being on a pub quiz team with adhd is great because you'll sit there 90% of the time like No Thoughts and then a question will come up about something you were obsessed with and up until 4am researching for precisely 9 days in a row and suddenly you're a professor of obscure general knowledge and your team looks at you like did the goldfish just talk yes it fucking did ❤️
#oh you want to know about mid eighteenth century textiles huhhhm?
so the other day i watched farinelli (1994) and what I love the most about it it's that it's basically a fanfic made by someone who was like 'huh so what if farinelli really wanted a kid and a normal life but couldn't because he was a castrato and he was haunted by the lost possibilities that were taken from him and was both pleased and disappointed about how his talent shaped his life' and then just wrote a movie about it. also then said 'let's cast hot italian dude to play farinelli cause why not' and then it won a golden globe and was nominated for an oscar.
#the SHEER power this has #as a historian i know i should be bothered by the absolute inconsistencies and inaccuracies in the movie #but like......idk it doesn't bother me at all lmao #the scriptwriters were like. farinelli wants to be a DAD. a little PAPA BEAR. and hes all sad bc he can't be one :((((((( #and they just went with it #good for them! #and casting stefano dionisi was a galaxy brain moment #i won't deny that i find him extremely fabulous #anyway this is me rambling #fes has random thoughts #farinelli#carlo broschi#farinelli (1994)#eighteenth century#historical movies
Good evening our beautiful readers. We are afraid to say that today’s topic is not quite as pleasant as our previous work, though it is extremely important to write about. It is well known that Verity had connections everywhere in England, from rich lords and ladies to coffin makers and murderers. It is also known that many of her connections were, in fact, prostitutes, since they could get information and intel on almost all the criminals and scandals at the time. Your most beloved hosts welcome you back and thank you for joining us today. Now, let us learn about prostitution in The Eighteen Century.
Women who became prostitutes were usually of a poor background, “often orphaned or abandoned, and attained little education of marketable job skills” (Henderson, 2000). Most of them would move from other parts of Britain to London, the capital of prostitution, while the rest were born in the city. These girls were usually quite young, ranging from early teens to early twenties and, although it was not common, there were a few young girls who also engaged in prostitution. Unfortunately, many of the women who became prostitutes were sold as young as 9 years old to masters as “apprentices,” and there they would be taught how to please men.
It is relevant that we divide the prostitutes into two main but separate categories, for their economic conditions were not the same at all and, thus, had quite different experiences.
COURTESANS: They were “glorified prostitutes.” They were women of high charm and education that provided different kinds of company to gentlemen of high social status. In earlier centuries, courtesans had been heavily persecuted but, by the 18th century, there had been a shift from “earlier representations of prostitutes as insatiable whores, whose "work" was simply an extension of their personal desires […] to virtuous or disciplined women who effectively manage their sexual longings in pursuit of financial gain” (Hollis, 2007). Courtesans would sometimes become mistresses of wealthy men, and only have sex with him, rather than with multiple clients, but most would just keep the men company for a period of time, get paid, and move on to the next. Courtesans could come varying backgrounds, some grew up poor, some were divorcees, widows, or actresses. What these women saw in “glorified prostitution” was a form of financial freedom, a way in which they would not have to serve or respond to a husband, but not fall out of grace because of economic problems. They lived in luxurious apartments and changed hundreds of pounds for a night.
Famous courtesans of the 18th century include Kitty Fisher (x-1767) who modeled for numerous paintings, Lavinia Fenton (1708-1760), who later became Duchess of Bolton, and Dorothea Jordan, who was a long-term companion of King William IV
HARLOTS: Also called “streetwalkers” (both derogatory terms) these were regular prostitutes in England. Unlike the courtesans, these women mostly worked in the streets, usually in the poorest parts of town. Some were part of a brothel (of which there were few in London), or had pimps or madams, but most of them worked independently, only allied with other girls in the street for protection. The women who chose to work in brothels would work for a “madame,” an older prostitute. This gave them the security of having a place to sleep and eat, but most of their earning were given directly to the madame. Because of their poor background, street prostitutes were also associated with criminals of the placed that they operated in. It is even said that many of them engaged (alongside or convinced by criminals and thieves) in the robbery of clients by leading them to a dark alley in the promise of sex. The act of prostitution was clearly stated as illegal, yet the police and harlots had a spoken agreement to not disturb each other, much to the men’s pleasure, for they were the ones asking for the service.
Of course, the men were not looked down upon, but rather it was the prostitutes who people saw as immoral, even with the changing times. It is clear that prostitution was a matter, not only of gender, but also of class. It was not the same to be a well-off courtesan in the arms of a wealthy lord, than to be a street prostitute who sometimes had to sleep in the alleys. Nonetheless, all these women, in different degree, had to endure various forms of sexual assault and sexual abuse.
We do hope that you have learned a little bit more on the societal, gender, and class issues of Verity’s time, and have come to understand that Verity, as important a writer as she was, was not exempt of using these women to her advantage, as did other people. She was, like all of us, a flawed character, a woman of her time. Thank you for reading us.
Hollis, Jessica L. “Prostitution in the Long Eighteenth Century” Eighteenth-Century Studies, Vol. 40, No. 2, 2007 pp. 240-345
Ilg, Veronica. “The Naked Truth: Life of a Courtesan.” Museum of English Catholic Women Writers, https://blogs.shu.edu/ecww/project/veronica-ilg/.
Robinson, Kristen. Review of Disorderly Women in Eighteenth-Century London: Prostitution and Control in the Metropolis, 1730-1830 by Toni Henderson, H-Women, April, 2000.
Brannan, Julianna “18th Century Prostitutes - Courtesans.” Julia Brannan, 22 Dec. 2018, https://juliabrannan.com/2019/01/14/18th-century-prostitutes-courtesans/.
Brannan, Julianna. “18th Century Prostitutes - Street Whores.” Julia Brannan, 22 Dec. 2018, https://juliabrannan.com/2019/02/11/18th-century-prostitutes-street-whores/.
Need help cooking a colonial English Thanksgiving meal? Look no further than our copy of the 1767 edition of Hannah Glasse’s The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy. Hannah Glasse (1708-1770) was an English author and dressmaker whose seminal book on cookery, originally published in 1747, took the eighteenth-century English cookbook market by storm. Her work was particularly popular in the American colonies, with copies being found in the personal libraries of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington. Even after American independence, an 1840s New York memoir claimed “we had emancipated ourselves from the sceptre of King George, but that of Hannah Glasse was extended without challenge over our fire-sides and dinner-tables, with a sway far more imperative and absolute.”
Please enjoy the following recipes for turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, and, for dessert, apple frazes.*
*Unfortunately, the recipe for pumpkin pie didn’t appear until the 1805 first American edition.
Images from: Glasse, Hannah. The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy… London: A. Millar, R. Tonson, W. Strahan, et al., 1767.
Dear readers, have you ever visited the Zona Rosa in Mexico City or any area known for having bars or nightclubs frequented by the LGBTQ+ community? Well, the community has always found ways to be able to express themselves and have fun in the process, but this was not always considered legal. Today we are going to talk a little bit about Molly Houses and sodomy.
During the 18th century, the people of the community were forced to meet in secret to avoid being reprimanded by the local authorities. These reprisals could go as far as the execution of the accused. Until 1861 any sexual act involving penetration between two men could be punishable by death, but this was not always provable because two witnesses and evidence of penetration and ejaculation were needed. Obtaining this evidence could be quite complicated, so most cases did not go as far as the death of the accused. This applied only in the case of men, on the side of women it was not considered a misdemeanor.
Now, just as today, the community appropriated spaces to meet, socialize and have fun. These places were known as Molly Houses. "Molly" was a pejorative way of addressing homosexual men of the time. They adopted this term to name the places where they used to meet in secret. The police were aware of the existence of these places and there were confrontations between the people who frequented these places and the police. The Molly Houses were also places where male sex-workers could be found.
Ned Ward was a journalist during the 18th century. He wrote The Secret History of London Clubs and was published in 1709. According to the British Newspaper Archive, Ward wrote that a Molly Houses were places where "curious band of fellows" gathered together. He described these people as mimicking feminine manners, calling themselves "she" or "sister". It would not be correct to assume that Drag-themed events were held in these places, but it is possible to discern certain patterns and similarities, at least in the descriptions mentioned in the British Newspaper Archives.
We have come a long way regarding the community's rights and appropriation of places, but unfortunately the confrontations with the police and the generalized violence experienced by the community is still present and in many countries being part of the community still has legal and social consequences. This is why it is extremely important to talk about these issues and situations, but not only to do it and make it visible during pride month.
Emsley, Clive, et al. “Communities - Homosexuality.” Old Bailey Proceedings Online, https://www.oldbaileyonline.org/static/Gay.jsp.
McKee, Mary. “18th Century Molly Houses – London's Gay Subculture.” The British Newspaper Archive, 19 June 2020, https://blog.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/2020/06/19/18th-century-molly-houses-londons-gay-subculture/.
Stoats and moles are just very different sorts of eighteenth century gentlemen, I don’t make the rules
#I know it's a thought that is very much out of left-field and incomprehensible #But I can't stop thinking about it #Stoats are sporting gentlemen #They ride to hounds and they fish and they might become an MP one day if they don't go in for estate Improvement instead #Moles are gentle and harmless if a little fusty old antiquarians #They wear glasses and waistcoats thirty years out of fashion and they spend most of their days writing a tome on soils or ancient history #They may or may not have been a secret Jacobite decades ago but that's all in the past and they wouldn't hurt a fly now #On a separate note I keep forgetting just how tiny moles can be #I've only ever seen an alive one once when I was about nine #Seen a lot more stoats #They bounce #And they are red #Which explains a lot #And they are ruthless but that's beside the point they have to live after all #Rabbits *could* be an eighteenth century gentleman but only if they are feckless nephews and those occur in all centuries
Hello, there, our beloved readers. We hope you are all well. Today we decided to introduce you to one of the most important artists of the 18th century: William Hogarth. From what we have read, Verity knew of Hogarth, but she does not mention whether she follows his work or not. Either way, to know the work of this artist is a good opportunity to get a glimpse of the way of living and the worldview of the society of that time. This is why we wanted to share with you some deatails about Hogarth’s life and work.
William Hogarth (1697- 1764) was an English artist best known for his satirical and moral paintings and engravings. Hogarth struggled most of his life with the lack of recognition of his work mostly due to the ideas of wisdom and great art held by the society of the time. His work can be described as comic history paintings because most of his engravings, drawings and paintings not only represented street life, the wanderings of those who migrated from the countryside to the city, but also he represented those from the upper classes of the time with a satirical and critical eye.
He was an innovator. Hogarth realized that it is possible to tell a story not only with written or spoken words, but also with images. This was one of his most common resources and also one of the most applauded by modern critics. Thus, in capturing temporality in his painting, Hogarth presented image after image, side by side, as you can see below:
He had an incredible eye for detail, which is partly why the stories present in Hogarth's works produced (and still produce) in the viewer some kind of reaction such as laughter, surprise, anger, or disgust because they could see themselves and their life experiences portrayed in Hogarths paintings.
If you want to see more of William Hogarth, here are some links to pages you can visit:
CONTEXTUAL ENTRY #2: -Yes, but what about the coffins? -What about them?
Hello, there, our beloved readers. We hope you are all well and having a great week. As you may already know, on this blog we enjoy everything related to crime during the eighteenth century, especially when it includes all the gory details that our beloved Verity can provide us. Going through one of Verity’s diaries, we noticed that she was good friends with a man called Jackson, who was a coffin-maker, so we became interested in this topic. The title of this entry is part of an actual conversation that my partner and I had while we were reading some pages of Verity’s diary. “What about them?” was my partner's question and she is right to have asked because not even Verity wrote much about this important object or burials in general. That is, of course, assuming that it was indeed an indispensable object because death rates in Eighteenth-Century England were not exactly low.
The subject of coffins caught my attention, so I decided to investigate further. During my research, I came across an article in Smithsonian Magazine which addresses how commonly people were accidentally buried alive. There is evidence of this dating back to the fourteenth century. People's fear of being buried alive reached such a degree that coffins were equiped with different mechanisms to alert the outside world if the person inside the coffin was still alive, but this product was not patented until the nineteenth century. They were called “safety coffins.”
In his short story The Premature Burial Edgar Allan Poe describes with great accuracy the sensation of being buried alive, but these kinds of stories are not only found in literary texts, it is also possible to find them in medical journals and gazettes of the time because of how common it was. During the eighteenth century, physicians and propagandists set about the task of trying to estimate the number of people who were buried, embalmed, or dismembered while still alive. These numbers fluctuate between 161 and 700 people in a short period of time, not counting those who managed to escape from suffering one of these terrible ends. It is pertinent to consider, though, that many alarmist texts were circulating at the time, so these numbers should be taken with reservations. This does not mean premature burials were not a reality and a great source of fear for the people of the time.
But why were premature burials so common? The field of medicine was not as developed as it is today, so there were no accurate and reliable techniques with which to determine whether a person had died. In addition, health care providers were not always trained to treat patients, let alone determine causes of death. One of the techniques used to determine if a person had died was to put a mirror under the nostrils for a few seconds, if it fogged up it meant that the person was still alive, otherwise the doctors declared him/her dead.
Before the invention of security coffins, in Germany, a new idea arose to avoid premature burials, which consisted of constructions where the bodies of people considered dead were kept for a period of time in order to give them the opportunity to wake up if they were still alive. This technique was highly criticized as it was considered disrespectful to the deceased and their relatives. In 1790, the idea of equipping the coffins with warning mechanisms was born. During the following years several models of coffins were developed, some more elaborate and complex than others, but all motivated by the same fear. n general, the fundamental elements of a good security coffin were a permanent source of air and an alarm. But, despite all the efforts and the different models available, these coffins were not very successful and were quickly discontinued. Bondeson mentions that "The ultimate reason for the failure of the security coffins to go into serial production must be sought in the field of psychology rather than in that of mechanics" (136) mainly because, even if the mechanism of thiese coffins was well thought of, there was still a chance it could fail resulting in the person inside the coffin dying.
As a matter of conclusion, the growing widespread hysteria created by cases of premature burial during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries reflects the lack of confidence in the medical community that served society. Before people lived in fear of being buried alive, physicians were relatively comfortable with the techniques they used to declare a person deceased, but their confidence in themselves and their techniques reached a low point with the German waiting mortuaries. Bondeson mentions in this regard that not only did the increase in medical knowledge help to decrease the number of premature burial cases, but also society stopped blindly believing in alarmist propaganda.
Anyhow, we would love to read your thoughts on this matter. And, if you are still curious about this topic, I highly recommend you read Jan Bondeson’s Buried Alive: The Terrifying History of Our Most Primal Fear.
Bondeson, Jan. Buried Alive: The Terrifying History of Our Most Primal Fear. W.W. Norton, 2002.
Magazine, Smithsonian. “People Feared Being Buried Alive so Much They Invented These Special Safety Coffins.” Smithsonian.com, Smithsonian Institution, https://www.smithsonianmag.com/sponsored/people-feared-being-buried-alive-so-much-they-invented-these-special-safety-coffins-180970627/.
Good evening, our dearest readers, and be welcome back. It has been so delightful to read all your thoughts on our discovery on the Temperance case, we are always pleased to open our minds to all your various theories about the case and Verity’s involvement in it. Many of you, lovely readers, have asked questions regarding the hanging of Temperance and this particular form of punishment during the era. Your most beloved hosts would not dare disappoint you, and, thus, we gladly write today’s entry as an explanation on the form of punishment that is hanging. We will also answer inquiries on the matter. Without further ado, let us begin.
Hanging is a form of death penalty. This Capital punishment (another name for death penalty) dates to early Britain, during the Anglo-Saxon period. Like other forms of execution and punishments, hangings were carried out in public, to discourage individuals from committing any kind of crimes, though hanging was thought to be one of the least painful methods, compared to burning at the stake, boiling, or a poorly executed beheading. It was so, that by the 18th century, hanging became the main form of death penalty.
Hangings in London were mainly performed in the village of Tyburn (a very special place for Verity indeed). The night before, the prisoners who repented were allowed to receive sacrament by the chaplain. The following day, they would be carried in a cart from prison, usually Newgate, and, dressed in a white shirt and a cap, when the time came, they were given a chance to speak their last words. After that, and final farewells from the crowd or acquaintances, the hangman would cover the prisoners faces and remove the cart form where they were standing to hang them.
Due to disorder in Tyburn, in 1783 the place was officially closed, and the hangings were performed outside of the prison of Newgate, where the ritual was similar: the Ordinary of Newgate would conduct a sermon to the prisoners on Sundays, as well as on the night before the execution and the following day. Public executions outside of Newgate continued until 1868, when, in a similar manner to Tyburn, hangings were transferred inside the prison to avoid public disturbance.
During the Early Modern Period, especially the 18th century, most of the crimes that one could commit were punishable by death, 222 to be specific. This, along the fact that there was no distinction between adults and children, aggravated the atmosphere of England, not only because most of this punishable act could be considered trivial like cutting down trees or being out at night with a blackened face, but also because most of the crimes were directed at the poor population, which made the hanged usually poor people. It was not until the late 19th century that this started to change. Of course, by then, our dear Verity had been death for a hundred years, so it is also a topic that does not concern your diligent hosts.
It has been an exquisite time being able to share our knowledge with you this fine evening, and we surely hope that this piece of information has enlightened some of you and picked your interest for some others. Until we meet again, us.
Duff, Charles. “The History of Hanging.” Historic UK, https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofBritain/The-Art-of-Hanging/.
Shoemaker, Robert. “Execution.” Execution | The Digital Panopticon, https://www.digitalpanopticon.org/Execution.
Ward, Ricard. “Execution.” Execution | The Digital Panopticon, https://www.digitalpanopticon.org/Execution.
Spitalfields, ("spittle-fields") East London. Spitalfields is not as glamorous as the West End, but if you want a true, time-turning, eighteenth-century immersion, this is the place to go. (@paul_whitbread_photo IG)
Good evening our dearest readers. This fine afternoon we have taken it upon ourselves to present to you all an entry in Verity’s diaries that has fascinated us. In these pages, Verity shows her great deductive skills, as well as her passion for unraveling mysteries (it is also clear that Verity also had a passion for meddling in other people’s business, but that is not to be discussed today).
As usual, we have translated her writing to contemporary English to allow you to further enjoy her thoughts and discoveries.
“July 20, 1733,
This has been a scorching summer. So hot indeed that I wrote to my dear friend Mrs. Eleonor Rowe in hopes of visiting her in Brighton. I arrived a couple of days ago and my stay has already been more interesting that anything that may happen back at home. Upon my arrival, I was surprised to hear the latest of news in the village: a woman had taken her own child’s life with a knife and now was facing charges against her, with a possibility of hanging as punishment for her crime. My friend Elena did not know the woman prior to this event, so she could not answer any of the questions that immediately invaded my mind. Why had she killed her own child? Where was her husband, or, given the case, the father of the baby? What would she say at her trial next Tuesday?
Even as I write I cannot help but wander what kind of reason can lead to a mother murdering her own baby. I do hope my sleep is not filled with tumultuous nightmares tonight.
July 22, 1733,
I have decided to investigate on my own about this dreadful case that so happened to occur the moment I came to the village; it is as though it was calling for me. Unfortunately, I had to spend the day with Eleonor and her husband, Mr. Edward Rowe, a prickly and vexatious man who -I am sure- put a spell on my good friend to keep her interested, because there is nothing charming about this man. O, how I wish that my dearest of friends had never left my side. But because of this reason, I was not able to make any significant advances in the case.
After a dull trip to the beach, I found an opportunity to talk one villager who knew this woman. He said her name was Temperance, and that he could not believe that she had done such a thing. He described her as a lovely woman, with gentle eyes, and her husband as a noble man, who had recently acquired land near Southwick. This discovery confused me even further. What could have happened to her?
July 23, 1733
Today I went downtown to investigate. I was lucky enough to encounter one of Temperance’s old friends, a smiley woman that works in the bakery along her husband. Of course, I tried to be as tasteful with the way I carried the conversation, for I did not intend to vex her. I ended up dining with them, as she told me the story of her friend. It was not hard; she seems to enjoy talking.
Temperance had been married to a merchant for five years. They were a nice marriage with a normal live, except for the fact that they could not conceive. Try as they might, Temperance was unable to become pregnant, until a year ago, when she suddenly disappeared from the public, and by the time she came back, she was carrying a baby in her arms. She was different, quieter, absent, she was not herself. A month ago, the merchant went to a trip, and he has not come back since. The couple attributed the madness of her friend to the mysterious pregnancy disappearance and claim that she resorted to witchcraft to make her able to conceive.
As much as I would incline myself to the possibility of something as fascinating as witchcraft being involved, the story still did not convince me. There is something else. It is interesting to me that Temperance had a child after five years of failure. Is it possible? No…There must be a more reasonable explanation, it could not have been another woman’s child. My mind is flooded with various theories, yet I do not have the strength to choose one. I must go deeper. I must go as deep as possible.
It is our duty, our lovely readers, to say that there is a missing entry from July 25, the last entry in which e. The pages seem to have been ripped out from the diary, which leads us to believe that whatever is written on those pages may be linked to the cause of her death.
Although there is no ending to this story in Verity’s diaries, there is evidence that suggests that Verity went to talk to Temperance during the latter’s stay at jail. In Temperance’s statement, her willingness to tell the truth to the judge came from a conversation with “a person of interesting manner”, and in the prison’s records there is an entry of a woman of Verity’s characteristics asking to speak with Temperance.
The real story goes like this:
Mrs. Temperance Gard was married to Mr. William Gard for almost seven years. Temperance was a noble woman who rarely went out of the village and was mostly seen alongside her husband. Temperance had a tough time getting pregnant, but the couple did not suffer because of this. That changed when William Gard made a deal that won him land in Southwick, to the west of Brighton. Being now a landowner, William started pushing Temperance harder for a baby that would become his heir. Try as she might, she could not conceive, and the man became exasperated with the “uselessness” of her wife. After some time, Mr. Gard took Temperance to Southwick and locked her in a room for exactly ten months, during which she was not allowed to go out or see her husband. When he finally came to see her, he was carrying a newborn in his arms, another woman’s child. William Gard had found himself a mistress who had the same general characteristics of his wife and impregnated her to pass the baby as Temperance’s. Temperance refused the baby, but William threatened her and told her that if she dared refuse him or the baby, he would call the authorities and have her arrested for stealing a baby from another woman. Temperance was allowed to return to Brighton and live a normal life util the time came when she would have to return to live forever in Southwick. Tormented by her husband’s cruelty, her ten-month lockdown, and a child that was not hers, Temperance fell into madness and decided to punish her husband with the thing that would hurt him the must: his only heir. She took a knife in the night and tried to kill the baby as quickly as possible so he would not suffer. The baby was found three days later by a fisherman. She claimed to not know about her husband’s location, though it is unclear whether she had anything to do with Williams Gard’s disappearance and eventual death. Temperance Gard was sentenced to death and hanged on August 10, 1733.
It is no surprise that Verity would be attracted to this sort of stories, for, as she sates in her diary, it is as if the criminal and mysterious people knew of her interests and passions.
As always, it has been a pleasure to have you here today. Do not get discourgared, our eager reader, we will find the missing pages and finally uncover all the secrets Verity held so close to her heart.
Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia is a cool book, it might be from the 18th century but the topics are so 21st century. Boredom and depression caused by a welfare state that provides everything and dulls your senses and the search for a way of life. I recommend it for people of all ages but young people in particular will feel related to the main character and might get some valuable lessons or insight for life.