Tag Archives: 1840s

Jane Eyre: ‘…utter solitude and leafless repose…’

16 Nov

This is a fragment from the book Jane Eyre which is very dear to me and is very fitting for this time of the year, so I thought why not share it. It describes Jane’s walk not long after she arrives at Thornfield Hall, and before she meets Mr Rochester.

jane-eyre-solitude

It was three o’clock; the church bell tolled as I passed under the belfry: the charm of the hour lay in its approaching dimness, in the low-gliding and pale-beaming sun.  I was a mile from Thornfield, in a lane noted for wild roses in summer, for nuts and blackberries in Autumn, and even now possessing a few coral treasures in hips and haws, but whose best winter delight lay in its utter solitude and leafless repose.  If a breath of air stirred, it made no sound here; for there was not a holly, not an evergreen to rustle, and the stripped hawthorn and hazel bushes were as still as the white, worn stones which causewayed the middle of the path.

—Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
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Romantic Martyrs – Joan of Arc and Lady Jane Grey

26 May

Artists of Romanticism showed a particular interest in history; they idealised it and drew inspiration from it. Their escapism and rose-tinted visions of the Middle ages and Tudor era produced some of the finest portraits of historical events – executions to be precise.

1843. Joan of Arc's Death at the Stake - Hermann Anton StilkeHermann Anton Stilke, Joan of Arc’s Death at the Stake, 1843

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My interest in Joan of Arc sparked only after I heard Morrissey singing about her in the song Bigmouth Strikes Again from The Smiths’ album The Queen is Dead (1986). In the song, he identifies his own social faux pas with the fate of poor Joan of Arc who gave her life for the idea. Listening to Morrissey’s high-pitched voice in the background singing Now I know how Joan of Arc felt gives me goose bumps every single time.

And now I know how Joan of Arc felt
Now I know how Joan of Arc felt
As the flames rose to her Roman nose
And her Walkman started to melt

I was crazy about this song in last October and I thought these were the coolest lyrics ever, I still do. They stayed etched in my mind for days and weeks, and somehow, for the good or bad, drew my attention to Joan of Arc as a historical figure. Romanticists drew inspiration from history, particularly the Medieval times which they idealised because it was a radically different time than the one they lived in, and because it was a time period seen as ‘barbaric’ and highly disliked by the 18th century thinkers. Romanticists were rebels after all, and what appealed to them about the Medieval era were: “…stained glass in soaring cathedrals, tales of Robin Hood and his merry men, and–above all–the old tales of King Arthur and the knights of the round table“(source).

Joan of Arc, merely nineteen years old when they burned her at the stake, possessed such courage and idealism that she seems to have been a figment of imagination of some romantic poet rather than a real human being. This painting is part of a triptych painted in 1843 by a German painter Hermann Anton Stilke, well known for painting religious and romantic themes. In typical romantic manner, Stilke diminished the brutal aspect of her death and emphasised her spirituality. Her gaze is directed to the sky as she waits for the agony to end. Ominous sky, painted in dark blue shades, is pervaded with threatening clouds – the ‘skies are in accusation steaming’ (Shelley) and lamenting the death of this poor ‘maid of Orleans’.

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1833. The Execution of Lady Jane Grey by Paul Delaroche a

The Execution of Lady Jane Grey by Paul Delaroche, 1833

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Unfortunate life and death of Lady Jane Grey, also known as the Nine-day Queen, was another subject that appealed to romantic sensibilities in the first half of the 19th century. I was charmed by Lady Jane; an intelligent, well-read, but somewhat timid and self-sacrificing sixteen year old girl, ever since I watched the film ‘Lady Jane’ (1986) starring Helena Bonham Carter. In the film, Jane proclaims that ‘learning is her only pleasure‘ and she also says: “I would die to free our people of chains of bigotry and superstition“. The latter is quite a confident remark for a sixteen year old girl, but she was a devout protestant and that proved to be her undoing. Much of the film is romanticised, but so is the painting ‘The Execution of Lady Jane Grey’ by Paul Delaroche.

The painting shows the young Lady Jane just moments before her execution. She’s blindfolded, desperately stretching her hands to reach the block of wood – final resting for that pretty witty head. Delaroche painted her as a little romantic virginal maiden; in white bodice and satin petticoat, her hands porcelain white, her hair golden. In reality, the event must have been bleak and sad. Her last words were: “Lord, into thy hands I commend my spirit!” I wonder what thoughts crossed her mind as she place her head on the block, waiting for her death to come. Seems like her ‘sweet sixteen’ didn’t end so sweet after all. I suppose that’s her greatest legacy, her devotion to protestantism, her integrity and willingness to stick to her ideas, despite being punished for it. Just like Joan of Arc, she was an idealist who sacrificed her life for the greater good.

Death was particularly attractive a subject for painters and poets of Romanticism. Not that much is known about Lady Jane’s life, not even her exact date of birth, and since her reign was short, she’s not politically important. So, naturally, artists were drawn towards the subject of her execution. Still, how come nobody painted her sitting by the window and reading a book, or, on the day of her wedding?

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Margaret Sarah Carpenter – Theobald Sisters

12 May

There are two reasons why I decided to write about this female Victorian painter. Firstly, she was active in the 1840s, and her paintings match the aesthetics of my story. Secondly, she painted in the manner of Sir Thomas Lawrence, and I really admire his portraits.

1840. Miss Theobald - Margaret Sarah Carpenter1840. Miss Theobald (1825-1841) by Margaret Sarah Carpenter

Margaret Sarah Carpenter (née Geddes) was born in 1793, in the city whose cathedral has been immortalised by the Romantic painter John Constable – Salisbury. Although fairly unknown today, Margaret was a renowned painter in her time. She was taught art at an early age by a local drawing-master, and her first art studies were those of a Longford Castle. In 1814, Margaret moved to London where her reputation as a fashionable portrait painter was soon established.

Miss Carpenter painted in the manner of Thomas Lawrence, but her portraits have a more feminine and fanciful aura around them. Delicacy and wistful nature of her sitters is probably what allures me the most. I’ll take the portrait of ‘Miss Theobald‘ for example. The dusky background and the lady’s gaze reveal to us the style of Thomas Lawrence.

Margaret painted three portraits for the Theobald family from 1839 to 1850, and one of them, this, is thought to be Frances Jane Theobald. Now, even before I tell you more about Frances Jane, looking at her portrait might reveal even more. At first sight, she seems delicate, fragile, melancholic and dreamy. She’s obviously very young and innocent, with rosy cheeks, pale skin, and soft blonde hair centrally parted and arranged in a fashionable low bun. Her dress is white and simple, and she’s holding her pet spaniel. This portrait is also called ‘The Morning Walk‘; we can assume that this sweet Jane went for a morning walk with her darling spaniel. But look at her eyes, how reconciled and contemplative they seem? Her gaze isn’t direct or proud. She gazes into the distance, into something unknown to us. Frances Jane died of consumption only one year after this portrait was painted, in 1841, aged only sixteen. The contemplative nature of the portrait is one of its greatest qualities.

I wonder what was she really like? Sweet and delicate, seeing only good in people like Jane Bennet? Or, a thoughtful creature, shy, but an excellent piano player? Perhaps she had the voice of the lark? Perhaps every morning she went out for a walk with her spaniel, she laughed, picked flowers and smelled roses, her dress and petticoat swaying and rustling….. we’ll never know.

1850. Mrs Charles Sabine Thellusson - Margaret Sarah Carpenter1850. Mrs Charles Sabine Thellusson (née Georgiana Theobald, 1828-1883) by Margaret Sarah Carpenter

The portrait above shows Jane’s younger sister Georgiana who was just thirteen when she lost her sister. Tragic, but not uncommon at the time. The face we see is more mature and more serious, but the golden curls are the same. Ten years had passed since the last time Margaret Sarah Carpenter painted a member of the Theobald family. I wonder was Margaret saddened by the news of Jane’s death? Was it strange to paint one sister, knowing that the other one is now lying in a cold grave?

The portrait of Georgiana was painted in 1850, the year she got married to Charles Thelluson, but the absence of the ring indicates that she was still Miss Theobald when the portrait was painted.

Jane is in my thoughts the entire day, had she lived, what would become of her? If she had lived, she’d probably be married and surrounded by children. Nothing exciting awaited her anyways. Still, the heroine of my story (set in 1842!) is sixteen years old. A thought crossed my mind; what if she died of consumption, right now, I can write it, it’s my story. Well, she’d miss out on the fantastic life I have created for her, and her love interest would have to find another lady. Just the thought makes me sad, and I’m talking about a character, and Jane was a real person, living real life, how sad.

My Inspiration for April II

30 Apr

In April my mind wandered from Regency era to the 1840s. I read Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen again, and I watched the film, but at the same time I started writing my story again so I had to be absorbed in the 1840s.

Films that inspired me in April are Effie Gray (2014), Cry Baby (1990) and Submarine (2010). I’ve watched documentary The Real Jane Austen, In Search of the Brontes and BBC’s Family Life in the 1960s. And I’ve also watched television series Lost in Austen (2008) which turned out to be rather interesting and it gave me some ideas too. I haven’t been listening much to music in April, only Pulp and Manics (From Despair to Where). Though, a piece of classical music had enchanted me – Liebestraum (Love dream) by Franz Liszt; I’ve been listening to it while writing my story. In art, my interests ranged from Modigliani, Jeanne Hebuterne and Watehouse’s Nymphs to Thomas Lawrence, John Constable and other 18th century British painters.

1830’s and 1840’s fashion plates have given me hours of fun. I really immerse myself into all the details; shape of the sleeves, decorations, bonnets, lace, trims, and colours. I focused on colours this time. Knowing different shades of colours gives you much more variety than just thinking or saying that something is green, when you have lime, pear, emerald, moss, fern green. Colours are so exciting, are they not?!

I’m so sad that yet another April has vanished, but the sweet and flowery month of May is still ahead of us. Lament for my dearest months – April and May…

1857. The Sister’s Grave by Thomas Brooks

1840s Charlotte Augusta Whale (1819–1858), Wife of George Richmond Collis by Louis Henri Sebbersjane austen sense and sensibility book cover 1sense and sensibility 14

1795. Frankland Sisters by John Hoppner 1

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1825-28. Carl Gustav Carus (1789–1869), Oybin window at the moonlight

1840. November fashion

Haddon Hall, Derbyshire - Jane Eyre 'Thornfield Hall' 1

1848. fashion 17

jane eyre 25

jane eyre 41

1848. January ballgowns, France

effie gray millais 2

1829-30. Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows - John Constable

1843. Fashions for April1960s marianne faithfull 125

1960s twiggy 209

1965. Catherine Deneuve And David Bailey on their wedding day

1966. Mod Save The Queen

1960s mini dresses 22

1960s mini dresses 41richey 149Source of the photo.

1840s – ‘Fashion of Sombre and Wilting Demureness’

28 Apr

Since the story I am writing is set in the 1840s, I came up with a cunning plan to write a post about women’s fashion at the time! Decade of 1840s represents both the first, and the simplest and most romantic decade of Victorian fashion.

1848. fashion 17

In cultural dimension, the 1840s were a fruitful period for Bronte sisters (1847 in particular), Chopin, Franz Liszt, Edgar Allan Poe, Lord Tennyson, Elizabeth Barrett-Browning, the Pre-Raphaelites, and it also the first decade of applicable photography (Robert Adamson and David Octavius Hill were active in this decade).

This is also the the first decade of Victorian era; Queen Victoria married Albert in 1840 and six out of their nine children were born in this decade. Movies set in the 1840s with accurate fashion are: The Young Victoria (2009), Jane Eyre (2011), Effie Gray (2014), La Dame aux Camélias’ (1980), Cranford (TV Series) and Return to Cranford (2009). Costumes in Sweeney Todd (2007) bear resemblance to the 1840s fashion as well.

young victoria blue gown 5

1840s Queen Victoria by Franz Winterhalten1846. Marie-Caroline de Bourbon-Siciles, duchesse d'Aumale by W.

Fashion in the 1840s represents a muted version of the romantic and flamboyant fashion of the 1830s. Sombre colours and simplicity were in vogue after a decade of exaggeration and flashy colours. The biggest changes in the silhouette occurred in two spheres – firstly, natural waistline came into fashion after more than forty years of high-empire waists, and, secondly, the volume of the sleeves had collapsed.

1843-1848. Elizabeth (née Rigby), Lady Eastlake by David Octavius Hill, and Robert Adamson calotype1845. three dreamy ladies

1841. May court fashions (England)1841. May court fashions (England)

The silhouette of the 1840s was that of a bell shaped skirt, narrow waist and slopping shoulders. Sleeves were tight and simple, without excess decoration, as was the bodice. Skirt was simple as well; bell shaped, sometimes with delicate flounces of lace, but for day wear the appearance was kept modest. The fashionable look of the 1840s could be described as modest, sombre and demure, and, I’d dare to say, a bit gothic, especially with evening dresses, accesorise and details such as black lace, mitts, roses.

1843. house dress1840s grey silk satin gown 2

1840s Dresses, Striped and Bonnets

In the early years of the decade sleeves still resembled those of the late 1830s; fulness of the sleeves has moved from the shoulder to the lower part of the arm. From about 1843. narrow sleeves were fashionable, and they continued to be so until the late 1850s. Skirts faced changes too; they were gradually becoming wider and wider, richer in flounces and details, and worn with many layers of petticoats to achieve the desirable fulness.

1840. November fashion

To keep in touch with the overall moderate and dark spirit of the decade, popular colours were rather gloomy and toned down, especially for the day wear. Rich shades were popular for evening dresses, but white was favourable as it symbolised innocence and naivety and was therefor perfect for debutantes. ‘In the 1840’s, soft shades of yellow, greenish gold, blues and pinks were worn; but from the late forties stripes, plaids and the more brilliant shades of blues, greens red, and yellows came into fashion.‘ I have also noticed plaid being a popular fabric for day dresses. As for walking and outdoor dresses, my personal remark is that eggplant purple, cobalt blue and dark greens (darker colours in general) were common, at least judging by the fashion plates.

jane eyre 25

An interesting and accurate description of colours in Charlotte Bronte’s novel Jane Eyre which was written and set in the 1840s. Blanche Ingram’s evening dress at a small gathering at Thornfield Hall:

She was dressed in pure white; an amber-coloured scarf was passed over her shoulder and across her breast, tied at the side, and descending in long, fringed ends below her knee. She wore an amber-coloured flower, too, in her hair: it contrasted well with the jetty mass of her curls.‘ (Chapter 16)

Dresses that Mr Rochester wanted to buy for Jane Eyre:

‘The hour spent at Millcote was a somewhat harassing one to me. Mr. Rochester obliged me to go to a certain silk warehouse: there I was ordered to choose half-a-dozen dresses. (…) I reduced the half-dozen to two: these however, he vowed he would select himself. With anxiety I watched his eye rove over the gay stores: he fixed on a rich silk of the most brilliant amethyst dye, and a superb pink satin. (…) With infinite difficulty, for he was stubborn as a stone, I persuaded him to make an exchange in favour of a sober black satin and pearl-grey silk.’ (Chapter 24)

1842. eveninng dresses,  Petit Courrier Des Dames 1848. fashion 20

To balance out the dreariness of the day wear, evening dresses were, although simple in cut, often in rich shades of colours, usually decorated with a deep flounce of black lace and roses – the particular look is evident on many portraits of the time. Evening dresses were worn with lace mitts, opera gloves and sheer shawls which were quite popular during the decade.

Colours that I have noticed being popular for evening or dinner dresses are different shades of green such as lime and emerald green, raspberry pink, lilac, silver grey, sapphire and sky blue, amber and honey yellow. I have also observed that red wasn’t as popular in the 1840s as it shall be in the following decade; if worn, currant and garnet red were favourable.

1848. January ballgowns, France

Hairstyles of the 1840s are rather distinctive; hair was centrally parted and, while the back of the hair was shaped into a bun, front tresses could either be curled tightly or smoothed back over the ears and looped or braided. Compared to the hairstyles of the 1830s, these are quite simple.

Bonnets were toned down too; they became smaller and less extravagant and were decorated only by subtle flowers and tied with ribbons. For evening wear hair was in most cases worn curled and decorated with flowers, and occasionally, by the most fashionable ladies, little turban style caps were also worn.

1840s Back view of a Victorian coiffure 1840s headdress1847. Abendfrisur

The wedding dresses of this decade are, in my opinion, the most beautiful Victorian wedding dresses. They were worn with long veils, and a dash of lace, with the hair decorated with roses or other small flowers. Queen Victoria married Prince Albert on 10 February 1840, and successfully started a trend for white wedding dresses. However, wearing white for wedding wasn’t as special and new as it seems now; white wedding dresses were worn in the Regency era too as white was the most fashionable colour, and, in addition, white was, as already mentioned, extremely popular choice for evening dresses, especially for young women.

1844. march wedding dress and day dress

1844. nice shawl, Le Moniteur de la Mode1844. December Le Follet.

Still, as a Queen, Victoria popularised white for brides and made it a standard colour for wedding dresses, but also strengthened the Ideal of Womanhood. ‘Women were told from all quarters that their job was to stay close to the home and shape the world only through their calm and morally pure influences on the men in their domestic circle.’ Therefore, white colour for wedding dresses was more symbolic than ever. Image of Queen Victoria as an adoring and innocent bride, really captured the public’s imagination and along with the common character of a ‘modest bride in white’ often found Dicken’s novels, she cemented the ideal image of a bride.

1844. April Le Follet.

Mr Rochester remarked, upon seeing Jane in a white wedding dress and a simple white veil, that she was ‘fair as a lily, and not only the pride of his life, but the desire of his eyes.

Queen Victoria described her wedding dress in her journal: ‘I wore a white satin dress, with a deep flounce of Honiton lace, an imitation of an old design. My jewels were my Turkish diamond necklace & earrings & dear Albert’s beautiful sapphire brooch.

1842. A young Queen Victoria 1840. Queen Victoria's Wedding Dress 1839. sketch by Queen Victoria, Design for her bridesmaids dresses                                      1839. sketch by Queen Victoria, Design for her                                                                                       bridesmaids dresses

Shawl was very fashionable for outwear as it fitted perfectly with the silhouette of sloping shoulders and a bell shaped skirt, and it gives, if I may add, a romantic touch to the outfit. As the sleeves were tight, jackets and coats came into fashion again, but for walking dresses, especially on the north where the Brontës lived, pelerine was both fashionable and practical as it protected the wearer from the strong wind.

1840s Blue plaid winter cloak1845. Dress and mantle, England

As for footwear, 1840s are sadly the last decade of flat shoes. Fashionable shoes for women were satin slippers tied with ribbons around the ankle, and decorated with bows or lace.

1845. evening slippers, england 1845-1865. Evening slippers Queen Victoria's wedding shoes

That’s it! I sincerely hope that this decade of fashion appealed to you and captivated you as much as it captivated me.

My Story – Aesthetics

26 Apr

I am quite absorbed in my story right now. I started writing it last spring, then I stopped, and I found it rather difficult to start writing it again. I forgot some of the character so I had to read my tale again, and I decided to put all the pictures related to the story here, in one post, aiming to get my inspiration back. Luckily, after seeing all these paintings, dresses, fashion plates and photos all in once place, I recaptured the spirit of my story and successfully continued writing it. In fact, writing the story gives me more amusement than living my own life.

I often lie in bed at night and can not sleep because the story occupies my mind; I see my characters dancing and writing letters, I hear them talking, I see what they’re wearing, I hear them playing Chopin; those pictures are so vivid in my mind that most of the times I just write what I see.

1857. The Sister’s Grave by Thomas BrooksNew church seen through ruins jane eyre 66 northanger abbey 1 1843. house dress 1840s grey silk satin gown 2 1840s Dresses, Striped and Bonnets 1840. wedding dress, ivory colour 1840s Charlotte Augusta Whale (1819–1858), Wife of George Richmond Collis by Louis Henri Sebbers 1829-30. Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows - John Constable 1850s Young woman with parasol 1841. February fashion 1841. walking dress 1840s Fashion plate showing hair styles and accessories of the 1840s 1840s Le Bon Ton, Fashions & hairstyles 4 1843. Evening Dresses, Le Follet, December 1844. Evening Dresses, Le Follet, September 1845. Fashion, Le Follet 7 1845. Evening Dresses, Magasin des Demoiselles, November, The ladies are wearing gowns with a neckline en coeur 1828. Ernst Ferdinand Oehme (1797–1855), Procession in the Fog 1840s Lingerie Set, Petticoat and Chemise Corset 1600. View of Toledo by El Greco Lismore castle in ireland as Northanger Abbey a 1816. Grecian vs Gothic - Neoclassical vs Romantic Style Contrast 1845. evening ensemble 1845. Dress and mantle, England 1847. evening dresses, Le Follet, february 1844. march wedding dress and day dress 1844. nice shawl, Le Moniteur de la Mode 1844. April Le Follet.

1840s – Paris at the Dusk of Romanticism

11 Feb

My enchantment with the 1840s cannot be put in words for it is a decade that inspires me, fires my imagination, makes me quiver, and enriches my daydreams with its dark romantic aesthetics, beautiful portraits, saloon parties, sentimentality and melancholy, that atmosphere of the changing times; the fleeting nature of Romanticism which defined a whole decade.

1846. Marie-Caroline de Bourbon-Siciles, duchesse d'Aumale by W.1846. Marie-Caroline de Bourbon-Siciles, Duchesse d’Aumale by Winterhalten

In the 1840s Paris was still a rabbit warren of narrow, dark and dirty medieval streets, though some parts such as the boulevards and the quays of the Seine were clean and spacious. It was only in 1848. that Georges-Eugene Haussmann started with his gigantic public work projects for new wide boulevards, parks, a new opera house, a central market, new aqueducts, and sewers.

Politically, France was a liberal constitutional monarchy under Louis Philippe I, which lasted from July Revolution of 1830 to the French Revolution of 1848. This was Balzac’s Paris with the rise of the bourgeoisie, ambitious but poor students, filthy boarding houses, corrupted and greedy aristocrats, and poor old people who are unable to adapt to a new age, very different from the one they grew up in.

In these fleeting times when idealism was fading, slowly replaced by materialism (positivism), heroes vanished and common people took their place with common sorrows and troubles, exotic landscapes were replaced by cityscape; illusions were lost for a generation of young Romanticists and a new epoque illuminated Paris like a ray of sunshine. Still, there was an oasis of Romanticism in that half old-half new Paris, over and above, Romanticism developed quite late in France, but this place assembled the heroes of the evanescent times.

(c) National Trust, Mount Stewart; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation1847. Lady Elizabeth Jocelyn (1813–1884), Marchioness of Londonderry

Charlotte Rothschild, aged only eighteen in 1843 when she married her English-born cousin Nathaniel Rothschild, was at the center of cultural events as her parents were very wealthy and artistically inclined, and, as such, they patronised a number of artists, writers and musicians such as Frederick Chopin, Honore de Balzac, Eugene Delacroix, Heinrich Heine and Gioacchinno Rossini. Frederick Chopin enchanted Parisian aristocratic saloons upon arriving in Paris in 1831, at the age of twenty one, after the ‘November 1830 Uprising‘ or the Polish-Russian war took place. Although homesick, Chopin was never to return to his dear homeland.

His new home was Paris, the center of Romanticism at the time, and the capital of European culture in general. His Parisian debut took place on 26 February 1832 at the Salle Pleyel. Liszt, who attended Chopin’s debut, later remarked ‘The most vigorous applause seemed not to suffice to our enthusiasm in the presence of this talented musician, who revealed a new phase of poetic sentiment combined with such happy innovation in the form of his art.‘ Soon after arriving in Paris, Chopin befriended E.Delacroix, Franz Liszt and Hector Berlioz. He led a luxurious life, bohemian, but still dressed rather elegantly and showed some vain habits such as wearing a new pair of white gloves every day and riding in his own carriage. He loved the sophisticated Parisian lifestyle.

1840. Claire de Bearn, Duchess of Vallombrosa by W.1840. Claire de Bearn, Duchess of Vallombrosa by Winterhalten

Young Charlotte had a privilege of being Chopin’s piano pupil in 1841, and he even dedicated his celebrated Ballade No. 4 in F minor, Op. 52. John Ogdon, twentieth century English composer and pianist later commented ‘It is the most exalted, intense and sublimely powerful of all Chopin’s compositions … It is unbelievable that it lasts only twelve minutes, for it contains the experience of a lifetime.‘ Charlotte was very lucky to have had the opportunity to grow up in a wealthy and culturally inclined family which allowed her to meet many famous artists and writers.

Growing up around the artistic friends of her parents left a lifelong mark on Charlotte who later befriended many other artists too, such as Edouard Manet, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot and Henri Rousseau. Her passion for art did not stop there for she became a painter in her own right. She studied with Nelie Jacquemart and produced many profound watercolours and landscapes which earned her respect. Past weeks I’ve been wondering and daydreaming, then wondering again, how splendid would it be to spend your teenage years at the very center of Parisian Culture in Romanticism, and meet the legends such as Chopin, Victori Hugo, Balzac, Delacroix etc. I’m completely absorbed in these thoughts lately.

1840s Portrait of Yekaterina Scherbatova  - Joseph-Desire Court1840s Portrait of Yekaterina Scherbatova – Joseph-Desire Court

This is just one of the many aspects of the 1840s that I adore. There’s so much more about this beautiful decade: Jane Eyre and the Bronte sisters, first years of Queen Victoria’s reign, founding of the Pre-Raphalites Brotherhood in 1848, Edgar Allan Poe, Elizabeth Barrett-Browning…

The atmosphere, the portraits of ladies, the fashion, it all deeply engulfs me, enchants me, inspires me unutterably. The 1840s aesthetics are the epitome of the word ‘romantic’ for me; those ladies with their shiny silk dresses with sloping shoulders, slight gothic touch, their wild curls decorated subtly with a rose or two. Sentimentality and melancholy seem to pervade every pore of art and culture in the 1840s.

If you want to immerse yourselves in this Late Romanticism epoch, you can visit my Pinterest board for the visual part of my inspiration.