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 →


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 →

Beware the wife who wears the breeches, 1682

Selecting a wife is a tricky business. The main concern of a merry young bachelor was often that, if he chose badly, he could end up chained to a woman intent on wearing the breeches. And let's face it, there could be little more embarrassing for our seventeenth-century gent than being ruled over by a woman (especially... Continue Reading →

How to be a Beauty, 1787

Being a 'beauty' in the eighteenth century was certainly a boon, and thankfully there were plenty of men around to inform the ladies exactly what was required of them. One such list, covering the 30 'capital points' of beauty, can be found in The Dictionary of Love (1787). Some are familiar, suggesting the abiding popularity... Continue Reading →

How to carouse like a proper Regency gent

Courtesy of the Chester Courant, below is a foolproof guide to the Regency rake's perfect night out... Ladies, if you're looking for Mr Darcy, you're in the wrong place. Gentlemen, if you fancy recreating such a 'glorious frolic' yourself: 1) Impress your friends by drinking too much, loudly singing rude songs and telling obscene stories 2) Impress the ladies by... Continue Reading →

Why you shouldn’t marry a lady of learning, 1708

This charming epistle on the horror that is a woman choosing to better herself through education comes from  The Modern World Disrob'd (1708), by satirical writer Ned Ward. I'm particularly taken with the idea that the more languages a lady speaks, the more varied the opportunities for scolding her husband with them. Her poor unfortunate husband will... Continue Reading →

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