The notorious love affair between military hero Horatio Nelson and lady-of-dubious-morals-turned-society-beauty Lady Emma Hamilton is perhaps one of the most famous of the eighteenth century. As the story of a romance between a naval officer and a probable former prostitute, it was always going to be a favourite of mine. Quite by chance, however, I... Continue Reading →
Stuck-up sweetheart? How to bring her down a peg or two
Many a hopeful suitor has been disappointed because he falls short of his beloved's ridiculously high expectations. For anyone who has experienced such a heart-breaking rebuff, why not follow this seventeenth-century advice for how to bring her down a peg or two? 1) Tell her she is not as attractive as she thinks. 2) Cast... Continue Reading →
Northampton: home of broken families & the criminally insane?
This morning a Georgian newspaper unexpectedly arrived at a colleague's desk. Naturally, I promptly wrested it from him and pored over it like an excited child. I LOVE eighteenth-century newspaper adverts and was delighted to find that this issue had elopements, abandoned children, a profusion of lost dogs and an escaped lunatic CALLED 'WILDMAN'. Amazing.... Continue Reading →
Exhibition: Georgians Revealed at the British Library
I have a suspicion that, for the next five months, the British Library is going to be my second home. Yesterday I was fortunate enough to attend a preview of their new exhibition 'Georgians Revealed' – commemorating the 300th anniversary of the accession of George I to the throne – and I was mightily impressed... Continue Reading →
La Moustache, 1815
As it turns out, waiting until someone falls asleep and then drawing a fake moustache on them is not a new phenomenon – still hilarious after 200 years. Nice to see some immature nineteenth-century behaviour immortalised in print... (not entirely relevant but couldn't resist sharing – a Movember double whammy) Image: Detail from 'La Moustache'... Continue Reading →
What is revealed by the size of a man’s moustache?
And lo, Movember is upon us. As gents around the nation compete to cultivate the most fabulous whiskers, the question is, ladies: the moustachioed man, yea or nay? Between the meticulously sculpted facial decoration of the Restoration era and the bushy luxuriance of the nineteenth-century sideburn combo, facial hair was rather out of fashion. Contravening... Continue Reading →