Caroline, Princess of Wales 1795

Caroline, Princess of Wales

Caroline, Princess of Wales

C114 – card design – Caroline Princes of Wales published 1795

What a dress! This print is dated 1795. The Prince of Wales married his 27 year old German cousin Caroline (the daughter of George III’s sister Augusta and the Duke of Brunswick) on 5th April 1795. I wonder if this was her wedding dress.

It was not a happy marriage. Although she was said to be blonde, small and quite pretty with nice eyes she was considered rather wild and vulgar. She was also not the most fastidious when it came to cleanliness. However within 9 months she gave birth to a daughter.

She left England to tour the continent and led a free and enjoyable life until her father in law died in 1820. She then returned to England to take up her place as Queen of England. She was very popular with the public and many had sympathy for her situation. George had never given up his true love, Mrs Fitzherbert.

The now George IV did not want Caroline as his queen and gathered evidence about her so called adulteries. Data was collected and a three month trial followed to try and prove her infidelities. When questioned about the adultery she replied she ‘had committed adultery once, but with the husband of Mrs Fitzherbert’. The bill was thrown out and the King did not get his divorce. However George did arrange for her to be turned away from the Coronation when she tried to attend. She died age 53 on 7th August 1821 only 3 weeks after her husband’s Coronation.

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New book ‘The Georgian Menagerie’ by Christopher Plumb

‘The Georgian Menagerie’, a book by Christopher Plumb tells of exotic animals in the streets of 18th century London. All kinds of animals could be bought in the Strand, mostly imported from ‘the Empire’. My grandmother kept a bear and some monkeys in her garden in Lancashire! As the 19th century arrived animals were kept in official Zoological Gardens instead of in domestic homes and gardens.

Animals for blog

Wrapping Paper (WP126) – 18th century engravings of animals

Currently for sale at the shop at Dyrham House, near Bath


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Jean-Etienne Liotard at The Royal Academy

Young Woman in a Turkish Interior

‘Young Woman in a Turkish Interior’ counterproof on paper.

I am very excited that one of my favourite artists is being exhibited at the Royal Academy this Autumn. This artist was such an extraordinary man who embraced the Turkish style and fashion popular at that time.  He carried Turkish costumes with him on is travels and dressed his sitters in some of the most beautiful clothes. He was renowned for his amazingly colourful pastels, his ability to gain a likeness and his skill at depicting fabrics. He was also a brilliant self publicist and would have had a wonderful time on Twitter and Facebook.

Jean-Etienne Liotard 1702 – 1789 was the son of Huguenot parents, who had fled from France. They came to Geneva in 1701 with their 8 children. Jean-Etienne and his twin Jean-Michel were born in 1702. His father became a jewellery dealer and as young men the twins were apprenticed to a miniaturist engraver. In 1723 Jean-Etienne went to Paris and by 1726 was working as an independent engraver and painter. He especially liked to use pastels for his portraits. In 1736 he travelled to Florence and Rome where he worked for several influential patrons including several cardinals.

Liotard engraving

‘The Right Hon, Maria Countess of Coventry’ circa 1754

The Earl of Sandwich and Hon William Ponsonby were on ‘The Grand Tour’ when they met Jean-Etienne. He joined them while they explored Rome and Greece finally arriving in Istanbul. Here he was inspired by the Turkish dress and style. He painted western diplomats and their wives. In 1742 he was invited by Prince Mavrocodato of Moldavia to go to Iasi. He grew a beard and dressed in Turkish style dress and was nicknamed ‘Le Peintre Turc.’ This was a bit of shrewd publicity. When he went to Vienna he became very popular and famous and could achieve high prices for his portraits, drawings, pastels and miniatures. After 2 years in Vienna he went to Venice and caught up with his twin Jean-Michel, who was working there as an engraver.


‘Self Portrait’ 1744 – pastel on vellum

He arrived in London in 1753, renewed the contacts he had met abroad, and met up with his earlier travelling companions and patrons. His critics thought his portraits too like the sitter warts and all. He had plenty of sitters during his first year in London but not so many in the second. After London he went to Holland, painted and drew members of the House of Orange, leading courtiers, aristocrats and lawyers. With his earnings from his sales in Paris, Holland and London he began to make a collection of old masters. He particularly like the Dutch school.

Liotard 2

‘Young Woman Reading On A Sofa’  – oil on canvas

He had had many affairs on his travels and fathered at least 2 children. However at the age of 54 he married 27 year old Marie Fargues in 1756. He shaved his beard off as a wedding present!!!!  He fathered 5 children with Marie.  In 1758 he returned to Geneva and his fellow countrymen queued to have their portraits taken by their returned compatriot. He made a few trips in later life often in the role of art dealer. He always returned to his home in Geneva where he died in 1789.

If you are in London go and see this exhibition at The Royal Academy, which starts on the 24th October 2015 – 31st Jan 2016. I think it will be very good.


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If you can, go and tour the roof of Dyrham House near Bath

Dyrham House, a National Trust property near Bath, is having a new roof. It took 5 men 3.5 months to erect this amazing scaffolding to enable the repairs to take place. Now the public can either climb the stairs to the roof or take a lift to view the work as it progresses. You will be lent a hard hat and dayglow jacket if you go by lift. There are great views of the park once you get there.

Dyrham front of house

Here is the front of the house

Dyrham roof 4

On the roof!

Dyrham roof 6

Looking down at the garden

Dyrham roof 7

Dyrham scaffolding 1


There are about 80 new fawns in the Park too. They are really enchanting and very tiny.

Dyrham deer

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Appledore – more Georgian architecture

Appledore is a pretty Devon town on the Torridge estuary. Boat building boatyards are still operating here. Regency houses line the main street which fronts the fairly new esplanade by the water. Rent a cottage on the south side of Irsha Street and you will almost certainly have a balcony on which to have your breakfast each morning.

Appledore 7

Behind this street lie a network of narrow streets lined with 18th century fishermens’ cottages. Many of these are painted in pastel colours.

Appledore 3


Appledore 13



Uphill from the town centre is the North Devon Maritime Museum housed in a lovely Georgian building. It is run by volunteers and really is a fascinating collection of the town’s maritime history. This is a town which was thriving in the 18th century.

Appledore 4

The smallest house in Appledore

Little pink house

I can recommend a holiday here especially for those who like Georgian architecture, sea, estuaries, sand and rivers! Cycling on the nearby Tarka Trail is great fun. If you take a trip from Instow to Bideford you can take tea on a boat at the end of the esplanade.

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2 New Cards

Here are 2 new cards from Frederica Cards.

For all the cat lovers – C244 an engraved print entitled ‘Cat And The Mice’ which was drawn and engraved by Samuel Howitt circa 1820. We had a cat who slept through everything including a fox walking into the kitchen!!!


and C242 ‘Vintage Toys 1910 – 1960’ I remember having several of these soft toys when I was young. The donkey on this card went to bed with me for years!



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These Tulips were photographed in the award winning Abbey House Gardens at Malmesbury, now open to the public for the 2015 season. Tulips were once worth more than their weight in gold and fortunes were won and lost over the value of tulip bulbs.

Originally these beautiful flowers were from central asia and gradually spread westwards. They were first grown by the Turks over 1,000 years ago. The ancestors of our garden tulip thrived in inhospitable rocky and dusty mountain slopes, hot in summer and very cold in winter. The tulip has appeared in art and design for hundreds of years. By 1559 the tulip was growing in Europe. The first illustration of a tulip by physician Conrad Gesner, who lived in Zurich, was drawn and painted in 1561. Then came ‘Tulipmania’ as it is called.

Early tulip illustration

The Dutch East India Company established in 1602 brought bulbs from the Far East. A thriving industry developed around the city of Haarlem in the Netherlands. Tulips became popular with royalty, aristocracy and the wealthy. ‘Tulipmania’ was at its height between 1637 – 1639. The market for the most famous, unusual and rare bulbs rose out of control. Some rare bulbs were sold for more than the price of a house. They were sold in the ground by traders and soon the ordinary man took part in a business that seemed to create wealth and prosperity for the tulip bulb traders. There were so few rare bulbs and many were deseased and did not grow. The passion for tulips began to dwindle. The market collapsed causing an economic crisis in the Netherlands which resounded around Europe.

Throughout the 18th century the tulip trade continued in Europe. If you had tulips in your home it was a sign of your standing in society and your wealth. The British imported beautiful vases from the Netherlands. These vases had multiple spouts to display single blooms.  There are some beautiful examples at Dyrham House (National Trust) near Bath.

Britain imported tulips from the Netherlands and France. Between 1750 and 1850 nearly every town in the north of  England held a tulip show. The tulip was becoming a bulb for everyone to cultivate. The modern day tulips are born out of changes, which occurred during the ninteenth century, when mass planting was undertaken instead of the single bloom. The crossing of tulips has created a multitude of beautiful and exotic varieties.

Currently we have our tulip card C215 on special offer. Here are some pictures of my favourite tulips which are flowering in my garden today. I planted them last October.

2nd purple tulip

striped tulips

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Things have not changed that much in the kitchen

WP184 Traditional Kitchen


Here are some kitchen utensils and laundry tools from the Georgian period. We can certainly recognise many of the kitchen items on this wrapping paper/poster. I am going to look at them from the top left moving to the right and then onto the left of the next row.

The box iron with its hollow body held a heated plate of metal and was filled with hot embers from the fire. The wooden handle prevented the user from burning their hand. The tinder box with a candle would have been held by the handle. The tinder box was important for rekindling the fire when it had gone out. It usually contained a piece of charred linen with a flint and steel and a round damper for dousing the tinder after the light had been obtained. Next comes the tin plate candle mould. This would probably have been for beeswax or tallow candles. Next there are a pair of oil lamps which would have provided a low light from where they were hung.

The wooden shortbread mould divides into two to enable the shortbread to be removed in one piece when baked. The spice tin is segmented and would have contained spices such as cinnamon, allspice berries, nutmeg, peppercorns, mace, dried ginger and juniper berries. The small central cylindrical nutmeg grater has unfortunately lost its lid.

The wooden lemon squeezer looks as if it would be quite as efficient as my modern one.

From the laundry department there are the iron crimpers for pleating material. Further along are two pairs of candlewick trimmers.

The ridge rollers were used for breaking up thin oatcakes. The smooth one is to roll out pastry. The whetstone for sharpening knives was very important for the Georgian cook. The glass fly trap is a design used for hundreds of years and you can even buy something similar today. The kitchens were often painted pale blue as the arsenic contained in the blue paint deterred flies. The iron candlestick has a small handle which raises the candle up as it burns down. Everyday plates would have been made of pewter or tin and porcelain plates would have been used for very special occasions or by those who could afford them.

The sugar loaf of compacted  sugar in the shape of a tall thin pyramid would have been cut with the sugar loaf clippers and added to recipes.

The drop weight mousetrap was operated by an internal pedal which, on being touched by  a mouse, released the string held trigger. This type of trap has been in use for many many years too.

The brass spill holder would have held the spills to light the candles and fires. The part glazed earthenware bowl is full of dried fruit. From the laundry again is a tally iron.

The wooden spoon holder or very similar examples would have been found in most cottage kitchens. The heart decorative motif is a common design. The coffee bean roaster would have been held over the fire to roast the precious and expensive beans. The red earthenware pottle is full of chestnuts. The copper kettle would have been kept shining by the maids in the wealthy households and the tiny flat ‘goose’ iron so called because it looked like a goose. It would have been warmed on the bar grate by the fire.  The half copper kettle when placed on a bar trivet against the fire would have heated up the water very quickly. The quart cider mug has traditionally two handles. Cider has always been an important drink in the west country. In the early 18th century the recognised daily cider allowance, whilst harvesting, was a gallon and a half!!! The rushlight holder would have held a poor quality tallow candle. The brass pestle and mortar would have been used to grind down the spices, herbs, sugar and probably some medicines.

The Somerset Owl, as it was called, was an earthenware vessel for storing cider.

A wooden butter stamp would decorate the blocks of butter. Dating from the late Georgian period this metal and wire mousetrap (the ones pictured in the trap are toy mice) would have been placed in the kitchen and scullery. The set of steel skewers would have been hanging near the fire ready to test the meat. Wooden and leather pattens are a kind of over shoe used to walk on muddy or wet surfaces to avoid getting ones feet wet. They were used by all echelons of society.

This flat iron was made and stamped by Kenrick. The salt glazed mould with a swan on the base would have made some very decorative pies. Then we come to the slipper muller. This was used to warm wine over the fire. Another vessel for the same job was the copper conical ale muller.

The glass and steel candle holder is next to the oak coopered jug.

Here is a nursery rhyme from the Georgian period

Pat-a-cake, Pat-a-cake, Baker’s man

Bake me a cake as soon as you can

Prick it, and nick it, and mark it with B,

And put it in the oven for baby and me

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What could be found on a Georgian Gentleman’s Desk?

WP163 catalogueWhen you think of what a man would have on his desk today, there are very few items which would have been similar to those found on a Georgian gent’s desk. For a start there would be no computer, printer, calculator, mobile phone, photos of the family, biro, can of coke or chocolate bar. The modern man sits in a centrally heated room with overhead lighting. Our Georgian gent would have worked by candlelight and probably had his desk not too far from an open fire to keep warm. I have found it very interesting to see the candle lighting used in the filming of Wolf Hall. Apparently £20,000 was spent on candles. It must have been very difficult for the film crew but a special camera was developed for filming in low light. It makes you think how difficult it would be to read when wholly depending on candlelight. My great grandfather used to love carpentry and my grandmother, when a little girl, used to hold a candle for him to see while he worked.

However I do think there would have been at least one similar item on the desk of both the Georgian gent and the modern man. There might quite likely have been a pair of glasses or spectacles.

A Georgian gent would have had a pair of magnifying spectacles. They might have had a rim of silver, gold, steel,brass, horn, bone or tortoiseshell. The lens would be made from thin glass or crystal and they would often fold into a silver or leather case.

glasses red

This pair of silver rimmed glasses in a red Morroccan leather case were made in 1770. Another interesting pair are below. They are also made in the 18th century and have polished steel frames and a case which is engraved ‘Francis Gibson 1760’.


The earliest glasses are recorded as having been made in Italy circa 1268-1286. They were not just made for the wealthy. A pair of 15th century rivet glasses were discovered during renovations under the floorboards of the nun’s choir stalls at Kloster Wienhausen in Northern Germany in 1953.

Examples of glasses made before 1700 are very rare. In 1629 King Charles I granted a charter incorporating ‘The Worshipful Company of Spectaclemakers.’ During the 17th century tinted glasses became popular. Bifocals or split lenses were introduced in the 1760s.

Perhaps a visit to the Museum of Spectacles in Amsterdam would be enlightening. I would love to go.


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A Physiognomy

According to the Oxford English Dictionary this word means: ‘Art of judging character from features of face or form of body.’ In the 18th century this assessment of character by virtue of a person’s drawn features was considered a science. In 1743 an Act of Parliament passed a law to prevent the practice. It was thought to be a lowly occupation carried out by the lower echelons of society. After the law was passed punishments for performing these character assessments could be anything from internment to public whippings! It did not seem to have had too much effect on the practice, and must have been difficult to police.

However Physiognomies had been practised since as early as 500 BC. Pythagoras accepted or rejected students on how they LOOKED. It became popular in 16th century Europe too. An Italian scholar, Giambattista della Porta, was one of the most famous writers on the art of Physiognomy.  He attempted to deduce character by observation of physical features and compare human and animal heads to aid characterisation.

In the latter part of the 18th century Johann Caspar Lavater wrote a book called ‘Essays on Physiognomy’ which set out the assessment of character and morality from outer appearances. Lavater commissioned Johan Henrich Fuseli and William Blake to illustrate this tome. He disected the face into different parts, each part giving clues to character. The expression ‘stuck up’ comes from this period when a person with an upturned nose  was thought to show a person with a superior and/or contemptuous attitude.

Scientists still study the science of faces today.

Below is a print called ‘Physiognomies’ by Isaac Cruickshank printed in 1796.Physiog 30.10.13 I found all this so fascinating I made a wrapping paper/poster ‘Physiognomies’. Could you judge the characters of the folks in the print above?






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