Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Gallery of Peace at the Tuleries

Sometimes I feel extremely upset that they tore down the Tuileries. Via Vive la Reine. Share

The Bishop's Poisoner

From author Nancy Bilyeau:
In the words of the Greyfriars Chronicle of London, a contemporary document: “This year was a cook boiled in a cauldron in Smithfield for he would have poisoned the bishop of Rochester Fisher with divers of his servants and he was locked in a chain and pulled up and down with a gibbet at divers times until he was dead."
Roose's crime, the legal method of his condemnation and finally the form of punishment create a bizarre chain of events that, in a more modern age, might well have raised questions of motive in several parties, including that of Henry VIII. Although there is no question of who did the killing, this is still a tantalizing Tudor murder mystery, and reveals some of the peculiarities of the early modern age, when laws existed and homicide was considered a heinous crime, but there was no trained police force nor forensic science. (Read more.)


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Fashion Victims

A book review by Anna Gibson. To quote:
In Fashion Victims: Dress at the Court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell delves into the aesthetics, evolution and multifaceted meanings of fashion in France from the 1770s through the revolution and its aftermath.

The book is separated into four distinct parts (Court and City, New and Novel, Fashion and Fantasy, Revolution and Recovery) and each part is further distinguished by chapters covering different aspects of fashion that fit under each part's theme. All four parts of the book are also supplemented by a short introduction that introduces the themes of each section.

In "Court and City," for example, Chrisman-Campbell discusses Marie Antoinette's penchant for fashion as well as her influence on the burgeoning fashion industry; the part also discusses the rise of "petite-maitresses," a term designated for women who were devoted to keeping up with the latest fashions, however rapidly changing or ridiculous they might be; and finally the role of the marchande de modes, such as the famous Rose Bertin, without whom the evolution of late 18th century fashion may not have been possible.

My favorite aspect of the book is Chrisman-Campbell's abundant use of various contemporary sources in her text. She quotes and analyzes material from fashion magazines, newspapers, memoirs, letters, revolutionary pamphlets and other sources; these sources give great insight into how fashion was viewed on a commercial, social and even personal level by the people who were directly impacted by it. I also greatly appreciated Chrisman-Campbell's insights into subjects that are not typically discussed in books about this period, such as chemise gowns and the chemise a la reine, the status of fashion for French emigres who fled during the revolution, extensive details about mourning fashion and its social customs, and the wave of "Anglomania" that crept into French fashions in the 1780s.

Fashion Victims is filled with gorgeous contemporary paintings, engravings,and illustrations as well as photographs of existing 18th century garments. The image reproductions are high quality and provide an excellent companion to Chrisman-Campbell's text. More important than the images, however, is the text itself. Fashion Victims is not just a pretty book: it is filled with interesting, insightful and in-depth scholarship by Chrisman-Campbell, who discusses everything from the details of elaborate court dresses to the scandal and acceptance of chemise a la reines to elaborate mourning customs to some of the strangest coiffures, like those made to celebrate smallpox vaccinations. (Read more.)

Birth of an Heir

No, this is not a Christmas card and the baby is not the Christ Child, believe it or not. It is the Archduke of Austria and future Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II, eldest son of Emperor Francis and Empress Maria Theresa. Joseph was to become Marie-Antoinette's bossy older brother. (Via Vive la Reine.) Share

Saint Chesterton?

From The Atlantic:
In his vastness and mobility, Chesterton continues to elude definition: He was a Catholic convert and an oracular man of letters, a pneumatic cultural presence, an aphorist with the production rate of a pulp novelist. Poetry, criticism, fiction, biography, columns, public debate—the phenomenon known to early-20th-century newspaper readers as “GKC” was half cornucopia, half content mill. If you’ve got a couple of days, read his impish, ageless, inside-out terrorist thriller The Man Who Was Thursday. If you’ve got an afternoon, read his masterpiece of Christian apologetics Orthodoxy: ontological basics retailed with a blissful, zooming frivolity, Thomas Aquinas meets Eddie Van Halen. If you’ve got half an hour, read “The Blue Cross,” the first and most glitteringly perfect of his stories featuring the crime-busting village priest Father Brown. If you’ve got only 10 minutes, read his essay “A Much Repeated Repetition.” (“Of a mechanical thing we have a full knowledge. Of a living thing we have a divine ignorance.”) (Read more.)

Via Joshua Snyder. Share

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Russian Calendar, 1915

The Imperial Family. Share

No White People Allowed

Now this is interesting. I actually have no problem with any ethnic group that wants to have their own space. From The HuffPost:
Last week The Ryersonian reported on an incident that involved two first-year journalism students who were turned away from an event organized by Racialized Students' Collective because they are white. Since then there has been a lot of commentary on the piece and a lot of debate -- a lot of the criticism is valid.

There are two sides to the story: 1) the media has a right to attend public events and report on matters that are in the public interest. The student media needs to cover initiatives that are happening on campus so that we draw attention to them and in turn create awareness (The Ryersonian reported that one student said he was covering the meeting for an assignment). 2) Marginalized groups have a right to claim spaces in the public realm where they can share stories about the discrimination they have faced without judgment and intrusion from anyone else.

I am a person of colour and a journalist and so there are two conflicting voices inside my head. But in this case one voice, that of a person of colour, is louder and my conscience does not allow me to be impartial. I have to take a side.

The organizers of the event, the Racialized Students' Collective, should have done a better job of labelling this event as a safe space on the Ryerson Students' Union online calendar. They should label safe spaces clearly and maybe even host events that educate the public on what they mean. Doing so will help the public and the media have a better understanding of the purpose and value of these spaces.

However, the point to note is not that two white students were asked to leave the event, but rather that this was a safe space and that we as a newsroom, as a campus and as a society are not as knowledgeable as we should be about what these spaces mean. (Read more.)

The Life of Thomas Cardinal Wolsey

From Tudor Times:
Ipswich, Suffolk, in the 1470s was one of the most prosperous towns in England. East Anglia was an important centre of the wool trade, with English fleeces being sent from its ports to the Low Countries and goods imported in return. Within Ipswich there was a school, possibly founded by the Guild of Corpus Christi, or perhaps attached to one of the monasteries, where the sons of local traders and farmers could learn to read and write in English and Latin, and study enough mathematics to run a business. To this school, in the late 1470s, went a young boy by the name of Thomas Wolsey.

Thomas Wolsey's birth date and parentage are not absolutely proven, but the generally accepted view is that he was born in the early 1470s to Robert Wolsey (or Wulcy) a butcher and grazier of Ipswich, and his wife Joan Daundy.

It seems likely that he had an older brother, both from his name (most first sons were named for their father) and from the fact that his father was keen for him to become a priest, as evidenced by Robert Wolsey's Will. Had Thomas been the older son, he would have been expected to carry on the prosperous family business.

Thomas did so well at the school that he was given one of the four scholarships in the gift of the Bishop of Norwich to Magdalen College Oxford. His exceptional intellect enabled him to complete his BA by the age of fifteen – even in a time when many scholars completed their BA earlier than is done now, this was considered remarkable. (Read more.)