In the 18th century, Venice was among the top destinations of the Grand Tour. The city was experiencing a period of peace, and economy and arts flourished. Thiss attracted rich British tourists. They indulged their sense of luxury, spent their days at leisure at Caffè Florian or Caffé Lavena, and enjoyed the opera, gambling, dancing, fireworks and spectacles. Buying art was also high on the list of things to do, and paintings with views of the City by sought-after artists such as Antonio Canal (Canaletto) made an excellent souvenir. Of course, pretty trifles were taken back to Britain as well. These could, e.g., be hand-held fans. Let’s have a closer look at one of these beautiful items.Continue reading
Fans are so much more than fashionable accessories: They are useful for flirting, can cool heated cheeks or hide an unladylike emotion. In the wake of the Napoleonic War, their usefulness was boosted beyond the known limit when fans were made for spying, i.e. discretely observing the surrounding or other persons. I found some examples of these extraordinary devices when I visited the exhibition “Waterloo: Life & Times” of the Fan Museum in Greenwich, UK.
At first glance, 18th century shoes aren’t very different from today’s shoes – though they are, of course, more delicate and ornate. At a closer look however, many features of shoes we take for granted today were invented only after 1830. Enjoy some amazing facts about shoes, shoemaking, and photos of lovely shoes.
Hand-held fans, previously reserved for royalty and aristocrats, become a must-have accessory for every lady in high society at the end of the 17th century. The trend to carry a fan spreads rapidly through society. With this, the decoration of the fan leave becomes light-hearted: The religious and classical motifs give way to pastoral scenes, al fresco parties, and themes of love-and-courtship. Interestingly, fashion itself also features on the fashionable accessories, serving as a fashion plate and fashion statement.Continue reading
These gowns were called robes – after the French word for dress, as France was the center of fashion in these days. Continue reading
In this post:
- Early Weight Watchers
- The secret knowlegde of the Weighing Book
- Dieting with Lord Byron
A softly rounded, plumb, curvaceous and voluptuous body was considered healthy and beautiful for most of the 18th century. Nevertheless, with the rise of the ideals of ancient Greek in fashion and design, the athletic body of an Olympian shifted into focus. Fashionable skin-tight pantaloons revealed every muscle of the male leg, the perfectly-cut coat looked best on broad shoulders. To create a specific volume, men wore padded under-structures round the shoulders and calves, and a corset helped to accentuate a man’s waist.
The well-proportioned male body became an object of fashion and health. But how to measure the body weight? Bathroom scales were not yet around, not even for the rich. People had to pay to be weighed at the doctors. Thus, it came in handy for High Society men of London that a wine shop started offering the service to its customers for free in 1765. Actually, weighing became extremely fashionable. Continue reading
Hand-held fans of the 18th century were more than an accessory. They often commemorated political milestones, were a display of loyalty and patriotism, and celebrated popular social and scientific events.
For this post, I have compiled 8 fans related to historic events of the 18th century for you. Enjoy the beauty and singularity of the objects, and marvel at the craftsmanship.
Female fashion of the 18th century featured a fabulous wealth of accessories. This post looks at shoes, gloves, hats, fichus, jewellery and many other beautiful fashion items from about 1750 to 1825. Follow me to the world of accessories for ladies. Continue reading
Women’s gowns changed significantly throughout the Romantic Age. Until about 1780, France had been the ‘Kingdom of fashion’. Everybody had copied French designs and styles. With the French Revolution and the rise of Napoleon to power, three things happened:
- Aristocratic fashion with its excessive use of lace, brocade and silk fell out-of favour. Fashion adopted ideas of freedom, love of nature and early-democratic cultures such as Roman and Grecian antiquity.
- French fashion leaders and their modistes fled from Paris to London. London became the new centre of fashion.
- Napoleon’s Continental System blocked England from its previous market places for cloth. England’s search for new commercial partners led to the discovery of new fabrics for fashion. These allowed for new styles and cuts.
I have compiled a selection of photos of beautiful women’s gowns of 1740 – 1825. Follow me to the world of ladies’ fashion. Continue reading
Let’s leave the Romantic Age for one glamorous evening and go to the mid 18th century. We shall discover one of the major society events of the year 1756: The opening of Norfolk House in London.
Follow me to ‘All Things Georgian’, the brilliant website of Sarah Murden and Joanne Major, history detectives and acclaimed authoresses. Sarah and Joanne kindly feature my guest post about a grand event and 6 tips to succeed there as time travelling guests of the Duke and Duchess of Norfolk.
Please click here to go to the post and find out more.
Anna M. Thane