Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Well, I am a little late with the trivia question this week due to a holiday on Monday and the busyness of working two jobs at present. Last week's query was:- What 17th century composer was portrayed by Gerard and Guillaume Depardieu in the movie Tous Les Matins du Monde?

Solene, in France, correctly answered that it was Marin Marais. If you haven't seen the movie, Solene and I both highly recommend it.

This week I'll give you an easy one since there is less time to guess:- What famous artisan is honored by today's Google Doodle, seen above?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Trivia Monday

Well, no one was able to guess the answer to last week's trivia question, which is understandable since it was a tough one. "What Roman Emperor was found dead on May 15th, 392 in Vienne, Gaul?" The answer is Emperor Valentinian II, who was found hanged in his residence. Interestingly, he was accorded a Christian burial, as he had requested baptism, which could indicate that the belief was that he was murdered. On the other hand, no inquiry into his death was made yielding suspects.

For this week we'll skip ahead to the 17th century:- What 17th century composer was portrayed by Gerard and Guillaume Depardieu in the movie Tous Les Matins du Monde?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Regency Picnic Event Photos

Well, I never did get to make my outfit and attend the Virginia Regency Society's picnic today, due to work obligations; but for those of you who, like me, still want to see how much fun was had and how splendid everyone looked photos can be found here. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Monday, May 14, 2012

Trivia Monday

Last week's question was:- Edmund Spenser's poem The Faerie Queene was written as an allegorical work in favor of what monarch?

Sarah, it turns out, is quite the expert on the poem and she answered "The Faerie Queene was written in favor of Queen Elizabeth I, whose multi-faceted personality was represented variously as Una, Britomart, the eponymous Faerie Queene herself, etc...!"

Quite right!

Now onto the trivia for this week, and for this one we're reaching very far back:- What Roman Emperor was found dead on May 15th, 392 in Vienne, Gaul?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Emerson On Beauty

“Love of beauty is Taste. The creation of beauty is Art.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, May 7, 2012

Trivia Monday!

Trivia Monday got off to a good start with the question "What were the two styles of women's hoods prevalent at the court of Henry VIII?" An Anonymous visitor responded with the correct answer, which is the Gable hood and the French hood, as seen below respectively.

The Gable hood came first and was gradually replaced in popularity by the French hood, which was rumored to be a fashion brought back to England by the young Anne Boleyn, who had served at the French court.

On to the trivia question for this week:- Edmund Spenser's poem The Faerie Queene was written as an allegorical work in favor of what monarch?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Fim Review- The Songcatcher

The Songcatcher is set in 1907 and follows the experience of a female Professor of Musicology, Lily Penleric, who when once again rejected for tenure decides to visit her sister, Eleanore, who has a school in the wilds of Appalachia. Once there Lily discovers that the people of the region have handed down Old English ballads from generation to generation without adulteration by the outside world. She begins to collect these works by recording them on gramaphone cylinders and writing the songs out, but there are more than a few challenges to contend with.

Viewers are not likely to recognize many of the actors in the film, with the exception of Aidan Quinn who plays a war veteran named Tom Bledsoe. He is initially very suspicious of Lily, and their relationship gets off to a rocky start, but soon becomes just what you expect. Things you might not expect include; Lesbianism, stripping naked while running from wild animals, cars driving up the mountains, and Bible-tent murder.

The screenplay was written and directed by Maggie Greenwald, for whom this was her best-known film. I found it at times very predictable with a lot of stock characters, like Earl Giddens, the representative of a Coal-mining firm that wants to buy everyone's land, and the ending was exactly what I was expecting from the start.

Having said that there were some things that I very much enjoyed about the film. It was not another Edwardian comedy of polite society, and the plaintive songs were just what I was craving when I selected the movie. I liked that Lily never entirely became just one of the mountain folk, that would have been too easy and wrong for the character of someone who has struggled her whole life for professional recognition; but she did bring a perspective of value to something which they took for granted almost, and that in turn gave her a certain standing in their community.

In short, don't watch this film for it's award-winning performances, there aren't any. Watch it for a story more rarely told, and music beautifully and realistically rendered.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tudor Fashions for Women

In light of our trivia question for this week I thought we'd take a look at some images of Tudor dress for women.
English noblewoman 1538
This first image is from a small portrait miniature, which seem to have been very popular at the time. She wears the square-necked gown and bell-shaped sleeves of the typical Tudor dress, with slightly puffed undersleeves which would date this gown to the earlier part of the reign of Henry VIII. Her French hood and double parure necklace are also typical features of Tudor costume from Henry VIII's reign.

Princess Elizabeth 1546
Red was a popular color in Tudor England and in this famous portrait of the future queen we see that the square neck and conical bodice are still in vogue, but the neckline has become much wider moving out almost off the shoulders. The undersleeves have grown much larger and are now clearly false, not attached continuing past the narrow portion of the oversleeve. The french hood is smaller with an almost-imperceptible veil. To change up this look all you'd have to do is switch the undersleeves and forepart (visible underskirt panel).

Queen Mary 1554
By 1554 Elizabeth's sister Mary was Queen of England, and her devotion to the Catholic Church showed itself in many things. In this portrait we can see not only very large cross at her neck, but her body itself is much more covered in giving with a modest approach to dress. The sleeves themselves seem to have shrunk somewhat, though it is hard to tell since she stands behind something. The dress itself is a rich glowing brown velvet with a white wing collar that is distinctive to Mary's reign and would morph into the giant ruff collars of Elizabeth's.

Elizabeth I 1563
Here we have Elizabeth once more in a red dress, but this time the neckline, which has returned to a squarish shape sits more firmly on the shoulders, and is even flanked by large padded rolls at the head of the sleeves. There is still a split in the skirt showing a forepart, but the neckline is filled in with a sheer partlet and the standing collar has more formally become the ruff. Perhaps the most striking difference is in the sleeves, which have done away entirely with the bell shape and become close-fitting, all the puffing and slashing being moved to the outside.

This last dress really begins to show signs of what we would more properly call the Elizabethan style. Under Elizabeth dress would reach incredible excesses in proportion, variety, and decorative technique. Here we see the last vestiges of the slightly more subdued lines of the Tudor "triangles"; the conical bodice, bell skirt, and by this time we've already lost the flared sleeves. Perhaps next we'll look at Elizabethan styles; they definitely are too varied to have anything but a post of their own.