A merry life & a short one!: The Drunkard’s Coat of Arms, 1707

Alcohol has long been accountable for the peaks and troughs of many romantic relationships, from bleary-eyed beginnings to booze-fuelled disputes and divorces. It has been at the centre of social life for thousands of years, providing endless amusement for onlookers as well as excuses and encouragement for amorous behaviour – in The Art of Love (1st-century AD), Ovid recommended... Continue Reading →


A New Sort of Holyday for Husbands, or a warning to troublesome wives, 1733

Here is a particularly heartwarming (*cough*) report of one man's enthusiastic embrace of widowhood in London in 1733. Yes folks, the 'new holyday for husbands' is to be enjoyed when your troublesome wife drops dead. Charming. (Although I do appreciate the tactful description of said wife. Next time anyone asks me about a break-up I am going to... Continue Reading →

A Lesson for 2014: The Perils of Drunken Sickness, c1700

A slight diversion from the romantic theme for a moment to wish you a happy new year, and to offer a (tiny) bit of solace to those of you who are feeling a little fragile this morning. Take comfort in the fact that you are selflessly prostrating yourself at the feet of a long-established historical... Continue Reading →


Some familiar c18th New Year’s Resolutions

Struggling to come up with some New Year's Resolutions for 2014? Here is some eighteenth-century inspiration (and some of them seem terribly familiar...) 1. To sort out your love life (whatever form that may take) Resolv'd to be Married!!                                ... Continue Reading →


A Romp Loving Miss Under the Mistletoe (1796)

Ah, Christmas. For centuries it has been the season of love, giving, and sentimental sickliness of all persuasions. But, let's face it, it has also provided the perfect opportunity for countless lusty young couples to indulge in a bit of festive fornication under the mistletoe. The print below gives a peep at four couples engaged in... Continue Reading →


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 →


Is gin the answer to your matrimonial problems?

Are you plagued by a nagging wife? Driven to distraction by a drunken sot of a husband? If an extreme solution is required, look no further than this eighteenth-century relationship advice. The answer, of course, is gin. Just give them a gallon (or two) of the stuff first thing in the morning, and a peaceful existence... 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 →


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 →


Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑