Jane and the Waterloo Map: Guest Post by Stephanie Barron + Grand Giveaway!

Jane and the Waterloo Map Banner

Today, I am very pleased to welcome award-winning author Stephanie Barron with a fabulous post on Jane Austen and Carlton House.  To celebrate the release of her new novel, Jane and the Waterloo Map, Stephanie is also hosting a Grand Giveaway.  Details after the post![…]Continue Reading

The Deerhounds of Windsor Great Park

Hector, Nero, and Dash with the parrot, Lory by Edwin Henry Landseer, 1838.
(Royal Collection Trust)

In his 1825 novel, The Talisman, Sir Walter Scott famously refers to the Scottish Deerhound as “a most perfect creature of heaven.”  A truly noble and majestic breed, the purebred Scottish or “Scotch” Deerhound was a rarity outside of Scotland throughout much of the 19th century.  Those that did reside in England lived under the auspices of Queen Victoria.  Early in her reign, she had a favorite Scottish Deerhound named Hector (seen in the above portrait by Landseer).  By the 1870s, there were several Scottish Deerhounds at Windsor Great Park.  And by the end of the century, the Scottish Deerhound Club was established under the queen’s patronage.   […]Continue Reading

Cat Funerals in the Victorian Era

Inconsolable Grief by Ivan Kramskoi, 1884.

During the early 19th century, it was not uncommon for the mortal remains of a beloved pet cat to be buried in the family garden. By the Victorian era, however, the formality of cat funerals had increased substantially. Bereaved pet owners commissioned undertakers to build elaborate cat caskets. Clergymen performed cat burial services. And stone masons chiseled cat names on cat headstones. Many in society viewed these types of ceremonies as no more than an amusing eccentricity of the wealthy or as yet another odd quirk of the elderly spinster. Others were deeply offended that an animal of any kind should receive a Christian burial. […]Continue Reading

19th Century Fortune-Telling: From the Drawing Room to the Court Room

“…every person pretending or professing to tell fortunes, or using any subtle craft, means, or device, by palmistry or otherwise, to deceive and impose on any of his Majesty’s subjects…shall be deemed a rogue and vagabond.”
(Excerpt from The Vagrancy Act of 1824.)

Question to the Cards by Édouard Bisson, 1889.

Crystal gazing, palmistry, and other forms of fortune-telling were quite popular during the 19th century.  Husband divination games were heavily featured at Christmas and Halloween parties in the rural countryside.  While professional practitioners of the occult laid the cards for tonnish ladies and gentlemen in some of the finest drawing rooms in London.  In general, such games were viewed as nothing more than thrilling entertainment.  However, there were plenty of individuals – from the highly intelligent to the ridiculously gullible – who truly believed in the supernatural.  Their desire to learn the future or to contact the dead gave rise to a seemingly endless parade of fraudsters, charlatans, and outright villains.[…]Continue Reading

Alternative Courtship: Matrimonial Advertisements in the 19th Century

The Lovers by William Powell Frith, 1855.

For many single ladies and gentlemen of the 19th century, placing a matrimonial advertisement in a local newspaper was considered a viable alternative to traditional courtship.  It was especially popular with those who were new to an area or those who had no family or social groups through which they might otherwise obtain an introduction to a suitable partner.  Naturally, there were those traditionalists who frowned upon this method of acquiring a spouse.  It was viewed as undignified, indelicate, and dangerous.  Even so, matrimonial advertisements were utilized by men and women of every age and every class throughout the Regency and Victorian eras. […]Continue Reading

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