Dreadpunk feels like a perfectly natural term for the recent trend in Gothic-inspired horror and fantasy. Typified by the popular series Penny Dreadful, the word implies a subversive take on fog-drenched Victoriana, tales of the supernatural mixed with late 19th-century aesthetics, and the recent wave of Gothic horror like The Woman In Black and Crimson Peak.
The Avery Needle Case Resource Center is your comprehensive source for information about brass needle cases created by the W. Avery & Son company between 1868 and 1890. [more inside]
Victorian mourning dress embodies black history
"Vancouver artist Karin Jones has made a powerful installation about black history at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.It’s a braided black Victorian mourning dress made from artificial hair extensions used by black women. Surrounding the dress on the floor are cotton bolls that contain the artist’s hair. I’ve only seen images the work online. Even so, I found myself really moved by the way it uses beauty to embody painful truths about slavery and the history of people of African descent in North America."
Established in 1814 by founding curator, the Danish botanist Nathanial Wallich at the premises of The Asiatic Society, the Indian Museum of Calcutta* is the oldest museum in Asia and the 9th oldest in the world. Referred to as a "museum of museums", considered outdated and obsolete, its Victorian Era majesty dimmed by modernization, the grande dame of Indian history still manages evoke paeans to its otherworldly wonders:
With collections to rival the Smithsonian and the British Museums, it isn't just a storehouse of countless artifacts from the world over. The building seems to be a tiny world, an island in the midst of a busy street. The tall gates with their spikes are the doorways to different recorded ages. All those entering through the high steps are travelers in a time machine. But this is not all that Kolkata's Jadughar or "House of Magic" has to offer. Its jadu lies in the magic with which it houses portions of man's past. The high ceilings seem to stretch to infinity. Amid the silence there is vibrant life. Showcasing essential elements of different cultures, the dark, often dank, interiors show up the objects more sharply. Gradually the eyes grow used to the absence of light; the smell seems natural. It is this ambience that gently draws you in and makes the textbook history we are used to, a tangible living reality.It remains a wonderful time-warp with plenty of mangy-looking stuffed animals, fish and birds, together with fossils so beloved of Victorian collectors, as well as fascinating Indian friezes, bas-reliefs and stone carvings and art.
Brooklyn-based Tools for Working Wood are in the process of weekly reprinting every single issue of Work: An Illustrated Magazine of Practice and Theory on their blog, having just finished the first year. The original magazine's first issue was published March 23rd, 1889, and the blog is republishing 123 years after the original. [more inside]
Sheltered and Safe from Sorrow: Victorian mourning rituals, tombstones, epitaphs, and other creepy things
Do you like vintage needlework? The Antique Pattern Library is a collection of scanned craft books that are in the public domain. They contain patterns for crochet, knitting, tatting, netting, embroidery, needle lace, beading, and other crafts. See also Home Work, a Choice Collection of Useful Designs for the Crochet and Knitting Needle, and Beeton's Book of Needlework. If vintage instructions aren't your thing, try lace edgings from 1846 updated for the modern knitter.
The Victorian Dictionary: A motley collection of primary source documents and reference materials about Victorian London by historical thriller author Lee Jackson. Read the 1841 Census, browse peroid advertisements, zoom in on the 1881 Pocket Guide to London or just learn some dirty words.
The Visual Erotics of Mini-Marriages. The appeal of tiny nuptials between children, stuffed kittens, and other small, cute things. [via]
Jess Nevins, obsessive cataloguer of Victorian science fantasy, early-twentieth-century pulp, and forties-era superheroes (all links Geocities) and annotator of certain reference-dense comics, weighs in with an opinionated overview of Han Empire science fiction. (Note: Enjrolasworld hosts several more comic series annotations, including the Sandman annotations previously discussed here.)
I LOVE SHREDDED WHEAT: A collectible site for The shredded Wheat Company, niagara Falls, NY - and its predecessors and successors - [A collectors’ Site, with no connection to any corporation]
1837! Victorian England is being terrorised by a bouncing marauder! Who could this masked pervert be? Was he a Lord? Was he a striped stuffed animal? Was he the 19th Century Batman? A Ska band? Why no! It's Spring Heeled Jack, scourge of the rooftops of London, Engerland...(A little pre-Halloween scare for you and a break from Election tedium for those of you requiring one)
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."