WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Done Up

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Done Up

We’re up to Plate 6 in William Hogarth’s A Rake’s ProgressScene in a Gaming House. Tom Rakewell, briefly flush with blunt after marrying for it in last week’s plate, is once again in the throes of his bad decisions. You know things are bad when you lose your hair.

The paintings of A Rake’s Progress are in the collection of Sir John Soane’s Museum, London, and are considered part of the public domain.

Done Up

Ruined by gaming and extravagances. Modern Term.

A Rake’s Progress – Plate 6 – Scene in a Gaming House (Engraving) by William Hogarth, 1735, Sir John Soane’s Museum, Public Domain.

From the Wikipedia description:

The sixth painting shows Tom pleading for the assistance of the Almighty in a gambling den at White’s club in Soho after losing his reacquired wealth. Neither he nor the other obsessive gamblers seem to have noticed a fire that is breaking out behind them.

A Rake’s Progress – Plate 6 – Scene in a Gaming House by William Hogarth, 1735, Sir John Soane’s Museum, Public Domain.

I think so much more detail can be seen in the engraving versus the oil portrait: I didn’t even notice that something was on fire in the background of the latter. Another observation for the Regency romance author is that this scene presents a sneak peek into a gambling room at White’s. An awful lot of men were crammed into that small space (possibly scenting blood in the water as Tom lost his fortune), and the decorations were spare (possibly an omission of the artist, but why decorate what men would likely not care to admire?).

 

Slang term taken from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.

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WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Clap on the Shoulder

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Clap on the Shoulder

This week we discover Plate 4 of A Rake’s Progress by William Hogarth – Arrested For Debt. Our hero, or antihero, Tom Rakewell, is truly reaping now what he has sown.

The paintings of A Rake’s Progress are in the collection of Sir John Soane’s Museum, London, and are considered part of the public domain.

Clap on the Shoulder

An arrest for debt; whence a bum bailiff is called a shoulder-clapper.

A Rake’s Progress – Plate 4 – Arrested For Debt by William Hogarth, 1735, Sir John Soane’s Museum, Public Domain.

From the Wikipedia description:

In the fourth, he narrowly escapes arrest for debt by Welsh bailiffs (as signified by the leeks, a Welsh emblem, in their hats) as he travels in a sedan chair to a party at St. James’s Palace to celebrate Queen Caroline’s birthday on Saint David’s Day (Saint David is the patron saint of Wales). On this occasion he is saved by the intervention of Sarah Young, the girl he had earlier rejected; she is apparently a dealer in millinery. In comic relief, a man filling a street lantern spills the oil on Tom’s head. This is a sly reference to how blessings on a person were accompanied by oil poured on the head; in this case, the ‘blessing’ being the ‘saving’ of Tom by Sarah, although Rakewell, being a rake, will not take the moral lesson to heart. In the engraved version, lightning flashes in the sky and a young pickpocket has just emptied Tom’s pocket. The painting, however, shows the young thief stealing Tom’s cane, and has no lightning.

A Rake’s Progress – Plate 4 – Arrested For Debt by William Hogarth, oil on canvas, 1735, Sir John Soane’s Museum, Public Domain.

 

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Young One

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Young One

Continuing our journey through William Hogarth’s series of eight paintings collectively known as A Rake’s Progress (painted from 1732-34 and published in 1735), this week we look at Plate 2: Surrounded by Artists and Professors. Based on the reaction of the title characters to our protagonist, Tom Rakewell, I picked a slang term I thought might reflect their feelings.

The paintings of A Rake’s Progress are in the collection of Sir John Soane’s Museum, London, and considered part of the public domain.

Young One

A familiar expression of contempt for another’s ignorance, as “ah! I see you’re a young one.” How d’ye do, young one?

A Rake’s Progress, Plate 2: Surrounded by Artists and Professors by William Hogarth, 1735, Sir John Soane’s Museum, Public Domain.

From the Wikipedia description:

In the second painting, Tom is at his morning levée in London, attended by musicians and other hangers-on all dressed in expensive costumes. Surrounding Tom from left to right: a music master at a harpsichord, who was supposed to represent George Frideric Handel; a fencing master; a quarterstaff instructor; a dancing master with a violin; a landscape gardener Charles Bridgeman; an ex-soldier offering to be a bodyguard; a bugler of a fox hunt club. At lower right is a jockey with a silver trophy. The quarterstaff instructor looks disapprovingly on both the fencing and dancing masters. Both masters appear to be in the “French” style, which was a subject Hogarth loathed. Upon the wall, between paintings of roosters (emblems of Cockfighting) there is a painting of the Judgement of Paris.

Interestingly, in this painting’s colorized version, the image is not reversed, unlike the image in the Plate No. 1 last week. So my theory of the copying process reversing the scene was evidently spot-on (she reports with heavy sarcasm).

A Rake’s Progress, Plate 2: Surrounded by Artists and Professors by William Hogarth, 1735, Sir John Soane’s Museum, Public Domain.

 

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Chub

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Chub

I felt the need to begin a series of posts illustrating William Hogarth’s series of eight paintings from 1732-34 (and published en masse in 1735) known as A Rake’s Progress. The paintings reveal the rise, decline, and demise of Tom Rakewell, the son and heir of a wealthy merchant who inherits, comes to London, lives out the parable of the Prodigal Son, and eventually takes an involuntary tour of the Fleet Prison and Bedlam. The paintings are in the collection of Sir John Soane’s Museum, London, and considered part of the public domain.

Chub

He is a young chub, or a mere chub; i.e. a foolish fellow, easily imposed on: an illusion to a fish of that name, easily taken.

Plate No. 1, A Rake’s Progress, The Young Heir Takes Possession of the Miser’s Effects. From the Wikipedia description:

In the first painting, Tom has come into his fortune on the death of his miserly father. While the servants mourn, he is measured for new clothes. Although he has had a common-law marriage with her, he now rejects the hand of his pregnant fiancée, Sarah Young, whom he had promised to marry (she holds his ring and her mother holds his love letters). He pays her off, but she still loves him, as becomes clear in the fourth painting. Evidence of the father’s miserliness abound: his portrait above the fireplace shows him counting money; symbols of hospitality (a jack and spit) have been locked up at upper right; the coat of arms shows three clamped vises with the motto “Beware”; a half-starved cat reveals the father kept little food in the house, while lack of ashes in the fireplace demonstrates that he rarely spent money on wood to heat his home. The engraving at the right shows the father went so far as to resole his shoes with a piece of leather cut from a Bible cover.

A Rake’s Progress – Plate 1 – The Young Heir Takes Possession Of The Miser’s Effects, by William Hogarth, 1735, Sir John Soane’s Museum, Public Domain.

I thought it was interesting that the colorized version was reversed, I’m assuming due to the printing/copying process. Based on the description of this first plate, it’s about to get all biblical up in here for Tom.

A Rake’s Progress – Plate 1 – The Young Heir Takes Possession Of The Miser’s Effects, by William Hogarth, 1735, Sir John Soane’s Museum, Public Domain.

 

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Lombard Fever

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Lombard Fever

Short and sweet this week. The slang term is pretty self-explanatory, and it’s finally too pretty outside for any of us to stay glued to our electronic devices, reading blog posts.

But I’ve found a new phrase to use when we hear those dreaded words: “I’m bored.”

Sir William Pulteney ‘Le Trèsorier’ by James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey, 21 May 1798, National Portrait Gallery.

Lombard Fever

Sick of the lombard fever; i.e. of the idles.

John Courtenay ‘Juge du Tribunal Correctionnel’ by James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey, 21 May 1798, National Portrait Gallery.

 

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Grunter

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Grunter

One of my favorite phrases is ‘dab hand,’ and to quote Manuel from Fawlty Towers: “I learned it from a book.” Which also happens to be one of the funniest twelve episodes of television, ever.

But I digress.

I often make one of the characters in my novels a ‘dab hand’ at home medicine. This could be anything from herbal concoctions to poultices and plasters. This is historically accurate: at least one female in a Regency household would have known how to confer simple remedies in a pinch, until a doctor could be fetched or patient transported for care, if on the road.

Grunter

Complain of sickness.

George III Mahogany Medicine Chest, late 18th century, with label printed Ireland & Hollier Apothecaries & Chemists, No. 22 Pall Mall, Family Medicine Chests compleat [sic] and Genuine Patent Medicines &c, sold at Sotheby’s in 2017.

So what would those with a dab hand dispense? After heading to their still room, where all their ingredients would be stored, they’d brew, grind, or compound some easy to swallow (elderberry syrup), and some not-so-easy-to-swallow creations:

Take pearls, crab’s-eyes, red coral, white amber, burnt hartshorn, and oriental bezoar, of each half an ounce; the black tips of crabs-claws three ounces; make all into a paste, with a jelly of vipers, and roll it into little balls, which dry and keep for use.
(from The Compleat Housewife or, Accomplish’d Gentlewoman’s Companion, 15th edition, 1753, compiled by Eliza Smith, as reported at Jane Austen’s World)

19th Century Traveling Apothecary Medicine Chest, containing 10 glass bottles and original scales, sold at Auctions at Showplace in 2017.

Also according to Jane Austen’s World – from The Claude Moore Colonial Farm at Turkey Run – here are the myriad ways an herbal remedy may be prepared:

Infusion: A liquid made by soaking an herb – usually its dried leaves or flowers – in liquid. An herbal tea is really an infusion.
Decoction: A liquid made by boiling an herb.
Poultice: A soft, moist mass of bread, meal, herbs, etc. applied to the body.
Plaister: A solid or semi solid remedy, spread on cloth or leather and applied to the body.
Electuary: Powder dried herb and mix with three times as much honey.
Oil: Fresh or dried herb is soaked in oil to extract the essences of the herb. Usually applied externally.
Ointment: Fresh or dried herb is soaked in lard to extract the essences of the herb, then mixed with beeswax and turpentine. Applied externally.

Mahogany Regency Medicine Cabinet with 23 medicine bottles, circa 1820, from Richard Gardner Antiques.

The handy housewife, well-trained housekeeper, or bluestocking daughter (otherwise known as a spinster-in-the-making) could make things such as “bottles of saline draughts, barley-water, lemonade, jars of calves’ foot or pork jelly, as well as blisters and plasters,” according to Nancy Mayer, Regency Researcher. Surely being fed calves’ foot jelly was the source of the idiom the cure is worse than the disease.

To procure the more potent medicines, you’d need to consult an apothecary or doctor, although potent didn’t necessarily mean safer (think mercury and opium).

We’ll visit them next week.

Until then, please consider heading over to Regina Jeffer’s delightful home on the internet and reading her exhaustive Herbal Medicine Used in Regency Period. There was no need for me to re-hash what had already been done thoroughly and well (Bonus: she shows how she incorporated her research into a novel!). Pin it, bookmark it, and put a shortcut to it on your desktop while you’re there.

 

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Clerked

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Clerked

This week’s word brought to you by the wonderfully expressive Mr. Knightley.

Clerked

Soothed, funned, imposed on. “The cull will not be clerked;” i.e. the fellow will not be imposed on by fair words.

“Surprises are foolish things. The pleasure is not enhanced, and the inconvenience is often considerable.”
Volume II, Chapter 8, Emma

“Not your vain spirit, but your serious spirit. –If one leads you wrong, I am sure the other tells you of it.”
Volume III, Chapter 2, Emma

“There is one thing, Emma, which a man can always do, if he chuses, and that is, his duty; not by manoeuvring and finessing, but by vigour and resolution. It is Frank Churchill’s duty to pay this attention to his father. He knows it to be so, by his promises and messages; but if he wished to do it, it might be done.”
Volume II, Chapter 18, Emma

“Upon my word, Emma, to hear you abusing the reason you have, is almost enough to make me think so too. Better be without sense, than misapply it as you do.”
Volume I, Chapter 8, Emma

“Emma, I must once more speak to you as I have been used to do: a privilege rather endured than allowed, perhaps, but I must still use it. I cannot see you acting wrong, without a remonstrance. How could you be so unfeeling to Miss Bates? How could you be so insolent in your wit to a woman of her character, age, and situation?—Emma, I had not thought it possible.”
Volume III, Chapter 7, Emma

“Men of sense, whatever you may chuse to say, do not want silly wives.”
Volume I, Chapter 8, Emma

“Vanity working on a weak head, produces every sort of mischief.”
Volume I, Chapter 8, Emma

Mr. Knightley – Can I get a witness, please?!

 

  • Slang term taken from the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.
  • The above quotes are from the Jane Austen novel Emma, but are not matched to the gif scenes from the BBC/PBS miniseries Emma starring Jonny Lee Miller and Romola Garai from 2010. I just liked the quotes and JLM’s expressions. Apologies if this sets off anyone’s need for matchiness.