Category: Victorian England

The Girl with the 19th Century Curl: Hot Tongs, Setting Lotions, and False Hair

Il Bazar, 1869.
(Met Museum)

During much of the 1860s and 1870s, hair arranged in artfully placed curls and ringlets was all the rage. But for ladies with naturally straight hair, those curls weren’t always easy to achieve. Who can forget the scene in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women when Jo burns off her sister Meg’s hair with a pair of hot tongs?[…]Continue Reading

Victorian Advice on DIY Christmas Decorations

Hanging the Mistletoe by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1860.
(Private Collection)

For many Victorians, homemade Christmas decorations were far preferable to those bought in a store. Why spend good money on glittery trinkets when you could make something much more meaningful yourself? An article in the 1887 edition of Household Words advocates for doing just that, declaring:[…]Continue Reading

A Convenient Fiction Release Day: Blog Tour, Giveaway, & More!

It’s release day for my new Victorian romance A Convenient Fiction (Parish Orphan of Devon, Book 3)! To celebrate, I’m over at Frolic today with an exclusive excerpt. I’ll also be embarking on a virtual book tour this week, complete with reviews and a special giveaway. To top it all off, the eBook price of A Convenient Fiction is reduced to just $2.99 for the entire week!

[…]Continue Reading

The Value of An Introduction: Vouching for Someone Victorian-Style

Le Follet, 1848.
(Met Museum)

Today, introducing one stranger to another at a social or business gathering is simply polite behavior. But in the Victorian era, an introduction was a thing of infinite value. It was a voucher. A guarantee that the person being introduced was both respectable and worthy of knowing. As Mrs. Walter Houghton explains in her 1893 book Rules of Etiquette & Home Culture:[…]Continue Reading

Flattering by Gaslight: Fashion Advice for Nineteenth Century Ladies

The Ball by Julius LeBlanc Stewart, 1885.

The gas-lit ballrooms of the mid- to late nineteenth century weren’t as flattering to some colors as they were to others. For example, the 1897 edition of Hill’s Manual of Social and Business Forms warns that pale shades of yellow became “muddy in appearance by gaslight,” while shades of rose simply disappeared. Similarly, most shades of purple, as well as darker shades of blues and greens, were known to “lose their brilliance in artificial light.”[…]Continue Reading

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