The Art of Beauty: To rouge or not to rouge

Throughout our corpus of nineteenth-century novels, there are numerous references to the transformative power of cosmetics. As well as striving to survive the noxious levels of lead and arsenic in your potions and pastes, you are also tasked with achieving socially acceptable levels of rouging. According to Madam Lola Montez’s 1858 book The Art of Beauty or…

Image of the Week: A slice of Mrs. Weston’s wedding-cake

This weeks image is inspired by a short scene in Jane Austen’s Emma. Concerned for the digestive health of the guests at Miss Taylor’s wedding, Mr. Woodhouse tries to dissuade them from eating the wedding-cake… There was no recovering Miss Taylor—nor much likelihood of ceasing to pity her; but a few weeks brought some alleviation…

Image of the Week: Summer bathing and sea air

In Chapter 12 of Austen’s Emma, Mr. Woodhouse questions his daughter Isabella’s decision to spend the autumn with her children at South End and adds sea air and swimming to his list of dangerous activities. “It was an awkward business, my dear, your spending the autumn at South End instead of coming here. I never had…

Coxcombs and Foppish Haircuts

In chapter 25 of Jane Austen’s Emma, the titular character is somewhat perplexed by Frank Churchill’s “foppish” decision to travel sixteen miles for some nineteenth-century “manscaping”. “Emma’s very good opinion of Frank Churchill was a little shaken the following day, by hearing that he was gone off to London, merely to have his hair cut. A sudden freak seemed…