Archive for April, 2015

Stringing Through the Generations

The young girl in the center of this vintage photo began this charm string at the age of 6 in 1890. Later additions were made by her daughters in the 1930s and 40s.WCMA_CharmString.JPG

Wellington County Museum

Charmed!

Lot 146 Victorian Charm String, from our current Spring May 2 Buttons! Auction

A rare and original Victorian Era charm string featuring scores of buttons (138) including glass swirlbacks, small jewels, radiants, and kaleidoscopes. According to tradition, the young girl who gathered these needed 862 more to find her Prince Charming.

Read more about them here 

The Victorian Debutante

The culture of the a debutante first originated in Britain during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, in the second half of the 16th century, when she began the custom of formally presenting eligible young women at court. Three centuries later, Queen Victoria created the ritual we think of today, with girls dressed in white and the official bow called a “curtsey.” It soon spread to America.”

The Social Season

1870 cartoon satirizing the coming of the London Season

The central function of the social season was its role in making marriages. 

Seating for the Courting Couple

Tete-a-tete furniture, popular during the Victorian era, allowed for couples to sit closely, face to face, yet retain a proper barrier between them. This elaborate Rococo Revival example is ca. 1850.  Metropolitan Museum of Art Collection.

He is Charmed

Indeed, since the first night I saw you, the perfection and the constellation of charms that shine in your person have filled my heart and brain so full that I can do nothing but think of you all day and dream of you all night. I cannot imagine any happiness for myself in the future which is not identified with you.

From The Mystery of Love, Courtship and Marriage Explained by Henry J Wehman, 1890.

Looking for Prince Charming

The Worst of Times

There were no debutante balls for the Victorian child laborer. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was created in 1824 – Which was 67 years before the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, which was created in 1891. Textile mills were notorious for child labor, as were glass factories.image001

She needed a hero, so that's what she became.

The Princess

Victorian Women

“The status of women in the Victorian era is often seen as an illustration of the striking discrepancy between the United Kingdom’s national power and wealth and what many, then and now, consider its appalling social conditions. During the era symbolized by the reign of British monarch Queen Victoria, women did not have suffrage rights, the right to sue, or the right to own property. At the same time, women participated in the paid workforce in increasing numbers following the Industrial Revolution. Feminist ideas spread among the educated female middle classes, discriminatory laws were repealed, and the women’s suffrage movement gained momentum in the last years of the Victorian Era.” Wikipedia