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 →

‘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 →

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 →

La Moustache, 1815

As it turns out, waiting until someone falls asleep and then drawing a fake moustache on them is not a new phenomenon – still hilarious after 200 years. Nice to see some immature nineteenth-century behaviour immortalised in print... (not entirely relevant but couldn't resist sharing – a Movember double whammy) Image: Detail from 'La Moustache'... Continue Reading →

Can drinking tea turn you into a ‘harlot’?

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 →

Plan your own broom-stick marriage

Weddings today seem such a stressful, complicated affair. If you have cast off the misery of a single life and plunged into all the misery of someone in pursuit of the perfect day, why not follow this eighteenth-century model of the Broomstick Marriage? a) Get married with a number of other couples, ensuring reduced expense... 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 →

Drunken Lovers, 1798

“Observe how I step in the Line, Though eight Quarts I have carried away; O Bet! you will never be mine If thus you get drunk every Day. As drunk as a Piper thou art; O tell me how could’st thou do so; Thou wilt ne’er from the Ale-house depart Till unable to walk, stand,... Continue Reading →

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