c18th Hints for Halloween: How to avoid dancing with death

In the spirit of Halloween, I present a lovely (if slightly out-of-time) c17th drawing and a brilliant Cruikshank print of 1808, both of which illustrate the very last liaison any of us can look forward to – the dance with Death. Whatever your trade, age, sex or position in society, he catches up with you in... Continue Reading →

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An c18th night out – the dreaded ‘before’ & ‘after’ pics

In the eighteenth century, one of the favoured methods of catching a potential suitor's eye was to head to a fashionable ball and astound the opposite sex with your sparkling wit and effortless mastery of the dancefloor [consider, if you will, the modern nightclub as the preferred venue for going out 'on the pull']. The anticipation... Continue Reading →

The Hasty Marriage, 1772

An ill-begotten child and an impudent wife. Poor old Dick. - From The Covent Garden Magazine, 1772 *** "The HASTY MARRIAGE. Scarce had five months expir'd, since Dick did wed, When lo! his fruitful wife was brought to bed; How now, cry'd Dick – this is too soon, my Kate; No, Dick, said she, you married... Continue Reading →

Can drinking tea turn you into a whore?

In eighteenth-century England, there were many reasons why families might have been torn apart, or why dutiful wives and hardworking husbands could suffer a fall from grace. Heart-rending tales of orphaned children, abandoned lovers and destitution fill the pages of contemporary newspaper columns and court records. For some, one of the prime suspects behind the... Continue Reading →

Thirty Marks of a Fine Woman, 1722

Fair readers, I present a rather-bawdier-than-I-expected poem of the early eighteenth century, revealing the author's idea of the perfect woman. Thirty sure Marks point out each beauteous Fair; Such as Helen had, as Histories declare: Three White, Three Black, Three Red, the Maid must have; Three Long, Three Short, if she'll her Credit save: Three... Continue Reading →

How to be Happy Though Married

Just a note to announce the publication of a lovely little gift-book compiled by yours truly, 'How to be Happy Though Married: Matrimonial Strife Through The Ages'. It collects together some of the best (and worst) marriage quotations and advice – including coping with a bad match and some rather questionable sex tips – from... Continue Reading →

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