Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Amanda-Vickery
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-07-24 17:30
life in Georgian England
Behind Closed Doors: At Home in Georgian England - Amanda Vickery

It's about living in Georgian England and what the household politics would probably have been like.  The life and times of people from a few sources, the accounts books (apparently women did the household accounts and the men did the estate books); diaries; merchant accounts and letters mostly.  It was interesting to see where the roots of the tradition of a parlour in Ireland was, and this was where I had problems with the book.  The period traditions were treated as alien things, not things that have echoed down the ages and some of the commentary about furniture failed to see how and why someone might want to, in a house that is largely their husband's, a space of their own, even if it was only a desk.  And where someone might decide to, when faced with someone who didn't respect their space (which would probably have been often in a world where women were regarded as ornaments rather than people) they would have procured things for themselves that would have been seen by the men as wrong to use, whether that was style or size.  A desk suited to a small woman would have been difficult for a large man to use.  I didn't see the author see subversion in these things, or see the widow buy many tea pots because her husband belittle her "tea habit".  Humankind hasn't changed much, just the decorations.


The author also attests that yellow isn't seen in heraldry and therefore isn't caught up in symbolism.  Yellow and gold were inter-changable in heralry (for the most part, it's a little more complicated than that but it is largely thus) and were given a lot of the same attributes and two minutes with a reasonable heraldry book would give you this information, hell two minutes with the Heradry Society website and their introduction to Heraldry PDF (page 10) would tell you what you need to know about yellow/gold (sweet they have rules for same-sex marriage crests...https://www.college-of-arms.gov.uk/resources/same-sex-marriages, their wages are a joke and actually if you examine them are the same as they were in 1831 only translated from £Sd to Decimal, I'd much rather be a herald in Ireland than the UK); yes I know too much about the topic.


Honestly this is the only way to really test a book, to test what you know against it and then see where there are flaws and then determine if you trust the rest, I don't know any better.


It's not a bad read, a little dry in places but interesting to show how people of a different time lived.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2018-07-17 17:30
Reading progress update: I've read 174 out of 368 pages.
Behind Closed Doors: At Home in Georgian England - Amanda Vickery

Dear writer,


Yellow is known in Heraldry, it's what they call gold.  Of course you wouldn't colour a mundane shield in gold, you paint it yellow and your parchment would have gold, as it still does to this day, ditto for silver and white.  


Your friendly proto-herald who has apparently read too much on this topic.



You know what annoys me?  I have a 2:2 in History (this may be partially attributed to extreme exam anxiety, most of my college exams were sat in the college's sick room).  I graduated in 1994, I apparently know a lot more bits of history that are obscure to so many people, I still read history, and I know so many people with "better" degrees than mine who haven't read much in the topic in years and have forgotten most of it.


I really have to find a topic and write somethings about them.  I'm tired of yelling at the TV and books that haven't a clue.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2015-11-13 13:25
A look at life in Georgian England
Behind Closed Doors: At Home in Georgian England - Amanda Vickery

An Englishman's home, as the saying goes, may be his castle, but three hundred years ago it was becoming so much more. In the 18th century, the English home served as a place in which its inhabitants sought to define themselves through the use of décor. As more people socialized in their homes, their living spaces became venues in which their identity could be displayed for others to see for themselves. The emergence and development of this trend is the subject of Amanda Vickery's book, which analyzes the lives of the men and women of Georgian England by examining the homes in which they lived.


In studying Georgian homes, Vickery uses a number of different perspectives. Among her goals is the reintroduction of men into the picture, which she does most notably in her chapter on the homes of bachelors. Yet as she demonstrates, the furnishing and decoration of homes was predominantly a female concern, albeit one often handled in consultation with the men of the household. Such decisions were often mundane, and focused more on simple maintenance rather than grand refurbishment, but all of them reflected the interests of the participants and were shaped by the concept of "taste" that emerged during this period, which charted a path that increasing numbers were compelled to take.


Detailed, insightful, and well-written, Vickery's book offers a fascinating examination of life in Georgian England. Because of the limitations of her sources, it is by necessity an examination focused primarily on the upper classes, yet she succeeds in taking account books, ledgers, and other mundane sources to reconstruct their lives, showing the growing importance of home life and the weight contemporaries placed on defining their domestic environment. Her success in unearthing these details and bringing the Georgian world back to life makes this book a necessary read for anyone interested in 18th century England, one that will likely serve as an indispensable study of the subject for decades to come.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2014-12-29 20:35
Books I Read and REALLY Liked in 2014

I've been enjoying everyone's end of year summings up (in various fun forms) and thinking on making one of my own - and I couldn't quite come up with a way to rank anything. Which is I suppose what happens when you end up reading a variety of random things. Anyway, there's no order to this - except I have a particular fondness for the first book mentioned. History wins out this year, which isn't always the case.


Annoyingly all my favorite reads have also been the ones that I haven't written reviews for. (Except one!) But I think I can explain that! (There's a trend of laziness too, but we'll ignore that bit.)


[Jan 2, 2015: Since this has been linked at booklikes I thought I should add - a few of these are much more academic than others and have what I'd call "some dryer patches" reading-wise. Mad Madge in particular. I'll go into more detail when I review them, and add links to this. In this list I was more focused on how the book impacted me personally - I usually post more info as to readability in my reviews to give readers a head's up. Which is usually why I go quote-happy.]



Mad Madge: The Extraordinary Life of Margaret, Duchess of Newcastle, the First Woman to Live by Her Pen

by Katie Whitaker


This book was the perfect sort for the mood I was in - but it also requires a bit of backstory. So about a year ago I started the fun process of getting divorced, and it turns out that ends up effecting everything, even things you'd not thought over. Like what you enjoy reading.


Madge is Margaret Cavendish, and she gradually realizes that not only does she enjoy writing, but that it's important to her. And she wants to publish a book. Noble women of her day did NOT do this. They especially did not do this without asking their husbands first. Margaret did both. The author spends a good bit of text quoting what contemporary men and women felt about women authors (and educated women) - not much of which is positive. And because I've read enough fiction, this looked like the ol' set up of Woman Tells Husband Her Big Secret and He Reacts Badly. (I always have hated the Big Misunderstanding/Disagreement trope.) Here's the fun part - in reality William Cavendish was not upset, and in fact was extremely proud of his wife and wents on to brag about her to anyone and everyone he knew (and some no doubt rolled their eyes a good deal). Theirs was also a love match, and there's a chapter that's full of some of the love poems he wrote to her.

Read more
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2014-10-14 21:51
Because I'm Still Laughing at Myself on This One
Behind Closed Doors: At Home in Georgian England - Amanda Vickery

Have been looking at my shelf of Books I've Read But Need to Review, and this book is going to amuse me when I finally figure out how to review it. Because the problem will be not to natter on and on about the things I found delightful. I was expecting to enjoy the references to women and crafts of the Georgian period - seriously, if you've not seen some of the fascinating things that were done with shells and paper cutting - here, I must link:


Mary Delany - her wiki page, and I'm completely biased about her art, which there isn't enough of online. Besides intricate needlework and shellwork decoration, she was known for her paper "flower mosaics" (her words for them). (More bio here in this article at the Independent from 2010.) Oh and I forgot to mention, she began her career as a cut paper artist in her 70s.


Passifloria laurifolia, by Mary Delany - a page at the British Museum website, look at the enlarged version and realize that she cut that entirely out of paper. She was so good at making these paper artworks that botonists would send her samples of exotic flowers for her to copy. This was also an era where you couldn't just order up paper in specific colors.


Physalis, Winter Cherry, by Mary Delany - another paper cut flower, British Museum


Art + Botony: Mrs. Delany's Floral Collage - a couple of other photos of her flowers here at Garden Design


Shell Grottos of Mrs. Delany - because it's really hard to find photos of shellwork home decor from this period, here's a blog post at The Peak of Chic that sums up the style with nice visuals. Though the shell work is mainly that of Jane and Mary Parminter (I blogged about them last Nov. here).


Shellcraft - at the Conchological Society of Great Britain and Ireland, in case you still want more shell info. The reason you won't find too many remnants is the same reason with any cultural fad - once it fell out of favor most of it was removed so someone could redecorate. Which is only sad in that there's now not a lot of visual documentation of it all - you can probably imagine how this sort of thing could be overdone and  kitchy/tacky, depending on the shellcrafter. I'll cheat and quote only the bit about Delany:

"...A famous practioner of shell ornamentation was Mary Delany born in 1700, but it was not until about 1734, following her second marriage, that she developed a passion for collecting shells.  At Delville, her Dublin home, she made shell decorated frames, decorated a chandelier and the walls of a room which was used as a chapel.  She also made festoons of flowers to imitate stucco work to decorate the ceilings and arches of the chapel."


Book recommendations: Mrs. Delany and her Circle by Mark Laird, which introduced me to her, and has lots of lovely photos. (And somehow it's not in my shelves here, odd.) I only just bought The Paper Garden by Molly Peacock, so I can't recommend it yet. And there's another book by Ruth Hayden (Mrs Delany: her life and her flowers) that I need to dig up as well. So if you're interested, start with those and branch out!


...So er, once I was talking about that book review I'm going to write, remember? (Fear me, I am the queen of off-tangent asides! I promise I do not do this in normal human conversations.) Originally I was going to share specifically what I was worried about nattering on over. The subject: wallpaper. In Vickery's 300 page book that's packed with all sorts of historical stories and facts I can't get the chapter on wallpaper out of my head. I may end up writing a post just about that, to try and explain why it's still fascinating. Hint: it mostly has to do with Georgian customer service letters, and how much you can learn about people just from business records. See, that sounds dull! But it wasn't! ...Or that could just be me.


Anyway, I'll work on the more seasonal reviews before going into all that. So back to looking at the Halloweenish-type review fodder...

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?