Podcast: C18th chat-up lines, with Dan Snow

Happy Valentine's Day! To celebrate, a look back at my chat with Dan Snow about love, romance and sex in the 18th century, including some of my favourite historical chat-up lines & a bit of a swoon over Sharpe and/or Mr Darcy. Podcast link below: History Hit Valentine's Day Special: Emily Brand on Love &... Continue Reading →


Dating disasters of the Regency era

Confession: First Dates is my televisual jam. (For the uninitiated, in brief: strangers are set up on dates at a London restaurant by a suave Frenchman called Fred {above}, said date is filmed, & they are then subjected to having their dating style reviewed. It’s hugely high-brow.) From teenagers looking for their first love to... Continue Reading →

Exhibition: Love Bites – Caricatures by James Gillray

To mark 200 years since satirist James Gillray's death, the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford is currently holding an exhibition in his honour. During his lifetime he created over 1000 prints, and here on display is a group of 60 examples ostensibly held together by heartstrings – they explore the artist's often scathing view of love, sex. marriage, friendship... Continue Reading →


The tale of Elizabeth Smith (and her second husband’s first wife’s first husband), 1766

Sometimes, when trawling through historical records, a researcher comes across personal stories that seem destined for Hollywood. Take this dramatic tale of romance triumphing against all the odds, featuring sexually-charged teenage servants, illegimate pregnancy, forced separation, triple bigamy, a few deaths, and a gouty clergyman in a sedan chair. All in that world-renowned town of passion and enchantment... Bicester. Before... Continue Reading →


Don’t shake your noddle! How to keep her interested, 1680

So, you have finally found yourself a girlfriend. Congratulations! After the faintly traumatic experience of courtship - the dodgy chat up lines, the dangers of womanly wiles, the endless sighing - you might be forgiven for thinking that you are allowed a little bit of a rest. Oh, dear reader - It Is Not So.... Continue Reading →


8 Bad Reasons for Getting Married, 1792

What would you say makes the most solid foundation for a marriage? Trust? Financial security? The sort of profound and death-defying passion that would make Jack & Rose weep with envy? [let's face it, they are the modern-day Romeo & Juliet, and I'm only moderately ashamed to admit it.] It was in the latter half of the... Continue Reading →


Learning the Language of Love, 1777

Who hasn't made some embarrassing error in the realm of love? Misinterpreting a potential lover's intentions can be humiliating, painful – even fatal. Published in 1777, one DIctionary of Love aimed to set the record straight once and for all, amidst concern at the recent enthusiasm for 'stabbing, poisoning one's self, and the like' in the name of love. No... Continue Reading →


‘Hey Girl, your face looks like a giant plate’: Seduction tips from 1799

I just wanted to share my latest blog for the Washington Post, revealing the secrets of seduction to be found in a late-c18th American publication (plus a really brilliant pic of 1808). Enjoy! [you can find the original article here] *** It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a gaggle of girls on a night out... Continue Reading →


The Mighty Power of a Sigh, 1676

Let us take a moment to consider an important but lost art of love – the sigh. Nowadays, very few languishing lovers will attempt to seduce a lady by looking her square in the eyes and forcefully expelling the air from his lungs. In the late seventeenth century, however, this was considered a crucial tool in... Continue Reading →


Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑