Tuesday, January 27, 2015

What's a traveling chariot?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Loretta reports:

If you’ve read stories set in the early 1800s, you’ve probably encountered traveling chariots.  In Lord of Scoundrels, my hero and heroine travel in such a vehicle from London to Dartmoor. 
Between the town chariot and the travelling chariot, or post chaise, there was no difference in the design of the body. The nature of their use occasioned the alteration of name. The former was fitted with a seat in front, and generally furnished with a hammer-cloth; but this, in the case of plain chariots, was dispensed with. It was in all cases mounted upon a perch carriage, either with straight perch, or curved, with crane neck, and suspended upon whip springs, to be later on succeeded by the C spring. Many of these chariots were very elaborately finished; in some cases the bodies were made with quarter lights, having Venetian blinds, and a feature was made in the decoration of the panels by painting ornamental borders and floral wreaths thereon ...

The travelling chariot, or post chaise, was naturally of a plainer description than the town chariot. As already observed, the body was of the same design, and invariably fitted with a sword case, an excrescence, as it were, on the back, the access to which was gained from the inside of the body, and covered by the back squab. At first, the hind carriage supported a travelling case, which was afterwards displaced for a rumble. There was ample provision for luggage. In addition to a large boot, or box, fixed on the front carriage, there were imperials on the roof, and a bonnet case fixed between the front of body and the splasher. By removing these cases and substituting a driving seat, the travelling chariot was readily converted into a town chariot. The post chaise, it should be observed, was always driven by postilions.

Papers Read Before the Institute of British Carriage Manufacturers, 1883-1901

More images here, here, and here.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Dandies on Ice, 1818

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Isabella reporting,

Today the U.S. Figure Skating Association concluded their National Championships for another year, with extremely talented young athletes making all those jumps, spirals, and spins look effortlessly elegant.

That description does not apply to the dandies in this print.

Doubtless with visions of that same effortless elegance, these young fellow have dressed to the nines to venture out on the ice.  In the early 19th c., skating was a wonderful way to put one's self on display to admiring ladies, as well as to one another. But while these gentlemen have taken care that their neckcloths are perfectly pleated and their collars high over their years, they forgot that skating is anything but easy, and the results are not pretty. As one of them cries as he topples to the ice, "Oh Lord! How they are laughing at us!" (As always, click on the image to enlarge it.)

So while the title of this print may be Skaiting-Dandies, Shewing Off, I'm afraid the the only thing they're showing is their perfect dandified silliness.

Loretta and I both have a weakness for dandies. For more of their mishaps, see here, here, and here.

Above: Skaiting-Dandies, Shewing Off, by Charles Williams, 1818. Walpole Library, Yale University.

Shameless Self-Promotion: "Yours Forever" at the Bostonian Society

Isabella reporting,

Booksignings and appearances can be among the highlights of a writer's life, a chance to meet readers and chat with booksellers (and occasionally direct shoppers to the food court.) But this February, I'll be part of a Valentine's Day event on Tuesday, February 10, at 6:00 p.m. that will be something very special.

Hosted by The Bostonian Society, the museum and historical society in the Old State House, Yours Forever will offer a memorable evening for all fellow Nerdy History folks in the Boston area. You'll be able to view artifacts related to love drawn from the Society's collection, and have a chance to meet one of the most famous couples in New England history, John and Dolly Hancock. In addition, I'll share some of my favorite 18th c. love stories - especially the ones that have inspired my books – and sign copies of my most recent novel, A Wicked Pursuit. Hors d'ouerves and dessert will also be served.

There's a limited number of tickets available - the dictates of a landmark building! - and I hope you'll join me. See here for more information and tickets.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Breakfast Links: Week of January 19, 2015

Saturday, January 24, 2015
For your weekend reading - our weekly round-up of fav links to other blogs, websites, articles, and images, collected via Twitter.
• Fascinating long read: the lives of an 18th c. gentleman's coat.
• Stunning first photo of a large crowd: 1848 Great Chartist Ralley.
• "Ladies made happy": Victorian "parlor ladies" and their crochet.
• Street names of London: Prudence and whalebones.
• Holding the private and state apartments for the royal family: the Fountain Court at Hampton Court.
• Slut-shaming, eugenics, and Donald Duck: the scandalous history of sex-ed movies.
Image: Global moment: Fan depicting Empress of China, Wanpoa, 1784welcomed by French, English, Dutch , and Chinese officials.
• A few words about the codpiece (and the Wolf Hall codpiece controversy.)
• Raymond Yard's whimsical 1930s jewel-covered rabbits, dressed as waiters.
• The "horrid lash": why the 19th c. army liked flogging, and the public hated it.
• "Rhythmical Essays on the Beard Question": beard haters in the 1860s.
• Thomas Vyse, 19th c. straw hatter maker.
• Knitting pattern for steering gloves, 1915, for trawler-men on minesweeping duties.
• What opportunities did the 19th c. American West offer women versus back East?
Edward II and his favorites.
• The curious case of Adam Ranier, the only man known to have been both a dwarf and a giant.
• Is this Henry VIII's hat?
Image: Night Fete at Olevano by James Baker Pyne 1853-4. Painted in Rome.
• Painstaking work on a 19th c. sailor's wool coat from shipwreck of Civil War ship Monitor.
• Ahh, that smell! Whatever became of ditto machines?
• Mrs. Bouverie and Mrs. Crewe: two Whig hostesses from the 18th c.
• "It was a wretched end to a vivid life...." The death in Calais of Emma, Lady Hamilton.
Image: The Duke of Devonshire taking a nap in the Lower Library at Chatsworth, Derbyshire, c 1995.
Fan presented by Prince Albert to Queen Victoria on her 39th birthday, May 1858.
• An atlas in cloth: Captain Cook's rarely seen fabric book.
• Walking on the bottom of the Regent's Canal.
• Edwardian sexual codes and why the lovers of Downton Abbey become more passionate with age.
• Guided by voices: architecture designed for ghosts and the spirit world.
• Dress code: the history of "business casual."
Image: Striking court dress is made from Egyptian silk brocaded in gold and silver, 1801.
• A few winter hats, plus artists Edgar Degas and Mary Cassatt.
• Surprising chart: which country in the world has highest percentage of women representatives in government? (Hint: the UK is #60 on the list, the US #75)
Charlotte Bonaparte, Napoleon's artistic niece.
• How the British governed India in the 19th c. from a West End hotel.
• One London mansion, many layers of history: 3 Savile Row.
Image: Victorian-style catfight, 1890: "I hope you're not so tired as you look."
• Just for fun, thanks (of course) to The Onion: Nation's historians warn that the past is expanding at an alarming rate.
Hungry for more? Follow us on Twitter @2nerdyhistgirls for fresh updates daily.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday video: Dartmoor in time-lapse

Friday, January 23, 2015
Loretta reports:

Recently I wrote about Dartmoor and the inspiration it provided for Lord of Scoundrels (celebrating its 20th anniversary this month). If you’ve never had the privilege of visiting, this time-lapse video will give you a sense of this very special place.* 

I had originally intended to show you another video, but had trouble loading it.  You can try here.

Image: Lovers Leap, Holne Chase, Dartmoor, EnglandCourtesy Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Readers who receive our blog via email might see a rectangle, square, or nothing where the video ought to be.  To watch the video, please click on the title to this post.
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