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 →

In love with Lord Byron

On My Thirty-Third Birthday JANUARY 22 1821  Through life’s dull road, so dim and dirty, I have dragg’d to three-and-thirty. What have these years left to me? Nothing – except thirty-three. Lord Byron did not like birthdays. He intentionally avoided his own 21st and 24th parties, and considering how miserable he was at the prospect... 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 →

Sex & The c17th City

The tendency of women to gossip about their sex lives with their friends has set men a-fretting for centuries. Far from being a phenomenon of the 'Sex & the City' era, women of the seventeenth century were just as likely to have intimate discussions about their man's skills and equipment, past experiences, how to keep... Continue Reading →

The Ruined Girl, 1786

THE RUINED GIRL. 'Oh! fatal Day when to my Virtues wrong, I fondly listen'd to his flattering Tongue, But oh! more fatal Moment when he gain'd, That vile Consent which all my Glory staind.' In this print of 1786, a young woman of some fashion appears to have received a letter from her beau, informing... Continue Reading →

The 70-Year-Old Virgin, 1738

To Georgian Edinburgh, where in the summer of 1738 an almost-centenarian wed a nervous "undefiled" lady of about seventy. My interest was caught by the idea that her primary reason for pursuing marriage at such an advanced age was a fear of the "old maid's curse" – presumably the already well-established saying that old maids... Continue Reading →

Let’s Talk About Sex, c18th Style

Detail from Love & Wine (1787) Here we have a choice selection of words relating to the amorous act, taken from Blackguardiana by James Caulfield (c.1790). As entertaining as it can be to discover those words that have fallen from use (note: kettle drums and wap) it is also interesting to consider those that are... Continue Reading →

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