Tuesday, September 12, 2017


Mmm, another fashion print for my collection!

That’s what I thought when this charming Morning Walking Dress print from the November 1811 edition of La Belle Assemblee arrived in my mailbox last week. It’s an interesting design for a dress: the orange tunic trimmed with lace and navy blue braided frogging—a dashingly military touch!—over a muslin under-dress...the matching close-fitting hat with its bold, sweeping blue feather...the strappy shoes peeping out at the bottom... wonderful!

But as I peered closely at it to admire the details (regrettably, there are brown spots known as "foxing" around her face--after all, this is over two hundred years old), it slowly occurred to me to pay attention to what the lady in the snazzy ensemble was actually doing: she’s holding a small golden box in her left hand, while bringing the fingers of her right hand up to her nose...

Good heavens—I do believe the lady in this print is taking snuff!

Snuff—at it most basic, powdered tobacco—was popular in the 18th century and into the early 19th. The Prince Regent was devoted to snuff-taking, as were many of his friends: there were snuff shops where various blends of different tobaccos and other herbals were sold, and mixing one’s own preferred recipe was a hobby among some die-hards. Even some ladies took snuff—including the Prince Regent’s mother, Queen Charlotte—but its use wasn’t as widespread among women because...well, it could eventually stain one’s nostrils and upper lip a not very flattering brown, and often led to unattractive sneezing. Not an alluring lookbut obviously some ladies didn’t mind...!

On the other hand, here’s something to not sneeze at: for the next several days, you can get By Jove on sale for 99 cents! It’s available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Apple’s iBooks store,
as well as directly from the publisher, Book View Cafe.

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