"Oscar Wilde’s long-suffering wife is supposed to be buried in Italy. So what’s her gravestone doing in a cemetery in Spain, and who lies under it?" [more inside]
Songs of the Victorians is a website about four songs composed in Victorian England. The history behind them reveals forgotten details of the era: Juanita was composed by Caroline Norton, a pioneering feminist; The Lost Chord was a poem by Adelaide Anne Procter first published in a feminist journal, then set to music by (yes that) Arthur Sullivan; a part of Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem Maud, which employs the cryptographical language of flowers, is set to music by Michael William Balfe and Sir Arthur Somervell, the former allowing performers to disguise or emphasize the disturbed emotions of the original, the latter makes the mental distress plain. The website was designed by digital humanities blogger and professor Joanna Swafford as a prototype for Augmented Notes, a system for highlighting sheet music visually while playing a sound file.
Charles Dickens (of previously, previously, previously, &c.) was, of course, a novelist. But he was also a journalist and editor, most importantly of Household Words (1850-59) and All the Year Round (1859-70; continued until 1893). As in many Victorian periodicals, the articles in All the Year Round appeared anonymously, meaning that later scholars have had to piece together (and guess at) authorship using correspondence, stylistic comparisons, and so forth. Well, until now. [more inside]
"Parlors, “dining chambers,” and other spaces amenable to dining began appearing in architecture plans. Each nation seemed to have its own idea as to what constituted a proper dining room. The great Renaissance architect Leon Battista Alberti wrote that it “should be entered off the bosom of the house,” advising further that, “[a]s use demands, there should be [a dining room] for summer, one for winter, and one for middling seasons.” Some two centuries later Englishman William Sanderson would recommend that a “Dyning-Roome” be hung with pictures of kings and queens." The Austerity Kitchen presents A Short History Of The Dining Room Part 1 / Part 2.
Where most other naturalists took samples, she used her paints to make a "unique snapshot of the world’s natural habitat more than 100 years ago." Although she didn't take up oil painting until she was nearly 40, North became a prolific painter of flora (and sometimes fauna) from around the world, often capturing not just the plant but the landscape around it. [more inside]
"He would sit in this most incredible bath that had a swan-necked mythological figure with a with a lady of his choice, not with water in it, but with champagne in it, and I guess they would both sit there and listen to the sound of his father spinning in his grave.” - on King Edward VII and his voracious appetites, and his favorite mistress, Daisy Warwick. [more inside]
Welcome to the history cookbook. Do you know what the Vikings ate for dinner? What a typical meal of a wealthy family in Roman Britain consisted of, or what food was like in a Victorian Workhouse? Why not drop into history cookbook and find out? [more inside]
Smiling Victorians is a collection of photos of smiling Victorian (and Edwardian!) people. And one photo of the Victorianest smile of all!
The Victorian Web is your one-stop resource for England in the Victorian era (1837-1901). The site is much too extensive to give but a flavor. It is divided into 20 categories, including Technology, Gender Matters, Economic Contexts, Authors, Political History, Theater and Popular Entertainment, Science and Genre and Technique. Here are a few examples of the articles inside: Inventions in Alice in Wonderland, The Role of the Victorian Army, Earth Yenneps: Victorian Back Slang (and a glossary of same), Algernon Charles Swinburne and the Philosophy of Androgyny, Hermaphrodeity, and Victorian Sexual Mores, Evolution, progress and natural laws and, of course, Queen Victoria.
900 caricatures of noted Victorian and Edwardian personages from British society magazine Vanity Fair which ran from 1868 to 1914. Among those pictured are Oscar Wilde, Benjamin Disraeli, Herman Melville, Alfred Dreyfus, Teddy Roosevelt, Gustave Eiffel and Charles Boycott (from whose name comes the word). A couple are mildly not safe for work, a few quite racist, as was the prevalent attitude of the time, and at least one is both.
I have always thought that there is no more fruitful source of family discontent than a housewife’s badly-cooked dinners and untidy ways.
Victorian Secrets of Washington, D.C.: haunting photos and thoughtful essays documenting one man's fight to draw attention to D.C.'s neglected architectural heritage: "This site won't be much of a beauty pagent because we 'll concentrate on buildings that are vacant, abandoned, deteriorated, distressed, or just plain at risk because they are standing in the path of development . . . if even one Victorian finds an angel because of our page, we'll consider it a thousand percent return on investment."