Good news for the time travelling Chess Enthusiast to Georgian England: The game is played by men and women alike. Napoleon, e.g., played chess in his youth, at college, and indeed all this life. The second half of the 18th century even saw the game becoming increasingly popular, with some coffee houses offering their rooms as locations for chess lessons with famous players. Also, the first chess club was founded. Find out here where you can play a decent game of chess or improve your skills from the 1770s – 1820.Continue reading
Will there be rain, sun or snow within the next days? Should I plant my crops – or rather delay a journey? Predicting the weather was an art by itself in the 18th century. A scientific approach to weather forecasting started in earnest from the early 18th century, but progress was slow. So how did people like Jane Austen forecast the weather?Continue reading
In the early 19th century there was hardly a more experienced kingmaker than Napoleon Bonaparte: He had crowed himself as Emperor of France in 1804, became King of Italy in 1805, and made his relatives Kings of the Kingdom of Holland (1806), the Kingdom of Naples (1806 and 1808), the Kingdom of Westphalia (1807) and of Spain (1808). He also made his ally, Maximilian IV Joseph, prince-elector of Bavaria, a King in 1806. The coronation of the King of Bavaria was planned to be a splendid affair, and everyone invested large amounts of money, time and craftsmanship, but alas….Continue reading
France, center of fashion for all matters of beautiful living! In the 1. half of the 18th century, the court indulges in heavy scents. Perfume is a fashion statement as well as a necessity: scents are used to protect oneself from bad, contagious smells, and they are also a symbol of social power. But progress in medical knowledge leads to a new view on scents, and with this, new fragrances become fashionable. This so-called olfactory revolution is eagerly adopted by British noblemen and -women on their Grand Tour of the Continent …Continue reading
Imagine you are a chef in a genteel household around 1815. Your master and mistress enjoy eating cake, and they also like to boast of the quality of ‘their kitchen’ to the guest of their dinners and assemblies. So, they constantly urge you to stay abreast of the latest trends in baking. Cakes at Royal Parties, they hear, are of a fluffy texture and delicious sweetness.
They give you free rein to achieve similar results, whatever the cost and changes to the kitchen may be. Check out five innovations that help you to succeed in this task. But be aware: baking powder is not yet available!
Imagine you are a statesman of a country allied to Napoleonic France. Napoleon is visiting, and you are having a warm and welcoming chat. Your chances are very high that he will present you with a beautiful, ornate, expensive dress pistol to honour your loyalty. Napoleon liked gifting his allies as well as his best military men with such superb arms, and they were true luxury gifts. They were made by one of the most sought-after arms makers of the age at a specialised workshop at Versailles: Nicolas-Noël Boutet. Have a look at a beautiful example here:Continue reading
Eight years after the Napoleonic Wars, the economy gets back on track. Science and technology advance significantly. Politicians are discussing reforms, and some repressive laws have already been repealed. All the while, high society sticks to the ‘old’ ideas and rules.
The book market is a mirror of this situation: the fiction genre mainly celebrates the familiar authors, but at the same time it starts to open towards more ‘radical’ topics.
In non-fiction, new publications highlight the path to the future, or look back to the ‘good old times’ of everyone’s favourite enemy: Napoleon.
Check out my list of popular fiction and non-fiction releases. I have added links to online versions of each book, so you can actually read like its 1823!
It’s Christmas Eve, about 200 years ago. The church organ has broken down in a small town in Austria. The aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars still haunts the people. In this night, a very special song is born. Nobody knows yet that it is to become one of the most popular carols in the world. Continue reading
Dear time travelling gentleman on the way to the 18th century, please make sure to take with you one thing: a hat!
In the 18th century, a hat is not only useful in bad weather, and it is more than a fashion accessory. A hat indicates your role in society. Without a hat you are a nobody.
Follow me to a brief introduction to the history of 18th century hats. We make sure you pick the correct one for each period, and we also find out about hat etiquette.
During the Regency period, horses seemed to be everywhere: They were indispensable partners for work, transportation, warfare, sport – and even for lifestyle and fashion. Horsehair from manes and tails was used for brushes, wigs and string instruments, and it was proceeded into haircloth. Haircloth was a great fabric for upholstery or for stiffening crinolines and the front panels of a suit. All these usages relied on the robustness of the material. But did you know that delicate ladies’ hats were made of horsehair, too?Continue reading