Tuesday, 19 November 2013

This is Autism flash blog

Hello everyone,

Sorry for my lack of blogging recently.  Lots of things have been keeping me busy recently so I've not had much of a chance to sit down and write properly.  I have been keeping up to date on my facebook page however so feel free to pop along and have a look.  I've also finally finished knitting my 1860 scarf so will have more photos of that coming soon....

In the meantime this post will be stepping away from the world of regency and victorian fashion and talking about something else.  Those of you that know me personally will know that in June this year my little girl was diagnosed with Autism.  Last week on twitter I came across a statement by "Autism Speaks", the leading Autism charity in America talking about what they believe Autism is and how it affects the families of Autistic children and asking for a call to action.  I have seldom felt so angry.  It states that families with Autistic children "are not living". We exist in "fear" and "despair". Our children who are the cause of this despair are likened to being missing and gravely ill. This is how they want the world to view Autistic children and there families.  Our life is nothing like that.  

In response to Autism Speaks a Flash blog with the theme "This is Autism" has been set up for this Monday for those of who have been touched by Autism to give our views.  

So for me, this is Autism

This is Rose.  She has just turned 3 years old - the photo above was taken on her birthday.  She is cheeky, inquisitive, generally well behaved, and Autistic.  Did I also mention that she is also gorgeous :)

She loves being outdoors and has a particular liking for daisies, dandelion clocks and English Plantain (Ribwort).  There is a large photo of a daisy in our local library that she always visits to give it a hug and a kiss.

She also loves being by the sea and piggy backs with her daddy.

Did I mention she really likes piggy backs with her daddy :D

She also likes joining us in dressing up and cuddles.

So for me, this is Autism.  My beautiful smiling girl who is always a few seconds away from a smile or a giggle.  Who loves the colour yellow, is fascinated by people drawing and writing, finds tickles hilarious, loves letters and pictures of the sun.  Who likes to investigate everything, in every little detail.  Who loves to spin and rock and jump on the bed.  Who though she can't speak, is very good at communicating what she wants. Who may not give kisses when asked but "looks after" mummy when I'm poorly and gives spontaneous huge hugs (when she sometimes sneaks in a kiss).  Being Autistic is not without it's problems, but we work with Rose to help her overcome or work around these with the help of others such as Portage and Speech Therapy.  I don't live in fear and despair for my little girl.  She is not missing or gravely ill.  She is bright and beautiful and determined and curious and a ray of sunlight to everyone who knows her.  Rose being Autistic makes her who she is.  So for me this is Autism.  My little baby girl who stole my heart with the first look she gave me on the hospital bed, who is growing up so fast.  Never a burden, always a joy.

Of course I have to say all this - she is my mini me ;)

Monday, 19 August 2013

6 CDV's of Victorian Parents c1860 - 1870

Some more images from my collection of carte de visite. First a pretty little girl and her father c.1860s.  This one has no studio markings.

The next image is from the studio of Artist and Photographer William Davey of 269 Castle Street Dudley, Scotland c.1870  

Next up is a lady in a particularly stunning silk moire dress from the studio of Isaac Preston Photographer, Sheepscar Post Office. 76, North Street Leeds c.1866.  The photograph does have the ladies name on the back but unfortunately I cannot read what it says, she is however local to Leeds.  

Following is one of my favorite CDV's, from the studio of Henry Webster  2 Albert Terrace, Bishops Road, Bayswater, Kensington.  He ran this studio before going into partnership with his son between 1863 - 1870.  I would say this image is from the first half of the 1860s.  The mother is wearing a beautiful velvet jacket, and just look at those sleeves!  I also love her impeccably styled hair. She looks so much like a young queen victoria in this photo.  Neither mother or baby are looking particularly amused :D

The last two images whilst not possibly the most stunning in my collection are quite interesting as they are a pair.  They were being sold separately and I thought it would be a shame for them to be separated after so many years so I bought both.  The photographer is Thomas Miller, Midland Road, Wellingborough who was in business between 1869 - 1884.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Two CDV's of family groups c.1870-1885

Here are a couple of CDV's from my own collection.  The first is from the studio of W. P. Booth, Bridge Place Worksop.  The studio was in practice between 1881 - 1885 which makes it easy to date this photograph.  I love the old fashion style of the gentleman's clothes (he wouldn't look out of place in the 1860s) and his large knobbly stick.  I wonder if these are proud grandparents or older parents, or one of each?  Archer Hood my ancestor who I mentioned in a previous post had her last child in 1822 at the age of 50, and it was not usual to still be having children in your 40s.  So we can only guess.

Family c.1881-1885

Close-up. Looks like they tried to cheer up the child on the right hand side with an apple (and failed).  The child on the left has noticeably moved its head during the shot.

Close-up of shoes

The second photo was taken by A. Knighton Photographic Artist, Raunds, Northamptonshire.  It shows the proud parents of four children c.1870s.  I love the stance of the farther!  The little girl at the front is holding a doll, and it looks like the child next to her is holding a stick? I like how the elder boy has moved during the shot despite having hold of his fathers hand.

Proud parents c.1870s

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Etiquette - 1860s style

I love google books.  It's always a great place to go for research or just to do a bit of browsing.  Today I've been brushing up on my etiquette via Cassels elementary handbooks. The particular book in question was The hand-book of etiquette published in 1860.  Here are some of the more interesting excerpts for ladies and gentlemen :)

For Ladies

If a lady has been shopping, she may accept a gentleman's offer to carry any small parcel she may have in her hand; but she must not load him like a pack-horse, nor, in order to be the sooner in possession of her purchases, consent to let him carry any cumbrous things that should be brought home at night by the shopman. 

If you are short, avoid very wide crinolines. They would make you look even shorter than you are, and you tempt people to say you are " as broad as you are long."

Whether you are tall or short, never have your stays or dress laced tight. Compression of the waist, by affecting your health, is sure to injure your appearance.

Whether in negligee or full dress always aim at neatness. No splendour of costume in the evening can make amends for disordered hair, an untidy dress, or slip-shod shoes, in the morning.

Fashion allows of great variety in the mode of dressing the hair. If your face is round, you will find ringlets most becoming. If long, it will look better in bouffes or hands, rather full on each side of the face.

Nets of one only colour, or dark ribbon head-dresses, are better suited for the morning; and gold or embroidered nets, or light-coloured ribbon head-dresses, for dinner parties, small evening parties, or concerts.

Flowers are more appropriate for balls and very large evening parties.

Jewels are more worn by married ladies than by young ladies, who never appear to greater advantage than when attired with elegance and simplicity. It is, however, in perfect accordance with etiquette that young ladies should wear ornaments in moderation, but, while unmarried, they do not generally wear diamonds.

For Gentlemen

It is the law of introductions to introduce the inferior to the superior.

Before you introduce persons, be sure that they will not object to make each other's acquaintance; it is better to ascertain the fact beforehand. If you feel convinced that a gentleman has no objection to make the acquaintance of another gentleman to whom you wish to introduce him, you may proceed to do so without asking permission; but, before presenting a gentleman to a lady, make a point of obtaining her leave.

We remarked, it was difficult to know how to avoid introducing persons to each other, when you know the wish for acquaintanceship is not mutual. In such a case, you may always decline on the just plea of your own insufficient intimacy. 

Avoid everything unusual in your mode of greeting; it is sure to offend. For shaking hands, never offer two fingers, unless the others are maimed. Never offer your left hand, instead of your right, excepting when your right hand is disabled from some unlucky accident, rheumatism, &c.

In a general way, gentlemen cannot, according to etiquette, take ladies to public places, or on excursions, without these ladies' chaperones, and these chaperones should pay their own expenses, and those of the ladies under their care.

In entering public places, or going up crowded staircase, always precede the lady, to "clear the way" and remove difficulties; otherwise, it is a gentleman's province to follow.

On meeting your acquaintances, ladies especially, do not nod, but remove your hat from your head; and do this with your left hand, on meeting friends, in order to leave the right free for the cordial shake of the hand, so indicative of friendship and goodwill in England, and now so often adopted abroad.

Very mistaken ideas exist about the necessity of taking off your gloves to shake hands with a lady. The rule is as follows:—If the lady is ungloved, take off your glove before shaking hands with her; but if she has her gloves on, you need not remove yours.

A young man who is inattentive to his dress is likely to become a sloven as he grows older.

If your hair is red, use red oil; it will shade it down to an auburn tint. If, for temporary loss of hair, you wear a
wig, mind it is one that will completely cover your head; and, if possible, procure one of those ventilating peruques that do not close the pores of the skin of the head. As the wig attracts dust and smoke almost as much as the human hair, do not forget to keep it constantly combed and brushed.

If you wear jewellery, avoid being loaded with it. A brooch or studs, a handsome gold watch and guard, and a ring on the second, third, or fourth finger of either hand, is quite sufficient ornament.

Be particular to have your things made to fit well, but not to fit tightly. In fact, the loose, easy fit, is in accordance with the good taste of the fashions of the present day.

Coloured ties and coloured gloves belong to morning dress. Select those that are of delicate and becoming colours, and avoid those that are glaring and gaudy.
Black dress-coat, black silk tie, or white cravat, silk or black cloth waistcoat, white kid gloves, and black trousers, and thin patent leather boots, are the principal component parts of full-dress costume, suitable alike for dinners, evening parties, balls, and operas.

For out-door costume, avoid cloaks or coats of so light a colour as to contrast too strongly with the other part of your attire. The contrast formed by snow-white linen with the dark waistcoat or coat is a pleasing contrast. Otherwise, endeavour to establish harmony in the colour of your garments.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Mid victorian ambrotype and some photoshop fun :)

Two weeks ago I picked up a lovely mid-victorian ambrotype from a local antiques fair.  I noticed immediately that her broach and belt had been coloured, but it was only after I put the photograph under the scanner and viewed it on the screen that it became apparent that the drapes, background and her cheeks had also been tinted.  I've also been having some fun with photoshop and colourized the image. The lips could have been a better shade (if i hadn't stopped tweaking the image now i would have gone on forever) but i think seeing her in colour really brings her to life.  I love the dress and would be tempted to have a go at recreating it one day.  I'm sure i've got some fabric in my stash that would work :D

Outer case

Inner case

Original scan

Tweaked in photoshop with a little bit of cleaning up

Close up 1

Close up 2

Colourized in photoshop

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

What the dickens is happening in Broadstairs?

Every June at the seaside town of Broadstairs people gather to dress up and celebrate one of it's most renowned visitors – Charles Dickens. As some of you know this was where my love of costume first started, so here is my not so impartial review of the festival. For me the day started with a mad rush to reconstruct my crinoline as some little mousy friends had got in to where I had stored it, so it needed disinfecting and re-wiring. The tapes had shrunk in the wash which made getting the hoops back in interesting to say the least. The start of the main parade was 2.30 and we finally got there with 10 minutes to spare. The day itself was windy but fair. People come from across the country to take part in the festival and there is always a great atmosphere just before the parade starts, as it is often the first chance we get to meet up with everyone. After the parade was the opening ceremony and here I think a special mention needs to go to the Page Mason School of Dance and Drama who did brilliantly with scenes from the musical “Oliver” despite how unruly the wind was behaving.

Dickensian characters making their way along the promenade as part of the festival parade

A stalwart of the festival is the Victorian Cricket match. This is no ordinary cricket match, but a light hearted affair with interruptions from amongst others a group of militant maids.
We were a bit unlucky with the weather this year, but that didn't seem to stop anyone. 

Militant maids in action at the cricket match

 The sea bathing was bracing for those brave souls who went into the water, and for those of us who stayed on dry sand we had much fun with a seaside picnic and traditional seaside musical entertainment.

Braving the sea

"Oh I do love to be beside the seaside"

Jason and Rose having fun with a windmill

A highlight of the festival for the last few years have been the costume talks given by Louise Woodcock for the ladies, and Vernon Mee for the gentlemen. Louise's talks are always good fun with tongue in cheek humour and this year was about dressing a Victorian bride. Vernon gives tips on how a gentleman would dress and always brings along original objects, which I love, and he kindly gave me permission to take photos of (and gently drool over) an original 1850s waistcoat in his collection.

A bit of tight lacing going on here...

A very dapper gentleman

Food is always an important part of the festival for my family, and here I need to give a special mention to the Kiosk at the bandstand. They've been a favourite of ours for the last couple of years. They've got a large and diverse menu, their portions are huge, the quality is 5 star and they are really good value for money. The staff are very friendly and helpful. They have a great range for vegetarians too and my husband would heartily recommend their Klubless Klub sandwich. Rose (my daughter) became a huge fan of their cheese on toast, and having tried it I can't blame her. Another great place to get food in Broadstairs is Continental Corner. Although we only visited them once this year their food was as delicious as ever and I very much enjoyed munching into one of their giant hot dogs :D

Guilty pleasure - hotdog from Continental Corner

Two events of the festival really stood out for me. I attempted to play croquet for the first time in around 5 years, and I did gloriously badly at it. Luckily for my foot my boot protected it from the hit I gave it. I also got the pleasure of seeing Rose handle a croquet mallet and ball for the first time, her desire for the balls to always form a triangle and her minor obsession with the croquet peg :D Croquet is a really fun game when played with the right group of people (and with a flexible approach to the rules) and the couple of matches I watched were playful and entertaining. I did feel sorry for the poor flower beds though. The seaside frolics at the bandstand was the last event of the festival, and was a really upbeat way to end the week.

Rose taking a serious interest in the croquet

Rose watching me try and play croquet

Other events of the festival included the festival play, music hall, garden party, competitions, picnic and talks.  You can find more details about the festival at www.broadstairsdickensfestival.co.uk  

Standard disclaimer. These views are my own personal ones and do not necessarily reflect those of the festival or any of the businesses or people mentioned. While every caution has been taken to provide my readers with most accurate information and honest analysis, please use your discretion before taking any decisions based on the information in this blog. Author will not compensate you in any way whatsoever if you ever happen to suffer a loss/inconvenience/damage because of/while making use of information in this blog.  

Friday, 24 May 2013

Celebrating the anniversary of Queen Victoria's Birthday. Images of Englands virtuous Queen.

Today (May 24th) marks the 194th anniversary of Queen Victoria's Birthday.  It always saddens me how often I see Victoria portrayed as the stereotypical post Albert old lady in black, especially during events that are aiming at the era before Albert's death (pre 1861).  So to celebrate her birthday here are my favourite images of Queen Victoria during her heyday, from the beginning of her reign at the age of 18 to the death of her beloved Albert in December 1861 when she was 42.

 Queen Victoria c.1839

Queen Victoria by John Partridge 1840 the Royal Collection

 Queen Victoria, Henry Pierce Bone, 1840. Photo: Royal Collection

 Queen Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria) (1819-1901) by Charles Brocky in 1841.

Queen Victoria, William Essex, 1841. Photo: Royal Collection.

Queen Victoria
by Mrs Edwin Dalton (Magdalena Ross), after Sir William Charles Ross
lithograph, 1843

Queen Victoria (1819-1901) by Robert Thorburn in 1844

Queen Victoria (1819-1901) by Franz Xaver Winterhalter in 1845.
The Royal Collection

 Queen Victoria by unknown artist. 1840s.

  Queen Victoria 1845

 Queen Victoria 1847  Franz Xaver Winterhalter

Queen Victoria with Prince Arthur 1850 Franz Xaver Winterhalter

  Queen Victoria, 1850s. 

The Cousins: Queen Victoria and Victoire, Duchesse de Nemours by Franz Xaver Winterhalter 1852

 5th July 1854 Photograph showing a three-quarters length right profile portrait of a seated Queen Victoria at Buckingham Palace. She rests a photographic portrait of Prince Albert on her lap. In July 1854, Queen Victoria commissioned Duppa to take a photograph of her, as a surprise for her husband. The portrait shows the Queen holding a framed copy of a portrait of Prince Albert taken by the same photographer a few months earlier.
The Royal Collection

  Queen Victoria photographed in her wedding gown by Roger Fenton in 1854

 Queen Victoria 1855 Franz Xaver Winterhalter

 Queen Victoria 1856 by Charles Lucien Louis Muller.

Handtinted image of Prince Albert and Queen Victoria c.1850s

 Vicky with Victoria 1857

 Queen Victoria c.1850s

 Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, ca 1860

1860 Queen Victoria by John Jabez Edwin Mayall (The Royal Collection)

Queen Victoria with Princess Beatrice c.1861

 Queen Victoria by John Jabez Edwin Mayall 1861

 Queen Victoria via Grand Ladies