Friday, May 8, 2009

Which of These Is Not Like the Others?

Whether you like the earlier part of the nineteenth century in England (the Regency era) or the part when Victoria sat on the throne (the Victorian era), there is definitely something memorable about that century.

Just how memorable?

Test your skills with the following three pictures. Those who have been reading this blog from the beginning make recognize one of them. They all look like they were contemporaries with the time they were created, but at least one is a cleverly constructed fake.

A. Roller Coaster Thrills Among the Haut Ton?

B. Bathing Trunks in Bath?

C. Throwing Blossoms at Beaus?

Can you spot the difference? I’ll wait until Sunday to post the answers in the comments section. In the meantime, let us know your thoughts.


QNPoohBear said...

I'm guessing bathing trunks in Bath. From what I've read, people didn't swim for recreation until the 20th century, though visits to the shore are common. I read and create finding aids for old diaries at the state historical society and my latest diarist went to the shore to be alone with a girl! They held hands and kissed but didn't swim.

Melanie said...

I'd have to agree with QNPoohBear. I think that is what I've read as well, but I'm not entirely sure.

Regina Scott said...

Only two brave guessers so far? Here is the truth: A roller coaster in the nineteenth century? Yes! The print dates from 1817. Bathing trunks and all that skin showing? Yes! They weren't used in Bath, but in France. The print dates from 1810. The young lady dropping a flower to her beau? No. That’s the cleverly constructed fake, a painting by Edmund Blair Leighton. It was likely painted in the early twentieth century. How would you know? One clue is on her foot. The heels on her shoes are a bit high for the early nineteenth century.

So now you know the rest of the story! I'll cover more on bathing suits in June.

Marissa Doyle said...

Okay, Regina came clean (pardon the pun) on the bathing suits...but recreational swimming was actually fairly popular in the later 18th and 19th centuries, first as a sort of spa/health treatment, and later just for fun. Remember bathing machines? And Mrs. Bennett in Pride and Prejudice bemoaning not being able to go to Brighton--"A little sea-bathing would set me up forever."?

QNPoohBear said...

I know people went bathing but the imagine of men with bare chests and diving threw me off. I didn't think people went swimming the way we think of swimming. The diaries I've read mention sailing, walking on the beach, sitting on the shore (kissing girls, holding hands) and bathing. Though I had a feeling the answer couldn't be that obvious. Thanks for educating and enlightening.

Melanie said...

Oh my goodness, I totally remember that line from Pride and Prejudice!