Sex & The c17th City

The tendency of women to gossip about their sex lives with their friends has set men a-fretting for centuries. Far from being a phenomenon of the 'Sex & the City' era, women of the seventeenth century were just as likely to have intimate discussions about their man's skills and equipment, past experiences, how to keep... Continue Reading →

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Why drunk women don’t make good sweethearts, 1795

Inebriated women clearly do not make the most delicate wives and sweethearts. This satire on drunkenness in the fairer sex, published in 1795, depicts eight ladies young and old drinking gin, falling over, vomiting and walking into things (also featuring the occasional disgruntled gent). The print is vaguely reminiscent of Thomas Nashe's 'The Eight Kindes... Continue Reading →

How to tell her you love her, c18th style

In the era of instant messaging and online chat, the modern suitor is only ever a 'winky face' and a click away from declaring his amorous intentions. All things considered, I'd say courtship has taken a distinctly unromantic turn. Two hundred years ago, love tokens offered a far more enduring and emotive means of expressing devotion... Continue Reading →

Plan your own broom-stick marriage

Weddings today seem such a stressful, complicated affair. If you have cast off the misery of a single life and plunged into all the misery of someone in pursuit of the perfect day, why not follow this eighteenth-century model of the Broomstick Marriage? a) Get married with a number of other couples, ensuring reduced expense... Continue Reading →

The Ruined Girl, 1786

THE RUINED GIRL. 'Oh! fatal Day when to my Virtues wrong, I fondly listen'd to his flattering Tongue, But oh! more fatal Moment when he gain'd, That vile Consent which all my Glory staind.' In this print of 1786, a young woman of some fashion appears to have received a letter from her beau, informing... Continue Reading →

How to Elope in Style, 1793

Detail from 'The Elopement' (1828) In the late eighteenth century, if you were under the age of 21 then you were generally considered too young to be trusted with your own heart. The Marriage Act of 1753 had decreed that no wedding conducted on English soil would be considered valid unless there was a formal church... Continue Reading →

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