THE GOSSIPING PHOTOGRAPHER AT HASTINGS: SEASIDE PHOTOGRAPHS BY FRANCIS FRITH (1864)
This glimpse of mid-1860s Hastings shows a scattering of ladies and men around on the waterfront. As the British Library entry explains,
The growth of inexpensive rail travel from the mid-19th century placed the seaside towns of the south coast within easy reach of the capital.
This led to their development as tourist resorts for an increasingly affluent middle class. As Frith noted in his photographic guide book to Hastings and its surroundings: ‘We came down from London Bridge in two hours and a half…cheap enough. You face the sea in your drawing-room at St Leonards, and occupy your five bed-rooms at six guineas a week…Whilst Jones has fine open quarters looking landwise for ten shillings a week’.
Frith was a pioneer in the field of travel photography, beginning his career with three trips to Egypt and the Holy Land between 1856 and 1860. In 1859 he founded his own publishing firm in Reigate, Surrey, which issued albums and postcards of views throughout Britain.
The firm became the largest of its kind in the 19th century, continuing to be run as a family business until 1971.
For more about Frith’s seaside photographs, including a copy of his 1864 The Gossiping Photographer at Hastings, see the British Library.
BEACH NAP: THE EDWARDIAN EYE OF ANDREW PITCAIRN-KNOWLES
Image: ‘Family asleep on sand; Auf den pier’ by Andrew Pitcairn-Knowles (c. 1900) [V&A]
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London / Cecil Beton Fund
As indicated on the V&A website, this image is one by “pioneer photographic journalist" Andrew Pitcairn-Knowles, whose turn-of-the-century documentary photographs — like this one of a huddled group in Blankenberge, the Belgian seaside town — appeared around 1900:
He specialised in sports and genre subjects in mainland Europe. The viewpoint Pitcairn-Knowles choose when taking this photograph makes everyday life on the beach seem intriguingly enigmatic. This photograph is difficult to read. Apparently taking a nap on the sand, the figures are hard to distinguish among the jumble of clothes.
For more of Pitcairn-Knowles’s pictures, see the V&A.
—from the last stanza of Tennyson’s ‘Ulysses' (pub. 1842)
Alfred Tennyson was born on this day, 6 August, in 1809, in Lincolnshire, the fourth child to Revd. Dr. George Tennyson, Rector of Somersby, and Elizabeth Fytche.
Julia Margaret Cameron, Maud from Tennyson’s Idylls of the King, c. 1867-74
AUSTEN’S INCOMES: HOW MUCH WAS MR. DARCY WORTH?
What the incomes of the people in Jane Austen´s books are worth today :)
i entered the amounts into an american inflation calculator…in 2013 terms… it’s basically double the 1988 amounts…
Using the same UK National Archives Currency Converter, the 2005 (most recent possible date) equivalent for these characters is listed below, based on the incomes/fortunes determined above.
(view table in new tab to zoom)
For what it’s, er, worth: Jane Austen was paid the following amounts for her books (according to the DNB), provided with their modern-day equivalents:
QUELLE HORREUR: FIRST ON THE FRONT, 1914
The British Army Mobilises
British mobilisation began in earnest on the 5th August, unlike its European counterparts who fielded massive conscript armies the British Army was made up of long-serving professional soldiers who volunteered to join the army. The result was an extremely professional, well trained and disciplined force. The regular army in 1914, amounted to some 247,000 soldiers, of which approximately half were posted to overseas garrisons across the British Empire from India to South Africa. It is fair to describe Britain’s army in 1914 as a colonial one, best suited to campaigns in far flung corners of the Empire where lightly equipped, small, mobile forces were needed. It was dwarfed in comparison to the massive continental armies of France, Germany, Russia and Austria.
In addition to the regular army the British Army could call upon an additional ~470,000 reservists who made up the Territorial Force and the Special Reserve. The average infantryman enlisted for seven years and if he decided not to stay with the colours at the end of his enlistment he would spend another five years as a reservist. In 1907, these reserve forces had been reorganised by the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act. By 1914, the Special Reserve was made up of 101 infantry battalions, 33 artillery regiments and two engineer regiments. Members of the Special Reserve spent an initial six months training full time following which they would train for a month each year.
These reserves were coupled with Regular Army units to whom in time of war they would supply drafts of replacements in time of war. On paper the Territorial Force consisted of some 269,000 men making up 207 battalions of infantry and 55 regiments of yeomanry (cavalry) with a further 190 batteries of volunteer artillerymen with various branches of the artillery. These units were grouped into 14 regional infantry divisions and a further 14 regional yeomanry brigades. Every Territorial Force battalion was attached to a regular army regiment and the men trained in the evenings and one weekend a month.This gave the average British Army regiment a theoretical establishment of two regular battalions (on paper numbering 970 men - one of which was invariably deployed on active colonial service), a Special Reserve battalion and one or more Territorial Force battalions.
When the general mobilisation was called on the 5th each reservist was responsible for making his own way to his regiment’s barracks. His reporting instructions were printed inside his army identity papers, instructing him to make his way to his regimental depot to be issued with uniform and equipment. He would then make his way with a railway warrant to his mustering battalion. If the reservist did not have enough money to reach his regiment’s depot he could report to the nearest post office and request a subsistence allowance of five shillings. This system proved surprisingly well organised with the first reservists reaching their battalions on the 6th August, just two days after the declaration of war.
On the 7th August, third day of the mobilisation, the first British troops arrived in France. These soldiers were support troops who would prepare the way, readying lines of communication and camps. The British Expeditionary Force’s main force began crossing the Channel on the 12th, but they would not reach Belgium and be ready for action until the 20th.
The majority of the British troops joining the expeditionary force were transported south for at least part of their march by train with 1,800 trains dedicated to the task in the first five days of the mobilisation.
Two railway lines terminated in Southampton, the main embarkation port, with another was built in just three days connecting Southampton Station to the harbour terminus. Approximately 20,000 tons a day were moved to the ships at the docks. At the peak of the mobilisation 90 trains a day arrived at the port’s terminus to off load troops. It took just ten days to transport the BEF across the Channel but all of Britain’s ports would continue to be busy throughout the war transporting men, equipment and supplies back and forth.
The British Expeditionary Force had originally been intended to sail for Europe with six infantry divisions, however fearing a surprise invasion of Britain by German forces the sixth division was held in reserve. As such the BEF arrived in France with five infantry divisions, one division of cavalry and 430 guns including 13-pounders of the Royal Horse Artillery and 18-pounders, 4.5 inch howitzers and several heavy 60-pounders of the Royal Artillery brigaded with the infantry. On paper each division should have been equipped with 24 machine guns with each battalion fielding two this gave the BEF a total of just over 140 Vickers Machine Guns in the field, far short of the massive number fielded by the German Army.
On paper the BEF numbered ~110,000 men in reality the infantry numbered some 66,000 while the cavalry had a sabre strength of 7,600 the rest of the men were support and logistical troops. Each infantry division was made up of three brigades with each brigade numbering approximately twelve battalions of infantry. The cavalry division was made up of twelve regiments grouped in four brigades. Almost every regiment in the British Army which had a battalion based in the British Isles was represented in the expeditionary force. The BEF was commanded by Field Marshall Sir John French who had broad instructions to assist the French and Belgian armies in resisting the German invasion. The expeditionary force was split into two corps, one commanded by General Sir Douglas Haig and the other by General Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien while the independent cavalry division was commanded by Major General Edmund Allenby.
By the 18th August, the BEF was advancing into Belgium, communications with their French allies on their right flank were poor and after a short meeting between Field Marshal French and General Charles Lanrezac commanding the French Fifth Army it was decided the two armies would advance in tandem. The 23rd August found the British army holding a line along the Mons–Condé Canal. It was at Mons that the British army first engaged the enemy holding them off but eventually being forced to fall back when their flank was exposed by Lanrezac’s retreating Fifth Army which had failed to inform the BEF that they were retiring. The retreat from Mons saw the British begin a two week long fighting retreat before falling back on the River Marne with the French.
By November 1914, approximately 90% of the original British Expeditionary Force had been killed or wounded with the official number of casualties standing at 89,864, most of them infantry. The cream of the professional British Army of 1914 had been killed in just four months fighting. Their places were filled by a new army of volunteers stirred by patriotism and an eagerness to fight in late 1914 and early 1915. Between September 1914 and December 1916, millions of volunteers answered the call but the toll of war was too great and by January 1916, the British government was forced to introduce conscription. The men of the BEF who embarked for France in the first weeks of August 1914, would have hardly recognised the British Army of 1918.
Image One Source - 1st Battalion, Irish Guards fill their webbing with their 150 rounds of ammunition and prepare to leave Wellington Barracks, Westminster on, 6th August 1914. The Battalion arrived in France as part of the British Expeditionary Force on 13th August 1914. (IWM)
Image Three Source - The 1st Life Guards prepare to leave Hyde Park Barracks and head to war, on 15th August 1914 (IWM)
Image Four Source - A dismounted cavalry draft of the 1st Life Guards (IWM)
Image Two Source - Reservists of the Grenadier Guards re-enlisting on the outbreak of War, queue for a medical inspection at Wellington Barracks, Chelsea, London. Picture by Mrs Broom, dated as 5th August 1914. (IWM)
Image Five Source - A mounted cavalry draft of the 1st Life Guards with Captain Gerrard Leigh in the foreground (IWM)
Image Six Source - The Harrogate Territorials marching to the station en route to York on 5th August, 1914
Image Seven Source - Men of The 1st Battalion, Monmouthshire Regiment march down Stow Hill Newport on being mobilised at the outbreak of War
Image Eight Source - British Infantry at Birmingham New Street Station
Image Nine Source - King George taking the salute of the 2nd Battalion, Grenadier Guards as they passed Buckingham Palace returning from a route march in August 1914
Image Ten Source - Crowds watch as troops of the Queen’s Royal Regiment board a train at Dorking station, 5th August 1914
1914: Fight the Good Fight, A. Mallinson, (2013)
Tommy, R. Holmes, (2004)
Britain & Her Army, C. Barnett, (1970)
The Making of the British Army, A. Mallinson, (2009)
The Old Contemptibles: The British Expeditionary Force, 1914, R. Neillands, (2004)
VICTORIAN HISTORY MEME: texts [1/7]
MIDDLEMARCH (1872) BY GEORGE ELIOT
‘“Sorrow comes in so many ways. Two years ago I had no notion of that—I mean of the unexpected way in which trouble comes, and ties our hands, and makes us silent when we long to speak. I used to despise women a little for not shaping their lives more, and doing better things. I was very fond of doing as I liked, but I have almost given it up,” she ended, smiling playfully.’ [Ch. 54]
Called by Virginia Woolf "The magnificent book, which with all its imperfections[,] one of the few English books written for grown-up people”, George Eliot's penultimate major work Middlemarch has not infrequently been listed as perhaps the greatest novel ever written. In its own time, Middlemarch (published in eight installments in 1872) was a work of High Realism, a serious and weighty work that, as Woolf saw, tackled major problems of the recent past: political reform, the position of women, marriage and sexuality, gossip and (mis)communication, the purpose of art, and the struggle to do great and good things in the modern, 19th-century world.
Middlemarch begins and ends with the hagiography of St. Theresa of Avila, whose “passionate, ideal nature demanded an epic life”. Yet, Eliot tells us from the beginning, ‘Here and there is born’ a Victorian incarnation, a modern-day “Saint Theresa, foundress of nothing, whose loving heart-beats and sobs after an unattained goodness tremble off and are dispersed among hindrances, instead of centring in some long-recognizable deed” [‘Prelude’]. Dorothea Brooke, Eliot’s heroine, longs to ‘make life beautiful—I mean everybody’s life’ [XXII], believing her best opportunity lies in marrying an erudite, sexless Reverend. Within the city of Middlemarch, lives Dorothea’s opposite, the beautiful, cunning Rosamond Vincy, whose education and family expectations instill in her a love of the selfish and ostentatious. Both Dorothea and Rosamond come into contact with a web of men and women, many of whom — like Rosamond’s ambitious but indulgent husband, Dr. Lydgate, and Dorothea’s artistic friend and romantic interest, Will Ladislaw, all want to find a ‘key’, whether (like Casaubon) to ‘all mythologies’; like Lydgate, to the treatment of diseases; like Ladislaw, to real reform in 1830s Britain. Yet no man, or woman, is an island: each of the inhabitants of Middlemarch becomes ensnared in the tangle of their own intentions. Money, power, politics, and love all make doing the right thing a very complicated problem.
George Eliot, born Mary Ann Evans in Warwickshire on 22 Nov. 1819, was herself critical of the position of women, particularly of the generation portrayed in her 1872 ‘Study of Provincial Life’. Though a highly respected author for her novels of moral Realism and detailed, compassionate psychology, Eliot was excluded from some of society for her 1854 elopement with man-of-letters George Henry Lewes. Their marriage was never legal (Lewes could not divorce his first wife), but was one of continued love, professional support, and intellectual stimulation until his tragic death in 1878. In Middlemarch, the portraits of several marriages — some happy, others decidedly not so — highlight not only questions of art and beauty, but also the importance of educating women (who in the 1860s were explicitly denied, for the second time, the right to suffrage) so that gossip, frustrated lack of purpose, and misunderstanding do not control their lives and the lives of those they touch.
In probably the novel’s most famous passage, Eliot describes how Dorothea’s very common confusion and sadness is not ‘very exceptional’:
Some discouragement, some faintness of heart at the new real future which replaces the imaginary, is not unusual, and we do not expect people to be deeply moved by what is not unusual. That element of tragedy which lies in the very fact of frequency, has not yet wrought itself into the coarse emotion of mankind; and perhaps our frames could hardly bear much of it. If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel’s heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence. As it is, the quickest of us walk about well wadded with stupidity. [XX]
More reading: Middlemarch in the 21st-Century, ed. Karen Chase; Darwin’s Plots: Evolutionary Narrative in Darwin, George Eliot and Nineteenth-Century Fiction by Dame Gillian Beer; ‘Circulatory Systems: Money, Gossip, and Blood in Middlemarch' in Arguing with the Past, by and ed. Beer; The Cambridge Companion to George Eliot, ed. George Levine; George Eliot and the Conflict of Interpretations by David Carroll; and The Real Life of Mary Ann Evans: George Eliot, Her Letters and Fiction by Rosemarie Bodenheimer.
'THE GENERAL': A PORTRAIT OF EMILY BRONTE (30 Jul.1818 - 19 Dec. 1848)
Portrait: Emily Brontë by Branwell Brontë (1833; oil on canvas) [x]
Though few images survive of the Brontë siblings, this individual portrait of Emily by her brother Branwell, done when she was only 15, shows some of the reserved grace of the fifth Brontë child.
Emily — “Nicknamed ‘The General’ […] for her vigilant protection of her sisters from [men’s] flirtatious advances” (Mellor)— stood the tallest of the siblings and had “a lithesome graceful figure" (according to family friend Ellen Nussey):
[Emily] had very beautiful eyes, kind<ly>, kindling, liquid eyes, sometimes they looked grey, sometimes dark blue but she did not often look at you, she was too reserved. She talked very little, she and Anne were like twins, inseparable companions, and in the very closest sympathy which never had any interruption. (Letters of Charlotte Brontë, 1.598)
Nussey also remembered how Emily — deeply fond of animals, though not at all gentle with her dog (Keeper, a large mastiff) — “boldly roamed the moors in all weathers, mischievously ‘leading Charlotte where she would not dare of her own free-will’” (Mellor). Besides Keeper, Emily came to include ‘a pet hawk, a cat, three tame geese, and a wild one’ [DNB].
She was an “proficient pianist”, teaching at the school in Brussels where Charlotte instructed French, as well as an accomplished poet.
One revealing incident from Emily’s childhood occurred when their father, Revd. Patrick Brontë, asked his four youngest children to put on ‘masks of anonymity' and answer his decidedly un-childish questions. According to Revd. Brontë:
I asked the next (Emily, afterwards Ellis Bell), what I had best to do with her brother Branwell, who was sometimes a naughty boy; she answered, “Reason with him, and when he won’t listen to reason, whip him.” [x]
For more biographical information about Emily, see: her DNB entry by Juliet Barker; the Cambridge Companion to the Brontës by Helen Glen; A Life of Emily Brontë by Edward Chitham; and The Brontës: Wild Genius On the Moors by Juliet Barker (1994; revised 2013).
BRONTE STAMPS OF THE 80S: EMILY BRONTE (BORN ON THIS DAY, 1818)!
Emily Brontë, also known by her nom de plume Ellis Bell (younger sister of Charlotte Brontë, also known by her nom de plume Currer Bell) (and older sister of Anne Brontë, also known by her nom de plume Acton Bell), was born on this date in 1818. Wuthering Heights, that sterling exemplar of a gothic novel, was her only work—it was published in 1847 and she died the following year, at age 30. Thanks for giving us Heathcliff on the moors, Ms. Bell!
Issued on: July 9, 1980
From: London, England
ALWAYS RELEVANT: NOT-VICTORIAN WOMEN OF ALL ERAS, COLORS
I’ve seen a few fashion posts trying to expand the “Marie Antoinette is not Victorian” rant, but this stuff can get complicated, so here is a semi-comprehensive list so everyone knows exactly when all of these eras were.
Please note that this is very basic and that there are sometimes subcategories (especially in the 17th century, Jacobean, Restoration, etc)
And people wonder WHY I complain about History/Art History periodization. Note how much overlap there is to the above “eras”, and how many exceptions and extensions there are to these categories.
Oh, and by the way…
Because you wouldn’t want to be historically inaccurate.
I reblogged this post before but OHHHH extra reference that’s so hard to get anywhere on Google or books