How to have a historically accurate lovers’ tiff

Some fiery couples just bloody love a good argument. In case you fall into this bracket, and want to get a bit creative while also appearing irresistibly historically accurate, look no further than this slang dictionary of the 1830s. Of course, it's always best to suit the intensity of the insult to your partner's thickness... 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 →

Miss Wish-Husband & The Old Maid’s Advice, 1748

Today it occurred to me that if I were living in the eighteenth century I would be quite firmly set in the realm of confirmed spinster. Setting any associated nervous breakdown aside for the moment, I feel compelled to console myself by sharing this (awful) advice of an Old Maid from the 1740s. The social position of... Continue Reading →


‘A love sick fool no more’: the perils of the honey-moon

From Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language Ah, those heady days of blossoming love. Here we have two couples at either end of the 'honey-moon' period, giving some hints of how a relationship changes in its early season - and perhaps some signs of foreboding for the future too. According to the OED, the origin of... Continue Reading →


Eight reasons why a dog is the broken-hearted woman’s best friend

Any readers who also follow me on twitter will have guessed by now that I am also quite fond of the history of animals, and most especially that of dogs. They have been our loyal and loving companions for thousands of years, and in eighteenth-century art are frequently to be found playing a small (and so often neglected) role in human love... 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 →


Beware, gents: A pair of Mantraps! 1780s

Just wanted to share these two lovely prints, depicting a couple of women of dubious morals, or 'MANTRAPS' as the artists have it.  The images are obviously meant to titillate, but the warning is clear, gentlemen: giving into such a temptation could be your ruin! The first dates to 1780 and shows a fashionable (and rather... Continue Reading →


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