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Picturing a World

Naughty, naughty

Website alert: I hope this link to a copy of Poetical Sketches of Scarborough for sale will be viable for a while. It's a source for a set of twenty-one lightly satiric illustrations of life at the English sea resort of Scarborough in 1812. For anyone researching public baths in the early 19th C, voilà! The picture also fits my running theme of using imagery as prompts for original fiction. Obviously, there's a story here. 

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Bridge tallies

During Massachusetts' stay-at-home order, I have been sorting family papers and came across these two vibrant, witty little watercolors by Knoxville artist, Mary Etta Grainger (1880–1963). I knew they were souvenirs from a bridge party; but, not being a bridge player myself, I did not know what to call them. A little poking around on the web introduced me to "bridge tallies." They are like dance cards. At a bridge party, guests sign each other's cards to assure a rotation at different tables. Sets of printed tallies were all the rage in the 1920's, and you can see scads of them at the Laura M. Mueller Bridge Tally Card Collection. But how much more delicious to receive a unique, individualized card!

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First Christmas card

Blog tip: In 1843 (the year Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol), a civil servant named Henry Cole commissioned a card to be designed so that he could send greetings to friends and family. The rest is printing and commercial history. Read more at the History Blog's post, World's first Christmas card goes on display at Dickens Museum.

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Hallowe’en 2016

Today’s image comes via It’s About Time, but could equally have come from Liberty Puzzles. As the 2016 election spirals down, I regret not having ordered one for distraction!

For a wealth of holiday postcards from the New York Public Library, click here.

And I’ve just discovered a book that bears looking into, American Holiday Postcards, 1905–1915. Addendum: For a helpful review, click hereRead More 
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Tablecloth and apron

Blog tip:As a follow-up to my post yesterday, look what appeared this morning at It’s About Time—not only a tablecloth with folds, but an apron as well!
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Lamplight and table linen

Three things about this picture of a dinner party by Jules Alexandre Grun interest me (besides the artist’s being a younger contemporary of Jeanette). The first is the illumination from the lamps on the table. Gas? oil? candles? I’m always trying to imagine how  Read More 
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Torn party dress

As we enter the season of parties, parties, parties, we can either rejoice or regret that the era of the lady’s maid in the cloak closet is long past. In 1922, Emily Post could still write, “Fifteen minutes before the dinner hour, Mrs. Worldly is already standing in her drawing-room.… She knows without  Read More 

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At the Florist

Before I saw Béraud’s Promenade, featured in the last post, I had seen Hassam’s Florist, which illustrates the custom of being accompanied by a uniformed maid when out and about in Paris (very handy for having someone to carry purchases as well as to announce respectability). Countess Marie Bashkirtseff and other privileged students at the Académie Julian were escorted to class by a maid. For Jeanette and other foreign students, however, such close chaperonage was unnecessary. The streets of Paris were safe and American girls were notable to Europeans for their independence. Read More 
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