Thursday, November 13, 2008

Regency Beauty - Part III

We were interrupted some time ago on this topic, I thought I would come back to it.
Cosmetics were often home made as can be seen from the entries in:
The New Family Receipt Book (1819)

We often here of elderly ladies and even young ones clutching their smelling salts. I have a story planned with a secondary character who uses hers to great effect. If you would like to make some, this is one recipe.

642. To make an excellent Smelling Bottle.
Take an equal quantity of sal-ammoniac and unslacked lime, pound them separate, then mix and put them in a bottle to smell to. Before you put in the above, drop two or three drops of the essence of bergamot into the bottle, then cork it close. A drop or two of ether, added to the same will greatly improve it.

Bergamot is a pear-shaped citrus fruit from south east asia and also grown in Calabria.

Rosewater was a homemade perfume, it is as the name suggests, distilled rose petals.

652. To make Rose Water.
Gather roses on a dry day, when they are full blown; pick off the leaves, and to a peck put a quart of water, then put them into a cold still, make a slow fire under it, the slower you distil it the better it will be; then bottle it, and in two or three days you may cork it.

Finally a recipe for Pomade, which you would put on your hair.

657. To make the celebrated Pomade Divine.
According to Dr. Beddoes, this composition is as follows, viz. beef marrow, twelve ounces steeped in water ten days, and afterwards in rose water twenty-four hours; flowers of Benjamin, pounded storax, and Florentine orris, of each half an ounce; cinnamon, a quarter of an ounce, clove and nutmeg a quarter of an ounce. The whole to be put in an earthen vessel, closely covered down, to keep in the fumes and being suspended in water made to boil three hours; after which, the whole is to be strained and put into bottles.

Can you imagine putting the beef marrow on your hair? It was to make the hair shiny.

I would think so.

Until next time, Happy Rambles


  1. Ryan D. TurnewitschNovember 16, 2008 at 9:58 PM

    Greetings Madam,
    I am a homeschool student who has been doing online research for an upcoming Pride & Prejudice book study that our homeschool group will be conducting for high-schoolers. I will be delivering an oral report on common occupations for the aristocratic men, since it may superficially seem that they are rarely engaged in fiscally prolific endeavours, but obviously very moneyed. So, from what I have read so far on your blog here, you have accrued a vast and extensive knowledge of the era and I belive (and hope!) that you can be of some use to me. All that I have found so far is , in essence, that the majority of their affluence was hereditary and their main vocations were conducting their subordinates to farm the land or execute business dealings. Also I found, that this class only composed 2% of the population but had a paramount part in ruling the entire country. Still however, this isn't the information I am hoping to procure for my delivery. I would like to know more exactly, what the men did as jobs, (if they even had one because I read in an antiquated dictionary from roughly around the period that the proper definition of a gentlemen was: a wealthy, influential, man who did not posses a vocation. Seems very strange?) and just what does 10,000 lbs. equate to our currency today. 5 million? 10 million? How did they grow their incomes and what did they do other than shoot game, play cards, go to balls, dress ornately, and write so very evenly :)? These are the real questions that I hope to discover. So, if you could be of any assitance in illuminating my ignorance in this particular facet of the Regency era, I would truly appreciate it. But, PLEASE do NOT feel obligated though.
    In case you have been wondering what our book study is composed of, briefly I will tell you. We have rented a Victorian home with authentic furnishings and will begin by partaking of a meal with "Regency aristocratic foods", have a group discussion on the book, have a recital with pieces from the era on a vintage pianoforte, have oral presentaions concering different aspects of the time and close off will a ball of four English Country dances - "Hole in the wall", "Juice of Barley", "Irish Lamentations" and Mr. Beveridge's Maggot". We will all be in period raiment to add to the authenticity of the evening. From what I saw on your blog, this type of occason would probably interest you. :)
    Thank you very much in advance maam, for any assitance or beneficial erudition you can share with me. I do greatly appreciate it, just as I am coming to appreciate the beauty, elegance, and formality of this period. What a stark contrast to the morally depraved world we have today where the best greeting we usually recieve are monosyllabic grunts. Indeed, this era was a bright spot in Europe's history.

    Ryan Turnewitsh
    (aka Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy :) just kidding)

  2. Ryan, thanks for dropping in with all your wonderful questions!

    Instead of responding in a comment, I will now post the answers to a new blog in a very short while. Thanks for giving me such a great topic.

  3. Mrs. Young,

    Thank you so very much! You are very kind to spend some time on this. I really genuinely appreciate your help. A thought occured to me after I wrote that lengthy remark last night and it was, in essence, do you think that the aristocratic families of the 1800s were potentially direct descendents of lords or vassals in the Middle Ages, and henceforth their properties for their country estates like Chanceworth, Netherfield, Pemberley etc. the remains of those lords' demesnes and manors? I've had doubts on this concepualization's probability as a result of the large gap of centuries in between those two eras and the numerous society-changing events that transpired during that span like the Italian Renaissance and Reformation. However, even with these doubts, the original concept seems logical since there are similarities in the two situations. Since I read that 18th and early 19th cen. aristocratic men had a responsibiity to incease their own inherited wealth and increase the value of their estates, it becomes overtly clear that the large sums of money in their possesion originated in a previous time frame and consistently accrued ever since. So this leads me to believe that the origination of the aristocratic families, properties, wealth, and national power all began potentially in medieval times. This may be very wrong but when I look through history I don't see any other situation that fits the bill. So if you could mention whether you believe this to be possible, verify it to be valid, or let me know it's erroneous, I would appreciate it. I hope you understand what I've attempted to convey; I can be a bit circumlocutory at times :)

    Ryan Turnewitsch

  4. The short answer is yes. But the long answer is, it depends. Families rose and fell as they gained and lost favor with the crown. What one lost another would gain. And commoners might perform some great service and be raised up.

    But many of the English noble families can trace their families for centuries. Look at some of the names on google, like Spence, and Devonshire, and Norfolk, Google the word Dukes, or Earls and you will be able to see all kinds of them, and see how far they date back.

    And yes, the idea was to accumulate as much wealth and land for your family as you could. Just like today.

    PS, what grade are you in?

  5. Wow Mrs. Young!

    I'm amazed. Thank you very much for writing that. I'd seen the bulk of the material in my studying but I hadn't encountered it all compiled together and that will be helpful when aligning my presentation. I sincerely hope that I didn't make you feel as if I was using you to get around studying because that isn't the case. I enjoy any lore that I can procure and studying isn't something I try to elude. Over the years between speeches, monologues, declamations, book reports, imitation TV news broadcasts, imitation campaign speeches, sale commercials, and sermons in church I've delivered around 60 oral presentations that required lots of preparation and study. So I'm quite used to preparing deliveries. I simply wanted to imbibe and take advantage of your learning and expertise in this area. Now I'm making a big deal over a small comment but I would really feel bad if you at all felt used by an inquisitive teenager :)I am truly very grateful and indebted to the time that you've spent for me. Thanks!
    I'll answer your inquiry now. To say it fluently: I am not yet six and ten and that places me in the 10th grade.
    In nearly all of the aricles I've read about the aristocracy I've seen that the French Revolution had a profound effect in dissolving the upper class so to get a better understanding of what that all entailed I've begun reading A Tale of Two Cities and so far am enjoying it. For many years books and novels have been a love of mine and it's neat to be corresponding with a prominent author!
    I believe that I'm going to become a regular visitor to your blog and I will comment to you on our evening with lots of details.
    I simply can't thank you enough,