The South Carolina Region of the Jane Austen Society of North America and the Bluffton Library present:
March 25, 2023, 2 – 4 pm
Bluffton Library Free and open to the public / Light refreshments served
“Tally-Ho! Horses and Fox-Hunting in Jane Austen’s England”
Jane Austen and her contemporaries were all familiar with the sport of fox hunting, whether they “rode to hounds” themselves or watched the action from the sidelines. The sport was integral to rural English communities and social interactions, and drew participation from all strata of English society. Mounted fox hunting had practical origins — foxes preyed on poultry, sheep, and cattle, so farmers were happy to be rid of them — and evolved over time into a major social and sporting activity. Rich in tradition, the sport continues around the globe, with active hunts in almost every state in the US.
Carol Lobdell, a Bluffton resident, has been an equestrian for more than 25 years and is a fox hunter herself. She has ridden with more than a dozen different hunts, including three in England. She will discuss the origins and development of the sport, its meaning and role in English society in the Regency years, and the sport’s activities today.
Questions? Call the Bluffton Library 843-255-6503.
When: Saturday, November 5, 2022, 2:00 – 4:00 pm What: Talk on “Gender and the Decorative Arts in Jane Austen’s Novels” with Kristen Miller Zohn* Where: Bluffton Library, 120 Palmetto Way, Bluffton, SC
During the Georgian period, women and men alike had a great interest in architecture, interior design, and fashion, and there was an expectation that the concepts of femininity and masculinity would be reflected in these spheres. This slide lecture will present images of decorative arts, interior design, and clothing to explore how those that are presented in Austen’s novels speak to the roles of women and men in her era.
*Kristen Miller Zohn is the Curator of Collections and Exhibitions at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art in Lauren, Mississippi, as well as the Executive Director of the Costume Society of America.
Please RSVP: jasnavermont [at] gmail.com or the Bluffton Library, 843-255-6503
The auction goes until this Friday October 22, 2021 at 12:00 pm EDT
1. Late nineteenth-century, wooden writing slope with mother-of-pearl detail. English. When closed: 8½ x 12 x 4¾ inches. (Est. $250)
2. Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility, in Richard Bentley’s “Standard Novels and Romances” series (London, 1846). In original trade binding, stamped with “2/6” on spine. Extremely rare. (Est. $650-1000)
“It is amazing to me,” said Bingley, “how young ladies can have patience to be so very accomplished as they all are.”
“All young ladies accomplished! My dear Charles, what do you mean?”
“Yes, all of them, I think. They all paint tables, cover screens, and net purses. I scarcely know any one who cannot do all this, and I am sure I never heard a young lady spoken of for the first time, without being informed that she was very accomplished.”
“Your list of the common extent of accomplishments,” said Darcy, “has too much truth. The word is applied to many a woman who deserves it no otherwise than by netting a purse or covering a screen. But I am very far from agreeing with you in your estimation of ladies in general. I cannot boast of knowing more than half a dozen, in the whole range of my acquaintance, that are really accomplished.”
“Nor I, I am sure,” said Miss Bingley.
“Then,” observed Elizabeth, “you must comprehend a great deal in your idea of an accomplished woman.”
“Yes, I do comprehend a great deal in it.”
“Oh! certainly,” cried his faithful assistant, “no one can be really esteemed accomplished who does not greatly surpass what is usually met with. A woman must have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, and the modern languages, to deserve the word; and besides all this, she must possess a certain something in her air and manner of walking, the tone of her voice, her address and expressions, or the word will be but half deserved.”
“All this she must possess,” added Darcy, “and to all this she must yet add something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading.”
“I am no longer surprised at your knowing only six accomplished women. I rather wonder now at your knowing any.”
“Are you so severe upon your own sex as to doubt the possibility of all this?”
“I never saw such a woman. I never saw such capacity, and taste, and application, and elegance, as you describe united.”
[Pride & Prejudice, Vol. 1, Ch. 8]
And so, to truly understand what Mr. Darcy is driving at, to understand anything about Jane Austen’s world, you need to study this quite formidable lady, if indeed such a one existed! – and there is no better book on the subject than Noël Riley’s The Accomplished Lady: A History of Genteel Pursuits c.1660-1860(Oblong, 2017).
“This is a study of the skills and pastimes of upper-class women and the works they produced during a 200-year period. These activities included watercolours, printmaking and embroidery, shell work, rolled and cut paper work, sand painting, wax flower modelling, painting on fabrics and china, leather work, japanning, silhouettes, photography and many other activities, some familiar and others little known.
The context for these activities sets the scene: the general position of women in society and the constraints on their lives, their virtues and values, marriage, domestic life and education. This background is amplified with chapters on other aspects of women’s experience, such as sport, reading, music, dancing and card-playing.”[from the book jacket].
Table of Contents:
1. A Woman’s Lot 2. Educating a Lady 3. Reading and Literary Pursuits [my favorite chapter] 4. Cards, Indoor Games and Theatricals 5. The Sporting Lady 6. Dancing and Public Entertainment 7. Music 8. Embroidery 9. Threads and Ribbons 10. Beadwork 11. Shellwork 12. Nature into Art 13. Paperwork 14. Drawing and Painting 15. Creativity with Paints and Prints 16. Japanning 17. Penwork 18. Silhouettes 19. Photography and the Victorian Lady 20. Sculpture, Carving, Turning and Metalwork 21. Toys and Trifles.
Includes extensive notes, an invaluable bibliography of primary and secondary sources, and an index.
I have mentioned before that in collecting Jane Austen, you will often go off into necessary tangents to learn about her Life and Times – this can take you in any number of directions, but understanding the Domestic Arts of the Regency period is an absolute must – and there are MANY books on the subject, cookery alone could fill shelves. But here in this one book we find a lavishly illustrated, impeccably researched study of all the possible activities a lady of leisure [no cookery for My Lady] can get herself caught up in….whether she becomes accomplished or not is beyond our knowing, but certainly Mr. Darcy would find at least ONE lady in these pages who might meet his strict requirements, despite Elizabeth’s doubting rant.
It is always a worthwhile effort to check the index of every book you pick up to see if Jane Austen gets a mention. And here we are not disappointed – Austen shows up on many pages, and five of her six novels are cited in the bibliography – all but Persuasion for some odd reason – one would think Anne Elliot’s skills at the pianoforte would have merited a mention?
This image of page 165 quotes Austen about patchwork when she writes to Cassandra on 31 May 1811:“Have you remembered to collect peices for the Patchwork?”
So, let’s stop to think about the varied accomplishments of Austen’s many female characters…anyone want to comment and give a shout out to your own favorite and her accomplishments / or lack thereof? Is anyone up to Mr. Darcy’s standards?
You Are Cordially Invited to JASNA-Vermont’s Annual Jane Austen Birthday Tea!
December approaches and our thoughts turn to…Jane Austen’s Birthday and Tea!
This is just a reminder that the annual Jane Austen Birthday Tea is coming up on December 8 at the Essex Resort and Spa. There will be Food! Dancing! Jane Austen’s Proposals!
Here are the details:
December 8, 2019
The Essex Resort and Spa
70 Essex Way, Essex Junction, VT
$35 for Members / $40 for Non-members / $15 for Students (w/ID)
The afternoon will include:
Full English Tea with finger sandwiches, assortment of sweets, scones, and, of course, tea,
English Country Dancing for all who would like to, no experience necessary, taught and led by the illustrious Val Medve,
A talk by Deb Barnum and Hope Greenberg on “Proposals in Jane Austen: ‘What did she say?… Just what she ought'” – enlivened with a visual journey through these scenes as played out in the various Austen film adaptations,
and, good company—no, the “best company” with “clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation.”
Regency dress is encouraged but not required!
Please click here for the reservation form: Dec Tea 2019-Reservation form-final and send it with your payment to the address noted on the form. Registration closes on November 23.
Just a few things of interest from the past few weeks, internet-surfing taking a back seat to Life… a few exhibitions, a bit about Bunnies, Shakespeare’s wife and her “second best bed.,” a few new books of note, the Bluestockings, a ton of reading from Women’s History month, and Jane Austen and drinking…
Here’s my favorite, about Shakespeare’s wife Anne Hathaway:
Anne Hathaway – maybe – wikipedia
“Anne Hathaway” – by Carol Ann Duffy
‘Item I gyve unto my wief my second best bed…’ (from Shakespeare’s will)
The bed we loved in was a spinning world
of forests, castles, torchlight, cliff-tops, seas
where he would dive for pearls. My lover’s words
were shooting stars which fell to earth as kisses
on these lips; my body now a softer rhyme
to his, now echo, assonance; his touch
a verb dancing in the centre of a noun.
Some nights I dreamed he’d written me, the bed
a page beneath his writer’s hands. Romance
and drama played by touch, by scent, by taste.
In the other bed, the best, our guests dozed on,
dribbling their prose. My living laughing love –
I hold him in the casket of my widow’s head
as he held me upon that next best bed.
Some interesting news in the world of Calvin Coolidge: an eyewitness account to his swearing in as President in the early morning of August 3, 1923 in Plymouth, VT, this account from Coolidge’s chauffeur Joseph M. McInerney. His memoir “As I Remember” was recently acquired by the Vermont Historical Society’s Leahy Library: you can read the full document of 11 pages online here:
(scroll down below the comments to see the photographs)
Virginia Woolf’s Hogarth Press
For Women’s History Month, the 31 daily posts on women involved in bibliography – historical printers, librarians, cataloguers, and archivists – that were posted on the twitter and facebook pages of the Women in Book History Bibliography website, are all now available on the website: “Why It Matters: Teaching Women Bibliographers” by Kate Ozment. Scroll down to read all 31 profiles – fascinating!
PW is first to report that, five days after receiving the manuscript, Atria’s Daniella Wexler preempted a debut historical novel,
Brontë’s Mistress by Finola Austin, based on the true, heretofore untold story of Lydia Robinson and her affair with Branwell Brontë. According to the publisher, “the novel gives voice to the courageous, flawed, complex woman slandered in Elizabeth Gaskell’s The Life of Charlotte Brontë as the ‘wicked’ elder seductress who corrupted the young Brontë brother, driving him to an early grave and bringing on the downfall of the entire Brontë family.” Danielle Egan-Miller at Browne & Miller negotiated the deal for world English and audio rights.
Austen biographer Claire Harman has a new book out: Murder by the Book: The Crime That Shocked Dickens’s London “the fascinating, little-known story of a Victorian-era murder that rocked literary London, leading Charles Dickens, William Thackeray, and Queen Victoria herself to wonder: Can a novel kill?” (how about Ulysses??)
A new book out which every Jane Austen book club should have!
Gin Austen: 50 Cocktails to Celebrate the Novels of Jane Austen, Colleen Mullaney shares drink recipes inspired by the novels and characters of Jane Austen. Mullaney also digs into the history of drinks that were popular during Austen’s time, like flips, juleps, toddies, shrubs and sours, and gives tips on methods to prepare them and what vessels to serve them in.
“In Austen’s 1814 novel Mansfield Park, Fanny Price outgrows her childlike timidness and becomes a modest, morally just, beautiful young woman. After enduring the rudeness of her aunt Norris, the demands of her aunt Bertram and the disdain of her cousins, she finally finds love with the dashing [?!!!] son of Sir Thomas of Mansfield Park. After all of that, who would not have need of something light and refreshing?
Host your next book club gathering with a fun drinking game and a pitcher of Fanny’s Folly, a cocktail inspired by Fanny Price.
Here’s how to play: After reading the same novel, all players should watch a movie version of the story and drink as follows:
A character comes galloping up or goes rushing off on horseback: 1 sip
A mention of marriage: 1 sip
A display of haughty independence: 2 sips
A declaration of love: 2 sips
A display of marriageable skills (foreign languages, playing the piano or harp, singing, dancing or embroidery): 2 sips
A proposal of marriage: finish your drink
Any player exclaims, “That’s not how it happened in the book!”: finish your drink and refill everyone else’s
And finally, break open your piggy bank for this first edition of Sense & Sensibility:
Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility anonymously issued as “By a Lady” in 1811, was her first published novel. Presented as a triple-decker in an edition of about a thousand copies, the three volumes offered are in olive drab half calf. From the Estate of Frances “Peggy” Brooks, it is a sound set, and quite scarce in a period binding (est. $30,000-40,000). At Doyle’s April 17, 2019 (tomorrow!!): https://doyle.com/auctions/19bp01-rare-books-autographs-maps/rare-books-autographs-maps
Two databases that focus on Women Writers are FREE during the whole month of March:
Orlando: the subscription service Orlando:Women’s Writing in the British Isles from the Beginnings to the Present will be available free for all through the month of March for Women’s History Month: http://orlando.cambridge.org/svHomePage
Here is the login information: (no caps, no spaces)
The Women Writers Online collection includes more than 400 texts written and translated by women, first published between 1526 and 1850 (no login info required: you can search and read the texts in the collection at: http://wwo.wwp.northeastern.edu/WWO
The Private Case is an historic collection of erotica segregated from the main British (Museum) Library collection on grounds of obscenity from the 1850s onwards in a moral climate of suppression and censorship. Now much of the work has been digitized for all the world to see (subscription through Gale or in the Reading Room of the British Library).
Then there’s the scene in North and South with Margaret and John Thornton meeting at the Great Exhibition and where she first sees the respect with which he is held by others (and always nice to have a reason to post a pic with Richard Armitage…)
“North and South” – the visit to the Great Exhibition
Here Begynneth A Lytell Geste of Robin Hood… Being A General and True History of the Lives and Robberies of the Most Notorious Highwaymen, Rogues, Cheats, Murderers and Rebel Leaders from the Medieval Period to the 19th Century
Lady Katherine Ferrers (1634-1660) – do you think Jane Austen had her in mind when creating her Fanny Ferrars Dashwood (the sneaky thief of inheritances)?? Or perhaps that’s where Mrs. Ferrars money came from?
Happy reading! What has been your favorite internet find this week?
This week finds me jumping from Jane Austen’s sister-in-law Fanny Austen, to crazy bibliophiles, Rossetti’s wombats, the Coloring craze, Princess Margaret, and on to London, muons (whatever they are…), and more of course – it’s a mad world of information out there…
A new website and blog by Sheila Johnson Kindred, where she will explore Jane Austen’s naval world. Kindred is the author of Jane Austen’s Transatlantic Sister: The Life and Letters of Fanny Palmer Austen: https://www.sheilajohnsonkindred.com/
-which led me to this: https://franceswolfrestonhorbouks.com/, a blog by Sarah Lindenbaum, who is seeking to reconstruct the book collection of Frances Wolfreston (1607-1677), a gentrywoman from the English midlands with an expansive library; over 200 books have been identified thus far.
A new chamber in the Great Pyramid? If you know what a “muon” is, you might know that the use of muon technology has revealed an as yet undiscovered chamber in the Great Pyramid, where remaining treasures may lie: https://blog.oup.com/2019/02/power-mysterious-muon/
Here’s a bit of a head-scratcher: with thanks to Tony Grant:
The article shows a letter from Jane Austen to Cassandra that Ms. Watson has transcribed; but she states: “You can actually see how they have changed their manuscript – how Jane Austen changed Pride and Prejudice as she’s writing it… That blows my mind a bit. You see it, and you think – that’s so much better after she’s edited it than before.”
Well, I’m sorry but as far as I know there are no manuscripts of Pride and Prejudice, or any of the other 5 novels other than the cancelled chapters of Persuasion – so this is very interesting if she has been transcribing a P&P manuscript??
An 1800 letter from Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra
“Dorothea’s Daughter is a stunning new collection of short stories based on novels by Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, and Thomas Hardy. They are postscripts, rather than sequels, entering into dialogues with the original narratives by developing suggestions in the text. The authors’ conclusions are respected, with no changes made to the plot; instead, Barbara Hardy draws out loose threads in the original fabric to weave new material, imagining moments in the characters’ future lives.”
The stories are:
Twilight in Mansfield Parsonage (Mansfield Park by Jane Austen)
Mrs Knightley’s Invitation (Emma by Jane Austen)
Adèle Varens (Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë)
Lucy Snowe and Paulina Bretton: the Conversation of Women (Villette by Charlotte Brontë)
Edith Dombey and Son (Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens)
Harriet Beadle’s Message (Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens)
Lucy Deane (The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot)
Dorothea’s Daughter (Middlemarch by George Eliot)
’Liza-Lu Durbeyfield (Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy)
Has anyone read this? It was first published in 2011. I’ve just ordered it and will let you know my thoughts…
Thanks for visiting… and Happy Reading…
ps: just a note as to why I leave in the full url of each link: if an imbedded link goes bad or far off into cyberspace, it is easier to find it if you have the details in the url – it doesn’t look as pretty, sorry to say, but more helpful in the end..
It is really rather churlish of me to post about an exhibit that is no longer there – give you a sample of something you can’t anywhere find the full feast – but so I shall do because the exhibit closed right after I went and then the holidays intervened. But with the permission of the Collections Manager at the Fleming Museum at the University of Vermont, I shall show you several of the fashions that were on display at their recent “The Impossible Ideal: Victorian Fashion and Femininity” which ran from September 21 – December 4, 2018.
All the fashions are part of the Fleming’s collection and not usually on display. The exhibition of clothing and accessories, along with excerpts from popular American women’s magazines (Godey’s Lady’s Book and Peterson’s Magazine), explores “how fashion embodied the many contradictions of Victorian women’s lives, and, eventually, the growing call for more diverse definitions of women’s roles and identities.”
It is not a large exhibition, but each gown or corset has its own story: the fabric and accessory details, the history of the wearer, and how it reflected the times in Victorian Vermont. We see the changes during this “Victorian era’s ‘cult of domesticity’ and the idea that women’s place was in the home and not in the public sphere,” to later in the century, “when sleeker skirts, broader shoulders, lighter fabrics, and suit styles gave women greater freedom of movement reflecting increasing autonomy.” [Quoted text from the Fleming Newsletter, Fall 2018].
It is interesting to see the Victorian shift from the Regency era’s flowing and revealing dresses and wonder how women ever let that happen!
I will show you here some of my favorites: I’d like to hear which is your favorite from this small sample…
printed floral cotton with silk taffeta trim and embroidered buttons; a loosely-fitted at-home dress usually worn at breakfast
Have you always wondered why the Victorians had such a penchant for plaid? See below for some further reading on the subject…
White Wedding Dress, 1857:
off-white damasked silk taffeta with gold silk-fringe. Tradition has it that the trend to wear white for weddings began with
Queen Victoria’s wedding in 1840
– but in reality, white was only used by the wealthiest of brides.
Ball Gown, 1860:
cream moiré silk taffeta with floral damask and trimmings in satin and lace
*Wedding Skirt (1865) and Afternoon Bodice (altered early 1870s): yellow and green striped silk taffeta. This is a prime example of how even the wealthiest of women would have adapted their clothes to reflect fashion crazes or bodily changes.
Princess Cut Dress, c1870s:
purple silk taffeta with silk organza trim. The cuirass bodice, named for the chest piece on medieval armor was the latest fashion craze. And by the late 1850s, synthetic chemical dyes began to replace vegetable-based dyes, allowing for brighter, longer-lasting colors – and not entirely safe, as some of the dyes contained arsenic!
Opera or “Fancy Dress” Gown, 1875:
aubergine silk velvet, satin brocade bobbin lace, glass beads and tortoise-shell buttons,
and absolutely stunning in real life! (hard not to touch…)
Blue dress worn at UVM graduation in 1878:
silk taffeta with mother-of-pearl buttons
The University of Vermont began accepting women in 1871and in 1875 was the first American University of admit women into the honor society Phi Beta Kappa. This dress was worn by Ellen Miller Johnson (1856-1938) of Burlington Vermont – she majored in Classical Courses and graduated with the fourth co-educational class in 1878, one of three women in a class of seventeen.
Two-Piece Traveling Wedding Dress, 1885:
garnet silk satin with dark purple velvet and white bobbin lace, and I confess this to be my favorite – who can resist garnet and purple!
Two-Piece Suit-Style Dress, 1895:
black and red textured silk with white bobbin lace. The beginnings of a more masculine-mode of dress
Riding Habit, c1900:
brown wool broadcloth with black silk satin
And we cannot forget about the all-important unmentionables:
with a Brattleboro, VT advertisement from Brasnahan & Sullivan:
Which obviously gave the publisher this idea for a Persuasion cover (having literally nothing to do with the story but it’s worth a chuckle…)
And a few hats and shoes to finish off this exhibition:
All photos c2018 Deborah Barnum; with my thanks to Margaret Tamulonis, Manager of Collections and Exhibitions at the Fleming Museum, for permission to publish these images. If you have any interest in knowing more about a particular dress and who wore it, please ask me in a comment.