Wednesday, 26 August 2015

The indispensable carry-on

LAs a modern woman, my bag is some sort of my back-up home, housing not only keys and purse, but usually one to two books, little medical kit, hankies, electronic devices, sunglasses, cosmetic bag. Customary, it weights a ton.
My réticule for time travels is approximatively the same, and usually the aim of much ridicule in return.
Last year during an event I was suddenly put into the situation of not being allowed to take my réticule along, as carrying train, shawl and a beautiful yet heavy guirlande was all I could manage. 
My solution was simple, I asked Monsieur if he could carry my bare essentials (ID card, emergency money) in his coats pockets, after all, these pockets are deep and sturdy.
Little I did know that this is precisely what women did in the period! 

A couple of days ago I posted about 'The Modern Woman', who carries nothing on her but a book (JdDedM No3, An8 of publication, 15 vendémiaire, An12) 15 days later the fashionable lady carries nothing but a fan. 
And all her necessities go into the gentleman's frock pockets, aptly named 'Ridicule'. In one short paragraph LeMésangère answers our question if these pockets are a reenactorism (No) and if Ladies made use of those pockets (Yes)
I let the man now speak for himself: Journal des Dames et des Modes, No 6, 30 vendémiaire, An12.
Source as usual: BNF via Gallica

Every day ladies erase their pockets and bags, and the gentleman take over. Ladies don't carry anythig, and the men have to burden themselves carrying their indispensables of their companions.
Consequently, to carry glasses, the knotted handkerchief (be sure to check out Sabines recent post, she delves into bag sizes and also into knotted hankies!!), and the small bottles (scent or salts?) of the ladies, men have started to have pockets in their coats again, as one did in earlier times. 
Only the name of those pockets has changed to ridicule, to make its use clear. 
The ladies can't or won't wear anything else than a fan once their in full dress.

P.S.: I prefer to use the expression Réticule, but I discovered that spelling is quite optional (same goes for Schall, Shall, Châle, Châll, Shawl), it is purely my personal preference to spell it that way. 

Thursday, 20 August 2015

The Frascati

While posting yesterday's trouvaille, I realised that many hints to actors, plays, places are quite obvious to me, but maybe not to everyone else. (I remember the puzzled look on Monsieurs face when discussing the find)

I think I'll start a wee series, with short introductions to places and sights, for future reference and less footnotes ;-)

The Frascati

Thanks to the generous online access of the Rijksmuseum we can enjoy this lovely engraving in high resolution, without travelling to see it in their archives.

As you can see, it's an opulent place. Elegant. Where one goes to see and be seen, and to enjoy delicious food. Debucourt gives us an impression of the place in 1807.
The French Wikipedia Page also offers us a first hand report from an English visitor in 1802, who was quite smitten by the place.
I would love to find in some archive or other some documents telling us what they've had on offer, and how pricey it was. I interpret from it being frequented by the readership of the Journal des Dames et des Modes (what wasn't cheap), that the prices correspond, and we can use the Florian or LaDurée as a modern equivalent. The original Frascati was demolished in the 19th century, the name though lives on with an Italian Deli in the middle of Paris.

The description of the Rijksmuseum illustrates it beautifully as well: "In 1789 the Italian Garchi Café Frascati opened near the Paris Opéra. This became a spot where sophisticated Parisians went not only to enjoy perfumed ices, lemonade, punch and tea, but also, and more importantly, to be seen. On 4 August 1806 the Journal des Dames observed, ‘Last Thursday, Frascati glittered as never before. Its rooms were filled with ladies dressed up as if going to the theatre.’"

Sabine, the wonderful scholar behind Kleidung um 1800 also found a reference in the German publication Journal des Luxus und der Moden, April 1802, where a correspondent describes the splendours of Paris to the magazine's readership.
As I love to see whenever the Journals interlock and shed different bits of light on a subject, I would like to share her find: 

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

The Modern Woman...

...Doesn't carry a réticule, nor something else, but a book :-)

Today's Trouvaille from Journal des Dames et des Modes, Nr 3, Year 8 (October 1803)

The ladies go out in the morning. According to fashion, they carry neither money, nor a handkerchief, nor a réticule in their hand, but a book. Therefor the daily stroll becomes a meeting point for blue stockings. We don't see them anymore at Rennelagh; and in the evenings the fashionable family splits as such: Madame goes to watch Miss Duchesnois or Elleviou, the children visit the Pittoresque and Mechanical theatre, and Monsieur goes to Frascati.


Mlle Duchesnois: a famous tragic actress.éphine_Duchesnois

Mlle Duchesnois was a rival to today better known Mlle Georges, and a protégée of Joséphine Bonaparte. 

The Ranelagh is a théâtre established in 1722, mostly performing comedies, thus a meeting point for the Young and Beautiful.

The Frascati is like the Ranelagh or the Tivoli one of the hotspots for all the Bright a Young Things. 
Famous for Ices.

Thus the interpretation is: Madame is fashionably (read superficially)redirected towards tragedy (the higher form of theatre), the Children are enthused by technical novelties, while Monsieur visits the ice-cream parlour.