827 Ackermann’s Repository

Dinner Dress, November 1827 Ackermann’s Repository
A pretty tartan gauze scarf.

Ball Dress, March 1828 Ackermann’s Repository
From the accompanying text: “...gauze scarf...”

Evening Full Dress, September 1828 Ackermann’s Repository
Another pretty lace scarf to end with!

Any shawls or scarves you'd fancy for your wardrobe?
To be continued...

Friday, January 12, 2018

Cool 19th Century Places to Visit: The Kennel Club Library and Art Gallery

I have a list—a very, very long list—that continues to grow each time I delve into research for a book. It’s a list of places related to the nineteenth century that I’d love to visit (and I few I already have). This year I’ll be sharing them with you, so you can add to your list too.

I came across this one recently purely by accident, but my wonderful critique partner Kristy J. Manhattan and I are already making plans to go to the Kennel Club Library in London next time we’re in England.

The Kennel Club was the first of its kind in the world, a club devoted to the showing and health of dogs. Dog shows and field trials were gaining in popularity in England toward the middle of the nineteenth century, and the founders wanted a way to standardize rules and ensure no harm came to the animals. Founded in 1873, the Kennel Club published its first registry of purebred dogs, its Stud Book, a year later.

The Kennel Club library includes all its Stud Books, listing animals and owners, as well as catalogues from many historic dog shows. Some books predate the club by more than two centuries. Can you imagine what you might learn about our nineteenth century heroes and heroines? Did some manly duke prefer to show Pekinese? Was there a dainty lady who distinguished herself for breeding gun dogs?

In addition, the Kennel Club makes available its art gallery, featuring thousands of paintings depicting dogs through the ages. Many pieces have been borrowed from private collections or major English collections such as the Tate. Artists include such renowned nineteenth century painters as award-winning landscape artist Richard Ansdell and prolific puppy painter Arthur Wardle.

You can learn more about the library and art gallery at the websites, including directions, hours of operation (by appointment only), and holdings.    

You can also get the details on the Twilight Bark, I suspect. 😊

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Regency Fabric, Part 17

Here’s another post in our ongoing series on Regency fabrics.

As I have in previous posts, I’ll be examining actual fabric samples glued into several earlier editions of Ackermann’s Repository, samples supplied by the manufacturers and published by Ackermann in order to boost the British cloth-making industry at a time when exporting British goods to Europe was almost impossible because of the Napoleonic war. I'll give you a close-up scan of each sample, the published description if available, and my own observations of the color, weight, condition, and similarity to present-day materials, to give you as close a picture as possible of what these fabrics are like. So here we go!

Today’s three samples are from the January 1811 issue of Ackermann’s Repository. The overall condition of my copy is excellent: the page has been trimmed but is otherwise free of foxing and toning, and the fabric samples themselves appear to be in fine shape.

Here we go!

Nos. 1 and 2. A printed cotton, lace pattern, particularly adapted for half-mourning dresses. From the elegance of the pattern, we presume that it is likely to become a favourite article with our fashionable females for morning or domestic wear. It is furnished by Churchill and Blomefield, 36, King-street, Cheap-side.

My comments: All of the fabrics in this month’s offering are suitable for mourning use, likely in acknowledgement of court mourning after the death of George III’s youngest daughter, Princess Amelia, in November 1810. This print looks remarkably like a net lace, doesn’t it? It’s similar in weight to today’s quilting cotton fabrics, though the weave itself is not as smoothly woven as a quilting cotton, having a lot of slubs not visible on the printed face of the fabric but clearly in view on the reverse..  

No. 3. A silver grey embossed satin, particularly adapted for slight mourning. With robes of this article every order of black trimming, and bugle or jet ornaments, are consistent. The robe should be constructed plain, with a short Grecian sleeve and demi-traine, the robe sitting close to the bust. Furnished by Messrs. Cooper’s, Pall-Mall.

My comments: What lovely fabric! It’s hard to judge whether the color has changed—it is over two hundred years old, after all—but this appears more blue than silver grey. I’m guessing the fiber is silk, based on the sheen and the smooth hand; it would drape beautifully

No. 4. A grey and black imperial cambric, calculated for the intermediate or morning costume. The Flemish jacket, and simple round gown, with antique stomacher and sleeve, each trimmed or ornamented with black velvet, and trimmed round the throat and cuffs with full plaitings of black net, or black Vandyke lace, are the most tasteful habits we have seen of this material. It may be procured at Messrs. Smith’s, 43, Tavistock-street, Covent-Garden.

My comments: Again, I would call this blue rather than grey, but there may also have been some color change over the centuries. The fabric is woven with a slight rib set on the diagonal which, combined with the print, gives it pleasant visual interest. The weave is very fine and even with a smooth, drape-y hand, opaque enough not to require an underdress.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Happy New Year! One More Present to Open

Is Christmas over? I wasn’t ready (I’m never ready). I spent time with friends and family, I received some lovely cards and gifts, including a set of laser-carved walnut bookends of sailing ships and a fabulous new cowl from my wonderful critique partner, Kristy J. Manhattan, in yarn died to match the cover of Mail-Order Marriage Promise.

I don’t know about you, but coming back to work after the holidays was harder than usual this year. Some of you have had it harder than I did. Hugs to those of you shivering in the snow and cold.

How about one more present? A free book.

The Husband Mission, book 1 in my Regency-set Spy Matchmaker series, will be free on all major online retailers through January 6, 2018. That gives you two days for you and all your friends and family to download a copy. This is an update of one of my personal favorite novels, Lord Borin’s Secret Love.

Katherine Collins is on a mission. The spirited spinster is financially beholden to her stepsister, who will inherit a fortune--if she marries in the next six weeks. Katherine even mounted an espionage campaign to locate the perfect husband, Alexander Wescott, Viscount Borin.

Alex cannot understand why he’s under surveillance, but it seems to have something to do with the intriguing Katherine. Rejected for service by England’s spymaster, he ought to be searching for a wife. But what wife can compare to the excitement of international espionage? Unless, of course, she’s up for a little espionage herself.

“Regina Scott pens a fast-paced riddle of a tale… Her excellent cast of characters brings great charm and humor to this romantic romp.” – RT Book Reviews

Here’s to many more books to read and enjoy in the new year!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

May Your Days Be Merry and Bright

It’s that time of year once again, when the darkest days become filled with the light of holiday celebrations. Regina and I will take the next week or so off to celebrate the season with our families and friends, and we hope that you will be doing the same. Look for us again in the new year of 2018 (wow—can you believe it?) for more books, more history geekery, and more fun. In the meanwhile, we wish you the very best!

To end on a festive historical note...got any holiday party plans? Why not rock your next party with a hairstyle Lizzie Bennett herself would have envied?  You'll need long hair...but the technique isn't too difficult, and the results are gorgeous! With a gold ribbon or a sprig of holly (carefully) tucked into the back, you'll be the belle of the evening.

There are actually a lot of Regency hairstyle videos out there that lots of fun to watch. Now, if only my hair were longer than my shoulders...

And from me personally, here's my favorite holiday video of all time--a reminder that even in the middle of the most humdrum of times and places, wonder and beauty can still take us by surprise. Enjoy!

As we come to the end of our tenth year of blogging, Regina and I thank you most sincerely for being NineteenTeen readers. ☺ See you next year!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Christmas Carols 1874-Style

File:Vickery Atkins and Torrey - Christmas Card.jpgWe’ve talked about Christmas carols in early nineteenth century England before. When I was researching the period around His Frontier Christmas Family, however, I knew I had nearly 100 years more of songs to choose from. So, what would have been popular carols on the Seattle frontier?

Angels from the Realms of Glory—originally published in England in 1816, this standard was in many hymnals during the period in England and abroad.

While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night—though originally published as a poem in the early 1700s in England, it was set to music as early as 1850 and also made up part of the established hymnal.

We Three Kings is of American vintage. Composed in 1857 by a minister for a city-wide Christmas pageant (and, dare I say, used in pageants large and small ever since), it was widely circulated.

Silent Night was originally a German hymn, composed for Christmas Eve mass. It was translated into English in 1859 in America, so it could easily have reached the West coast in time for a Wallin Christmas in 1874.

My personal favorite Christmas hymn is O Holy Night. I have been known to belt it out at the least provocation (just ask my neighbors or the people in the next town over). First composed in 1847 in French and translated into English by an American in 1857, it inspired soldiers in the Civil War and beyond. I imagine the Wallins would have been proud to sing it.

And speaking of music, if you'd like to know more about the music boxes of the period, head on over to Petticoats and Pistols, where I'll be guest blogging today (December 15). 

May you be surrounded by music this Christmas season.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

It’s Jane Austen’s Birthday, But You Get the Presents

Authors of past centuries may continue to be read, revered, studied and debated long after their deaths, but I don’t think there’s one who has such a passionate popular following as a genteel but wickedly humorous spinster from a quiet corner of Great Britain who wrote only six completed novels and a handful of lesser and unfinished works.

Yes, you all know who I’m talking about. ☺

Can't you just picture them all huddled over their phones?
This coming Saturday (that's December 16) will be the inimitable Jane Austen’s 242nd birthday. Well into her third century, she continues to delight readers with her characters’ matrimonial adventures and misadventures...and inspires the question, “How would things have been different for the Bennett sisters if they’d had a good dating app?" The BBC thinks they might have an answer...
On a slightly more serious note, research into The Divine Jane’s work and life continue—not only on the content of her work, but how she put it together. There’s a saying among writers that writing is revising, and it’s very true: the books you see on bookstore shelves have been written, re-written, revised, polished, edited, and possibly re-written and revised and polished again. For us spoiled writers of the 21st century, our trusty computers make it a relatively easy process (well, except for getting the actual words right!) But for authors in the benighted pre-computer era, revising their work was a chore: what did you do when, say, you decided that a paragraph had to be inserted into an existing manuscript page?  Well, if you were Jane (and others on her era, I presume), you wrote it down on a separate piece of paper and pinned it to the original manuscript in the spot where it was to be inserted. Between crossing out words and sentences and writing in new ones and pinning in longer additions, it’s easy to understand why an important part of preparing a manuscript was sitting down with a large stack of paper and copying the whole thing—making a “fair copy”—before sending it off to the publisher.

I’ll bet Jane would have loved Post-it notes...