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Friday, February 24, 2017

Treasure Houses of England: Castle Howard

© Cheryl Bolen
Author's Note: The Treasure Houses of England are 10 spectacular estates that are open to the public. I'll be doing a series here on each of these, seven of which I have been privileged to tour.

Charles Howard (1669-1738), the 3rd Earl of Carlisle began construction of his great baroque mansion near York in 1700. A descendent of the youngest son of Thomas Howard (4th Duke of Norfolk), the 3rd Lord Carlisle chose for his architect John Vanbrugh (who also built Blenheim Palace).

The 4th and 5th earls traveled extensively on the Continent and were great collectors, the 5th Earl having taken the Grand Tour with his lifelong friend Charles James Fox, the great Whig statesman. In addition to holding high public offices, the 5th Earl (1748-1825) added extensively to the castle’s art collection.
Castle Howard, located in York, is one of England's 10 Treasure Houses.
After the death of the 9th Earl of Carlisle in 1911 and his countess 10 years later, the estates were divided among their children. His middle-aged heir received Naworth Castle (where he had been raising his family), and the eldest daughter received Castle Howard, but she passed it to her younger brother Geoffrey Howard, Liberal MP. On his death in 1935, Castle Howard went into a family-administered trust. 

The Earls of Carlisle now own Naworth Castle, and Geoffrey Howard’s grandson, Simon Howard (born 1956), now lives at Castle Howard with his wife and young twins. He and his brother Nicholas serve as directors of the private company which owns the property.

Castle Howard is one of the most familiar of England’s great country houses because it is the setting of Brideshead Revisited , Britain's most popular TV miniseries ever--until Downton Abby.

HOUSE

The magnificence of the house, its furnishings and art, and the lavish landscaping have earned Castle Howard status as one of England’s 10 Treasure Houses.

Architect Sir JohnVanbrugh, who also designed Blenheim Palace, was untrained in architecture but was a well-known Restoration playwright and fellow Kit-Cat Club member with Lord Carlise. “Vanbrugh had a genius for bold architectural composition,” according to architectural historian Geoffrey Tyack.  Nowhere is Vanbrough’s splendid baroque boldness more apparent than in the soaring, 70-foot domed great hall of Castle Howard, which centers the house’s main block. The dome rests on pendentives that were painted by Antonio Pellegrini and supported by towering, squared Corinthian columns.
The ceiling goes up 70 feet to the top of the dome.


Corinthian columns also facade the south front, with the plainer Doric columns fronting the north. The juxtaposition of columns is just one of the clashes of classical architecture seen at Castle Howard. Because construction of the house (far too modest a word to convey its grandeur) took 117 years to complete and employed several architects, baroque and Palladian architecture blend together in Castle Howard’s exterior.

Visitors begin the tour in the west wing, which features guest rooms and state rooms with impeccably restored furnishings and museum-quality art by the Reynolds, Ruebens, Gainsborough, Holbein, and 17th and 18th century Italian masters. 

Some of the more memorable rooms on display are the 6th Countess’s bedchamber furnished with the bed given her by her parents, the 5th Duke of Devonshire and his wife Georgiana, and pictures of her 12 children; the turquoise drawing room; the museum room; the music room; the crimson dining room; the long
The Turquoise Drawing Room
gallery; the collonaded antique passage; and the China landing with its 18th century English and German porcelain.

GROUNDS

Nestled in the Howardian Hill, Castle Howard's 1,000-acre grounds feature gardens and parkland that are only part of the 6,000-acre agriculture estate surrounding Castle Howard.

Entry points to Castle Howard’s grounds feature tree-lined allees.  During the warmer months, visitors can take free guided tours of Ray Wood, or they can also take a self-guided tour with a trail booklet. Ray Wood is a lusciously planted woodland with a variety of trees and flowering shrubs that can be explored along serpentine paths.
The Temple of the Four Winds


The guided garden tour ends at Vanbrough’s Temple of the Four Winds, a grand summer house that affords sweeping views of the South Lake, Cascade, New River, the ornamental New River Bridge, and the grandest Mausoleum in the Western Hemisphere. The Mausoleum, while built by committee, was originally inspired by Nicholas Hawksmoor, the Wren-trained architect who assisted Vanbrugh and took over as Castle Howard architect after Vanbrugh’s death in 1826.

The Mausoleum is across the river and not open to the public.
Built for the 3rd Earl who created Castle Howard, the 90-foot tall, domed mausoleum supported on 20 pillars was not completed until six years after the earl’s 1758 death. To this day, family members are buried in the mausoleum, which is not open to the public. Their bodies are carried along New River to their final resting place. 


All the waterways at Castle Howard, including the great lake, are manmade. The property’s massive walled garden features three rose gardens planted with over 2,000 varieties. The South Parterre Garden of grass terraces replaces an earlier formal garden, but the parterre’s center Atlas Fountain is original.


Spending an entire day in York at Castle Howard is one of the most memorable days imaginable. In my opinion.--Cheryl Bolen's most recent book is the latest installment in her popular House of Haverstock series. It's a novella titled  Ex-Spinster by Christmas. Look for her next release in her Brazen Brides series in May.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Tartans, Plaid, and Sir Walter Scott

by Guest Blogger Josi Kilpack

My newest novel Lady of the Lakes: The True Love Story of Sir Walter Scott is my first novel set in Scotland. Having seen Braveheart once upon a time and being an avid fan of Shawn Connery’s brogue wasn’t quite enough. In order to tell the story as best I could I had to learn the history and the details of daily life in Scotland at the turn of the 19th century. So many details! One aspect I learned a great deal about was the Scottish tartan and I’m excited to share some of those details here, hopefully clear up some misconceptions that I certainly had about what is such a strong association with all of Scotland. I must put in a disclaimer that I am new to Scotland research and I know there are a lot of experts around this blog, so please correct me if I got anything wrong. I promise I can take it!
 One of the first things I learned is that as a modern American I think of “plaid” as a pattern—plaid pants, for example (no, I don’t own any 🙂 ) that guy on the MTV show that painted his parents house plaid. The pattern isn’t called plaid in Scotland, however, it’s tartan, but means the same thing—the pattern, essentially an adjective. When a Scotsman talks about a “plaid” he’s using it as a noun, and he’s referring to a woven wool blanket of tartan design. Clear as mud? 🙂

I also learned that the tartans we currently associate with different clans—for example I descend through Clan MacArthur which has its own tartan shown here—were not designated in that way prior to 1800. The colors and patterns were based on what plants were available in the area to make the dyes. It was only later, when the tartan was reintroduced, that specific tartans were more or less “assigned” to specific clans. There are other tartans that are not assigned to a specific clan, and therefore are considered generic.

And yes, I said the tartan was “Reintroduced,” another interesting tidbit I stumbled over.
I was disappointed to learn that during the years when Walter Scott was a young man, kilts and tartans were decidedly … out of fashion. After the Highland clans rose up in the ill-fated rebellions against the British crown in the 1740’s, wearing the tartan—any version of it—in public was against the law thanks to the Dress Act of 1746. The law remained in place for nearly 40 years, until it was repealed in 1782 by Parliament. Even after the repeal, however, an entire generation had become accustomed to not wearing the symbolic patterns of their ancestral clans and traditional dress and style was very similar to that of England. In 1822, when King George IV visited Edenborough—the first monarch in well over a hundred years to travel to Scotland—Walter Scott wore a kilt of Campbell tartan for the official ceremony where he was knighted a baronet. Wearing the “short kilt” became a public statement and has since become one of the strongest symbols we have of the country.

The Lady of the Lake
Walter Scott has three passions: Scotland, poetry, and Mina Stuart. Though she is young and they are from different stations in society, Walter is certain their love is meant to be. For years, he has courted her through love letters. She is the sunshine of his soul.

Though Mina shares Walter’s love of literature and romantic temperament, it’s hard for her to know if she truly loves him or if she has only been dazzled by his flattery. When she meets the handsome and charming William Forbes, her heart is challenged. Who will she choose?

But as every poet knows, “the course of true love never did run smooth,” and on one windy day in the lake country, Walter meets Charlotte.

At twenty-six, Charlotte Carpenter believes she will never find love. After all, she is a Catholic-born Frenchwoman living in London with a family history shadowed by scandal. Though quiet, practical, and determined to live a life of independence, her heart longs for someone to love her and a place to call home.

Passion and promises collide as Walter, Mina, and Charlotte must each decide the course for their futures. What are they each willing to risk to find love and be loved in return?
Josi Kilpack is the author of twenty-five novels—including the twelve-volume Sadie Hoffmiller culinary mystery series—one cookbook, and a participant in several co-authors projects and anthologies. She is a four-time Whitney award winner, including Novel of the year 2015, and winner of the Utah Best in State for fiction. She is currently writing historical romance. Josi loves to bake, sleep, read, and travel. She doesn’t like to exercise, do yard work, or learn how to do new things but she does them anyway. She and her husband, Lee, are the parents of four children and live in Northern Utah.


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Dance Like The Irish

            I’m sure I’m not the only person who suddenly discovered Irish dance through the magical show Riverdance. I’d never seen anything like it: the thundering rhythmns, the swiftly moving feet, the immobility of their arms and shoulders. It was amazing.

I’ve come to learn that Irish dancing has been around for a long time. Nobody really knows when it started, but it’s said that the first music in Ireland was brought by the Tuatha De Danann (the skilled workers) who came to Ireland from the River Elbe area in Germany around about 1600 BC.  Dance is usually thought to start before music, so Irish dance is probably older than that. What it was like no one can say.

The Celts (or Keltoi) came much later, in BC 500, bringing their dances and ritual with them, later to be labeled pagan at the time of St. Patrick (ca. AD 431) and general Christianization, but the basic pagan movements remained a part of the developing Irish dance. Then there were the Vikings (1169) and the Anglo-Normans (1169-1172), the Normans introducing round dances. Little by little the stew that became Irish dance was assembled.

What exactly those elements looked like we don’t know. How Irish dancing came to have its distinct character of intricate steps and stillness of the head and shoulders, with the clatter of sound from the feet is a matter for discussion. Some say the contrast between the body and feet of the dancers was a result of the British prohibition of Irish traditional dancing because it interfered with the British goal of forcing the Irish to become English (and Protestant) as swiftly as possible. So the Irish, the story goes, did their dancing behind curtains that came halfway up the window. Thus passing British soldiers saw only people moving around the room, never guessing that feet were tapping and skipping behind the curtain.
A more likely explanation is that when the dancing masters who were traveling all over Ireland in the 18th century (before that, most of the dance was in the northern half of the island), they had to teach wherever space was available, and between British and church disapproval, there wasn’t much space for them. The Catholic Church did not approve of dancing, least of all when both sexes took part. They taught that women, in particular, who participated in dance gatherings were evil and enemies of the Lord. So dancing was hidden away. Sometimes the only space the dancing masters had to demonstrate was a table top. Given that space, intricate footwork became the focus, with arms held at the side. Dancing across the room was clearly impossible until later when, in large part thanks to those dancing masters, dance gained enough importance to take more space and Irish dance was able to reach the height of its perfection in the solo or step dances.


Partly thanks to Riverdance and Lord of the Dance Irish dancing which had already made its way to the United States with the flood of Irish immigrants in the mid-19th century, Irish dancing is now danced internationally, often competitively. Next month I’ll talk about some of the kinds of dance—the shoes the dancer wears often shows which dances will be performed—and the music and costumes.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A Short Valentine's History




I've a story brewing in Regency England, set over Valentine's Day. And that means finding out what the celebration was really like--but it also means going back in time to really figure out the holiday. (For it was indeed once a Holy-Day.)

Like many holidays, Valentine’s Day has roots in ancient pagan celebration. The Roman festival of Lupercalia was held at the ides of February and was, a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture and to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus. (This is also the Greek god Pan, meaning this was a lively festival, Pan being what he was.) Pope Gelasius did away with the god's holiday and set February 14 to be the Feast of St. Valentine instead.

The question is—which Valentine is being sainted and feasted?

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, there were at least three early Christian saints named Valentine—it was a popular name. All three candidates were said to have been martyred on February 14, and the reasons for the sainthood are more myth than history.

One story has St. Valentine marrying soldiers even thought Claudius II had prohibited marriage for young men, claiming bachelors made better soldiers. It should be noted such a marriage ban was never issued, and that Claudius II actually told his soldiers to take two or three women for themselves after the Roman victory over the Goths.

Another tale, added centuries later, has Valentine, imprisoned by Claudius II, falling in love with the daughter of his jailer, and before he is executed sending her a letter signed "from your Valentine."
And yet another has St. Valentine executed for his Christian love and refusing to renounce his religion—which is far more likely.

The Valentine added to to the calendar of saints was most likely was buried on the Via Flaminia and his relics were kept in the San Valentino in Rome. In the Middle Ages, this was an important site for pilgrims, but  the relics were transferred to the Church of Santa Prassede, and some made their way to the Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin.

While the Roman feast for Faunus was associated with fertility, it was not until the 14th century that the Christian feast day became associated with love. UCLA medieval scholar Henry Ansgar Kelly gives Chaucer the credit for this in his book, Chaucer and the Cult of Saint Valentine. In 1381, to honor the engagement of Richard II and Anne of Bohemia, Chaucer penned "The Parliament of Fowls," linking the royal engagement to what was held to be the start of the mating season of birds and St. Valentine's Day, “For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day / Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate,”
 
While Chaucer might have linked this idea in words, it’s also possible he was simply following a popular pattern. Written valentine letters—those that have come down to us in history—appear from around 1400 and may have been around earlier but might not have survived.  After his capture at the Battle of Agincourt, Charles, Duke of Orleans, wrote a valentine to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. About sixty poems from the duke written in the early 1400’s are now in the manuscript collection at the British Library in London. In a letter sent in Norfolk in 1477, Margery Brews describes John Paston as ‘my right well beloved Valentine’.

Shakespeare also has Ophelia sing to Hamlet, “Tomorrow is Saint Valentine’s day/All in the morning betime,/And I a maid at your window,To be your Valentine.

By the Sixteenth Century, written valentines were commonplace and by the Seventeenth Century, it was a widespread tradition in England for friends and sweethearts to exchange gifts and notes on February 14. In Norfolk, 'Jack' Valentine (or Father Valentine or Snatch Valentine) knocked on the rear door of the house and left sweets and presents for children. Although he did leave treats, he could also use these to snatch up unsuspecting children.

The exchange of cards or letters exploded in England in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s.

The Ipswich Journal of 23rd February 1805 reported: On Valentine’s Day the General Two-penny Post Office received 80,000 letters – an increase from last year of 20,000.  The amount of 80,000 letters is 686£ 13s 4d.” This was an era in which the receiver of the letter paid for postage, unless the postage had been paid in advance—so a gift of a letter could be a considerable expense.

Handwritten letters were soon to be replace, however. And Valentine's Day was heading into the romantic holiday we now know--a day to woo and wed.

The British Museum currently holds what is though to be the oldest printed Valentine's card, published in January 1797 by John Fairburn of 146, Minories, London. It has been “pierced to produce a lace effect in the corners and is decorated with cupids, doves and flowers which were probably hand coloured after printing.” The verse printed states: 

"Since on this ever Happy day,/All Nature's full of Love and Play
Yet harmless still if my design,/'Tis but to be your Valentine."

The card was sent by Catherine Mossday to Mr Brown of Dover Place, Kent Road, London. Inside a handwritten message reads:  “Mr Brown, As I have repeatedly requested you to come I think you must have some reason for not complying with my request, but as I have something particular to say to you I could wish you make it all agreeable to come on Sunday next without fail and in doing you will oblige your well wisher. Catherine Mossday.”  It rather sounds like poor Catherine was an unhappy lover, but her heart was in the right place.

While no one can truly date the origin of the heart shape we use so often today, many scholars argue the symbol has its roots in the writings of Galen and Aristotle, who described the human heart as having three chambers with a small dent in the middle. In the 14th century, Guido da Vigevano created drawings featuring a heart that resembles that described by Aristotle. The shape became a symbol of romance and medieval courtly love and grew popular during the Renaissance when used in religious art depicting the Sacred Heart of Christ, or as one of the four suits in playing cards. By the 18th and 19th centuries, it had become a recurring motif in love notes and Valentine’s Day cards.


For those lovers who did not have the gift of art or poetry, booklets came out in the late 1700’s and 1800’s with verses that could be used. Kemmish's Annual and Universal Valentine Writer was printed in London in 1797, and Cupid's Annual Charter; or, St. Valentine's Festival was published in 1815 and offered poetry that could be copied and sent. And several other such booklets came out.

The full onslaught of valentine’s cards, however, began in the 1840s when Esther A. Howland began selling the mass-produced valentine cards in America made with “real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as ‘scrap.’”

In 1861, John Cadbury, who had opened a tea and coffee shop in Birmingham in 1822, expanded into chocolate manufacturing and packaged his chocolates in the world's first heart-shaped box for Valentine's Day.

The Victorians also started the idea of 'secret admirers' with the idea it bad luck to sign the cards. And they started the tradition of sending red roses, said to be the favorite flower of the goddess Venus. For while the Persian idea of the "language of flowers" had come to Europe far earlier, the Victorians popularized all sorts of “languages of love and flirtation.”

For the Regency era--unless one lived in Norfolk--it would be church and perhaps cards exchanged. And oh, those letters would arrive.

In 1969, the Catholic Church revised its liturgical calendar and removed the feast days of saints whose historical origins were questionable. St. Valentine was one of the casualties. But the date is still celebrated world-wide.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Horseback Riding in Regency England


by Donna Hatch
www.donnahatch.com 
Riding sidesaddle was the quintessence of good breeding for the Regency lady. More than a mode of transportation or a way to relax and get fresh air and exercise, it also provided a prime time to socialize—most notably with gentlemen ;-) . A lady riding sidesaddle well, also spoke, without words, one's status. Prior to Elizabethan England, ladies rode astride or sat in an awkward riding seat and hung on for dear life.

During the 17th Century, ladies started riding sidesaddle, also known as aside. Even Queen Elizabeth herself, known as the "virgin queen" because she never married, was an accomplished horsewoman who rode sidesaddle.


A lady competently riding sidesaddle, combined with a stylish riding habit, spoke louder than words of her social standing. Regency ladies had to take riding lessons, have time to practice the art of riding, and be wealthy enough to afford a horse trained as a lady's mount. Work horses could simply graze; riding horses needed feed, grooms, tack, farrier fees, etc. It became a mark of distinction and admiration.
From A Young Lady’s Equestrian Manual, published 1838:
RIDING on Horseback is, confessedly, one of the most graceful, agreeable, and salutary of feminine recreations. No attitude, perhaps, can be regarded as more elegant than that of a lady in the modern side-saddle; nor can any exercise be deemed capable of affording more rational and innocent delight, than that of the female equestrian.
Little girls learned to ride astride on a pony or donkey. As they grew and improved their skills, they learned to ride aside and usually changed to riding a horse. Thought in urban areas, riding donkeys were common, but riding in London require a beautiful horse, since in London, one rode to see and be seen, as well as get a little relaxing exercise. 

Few grown ladies rode astride even in the country. It was viewed as unladylike and scandalous. It was probably also a declaration of one's incompetence at riding sidesaddle.
Despite what you may have heard, riding sidesaddle is actually comfortable. The seat and pommel are and were padded. One sites with one's back straight like sitting in a chair with the legs crossed or sitting sideways on the bed or couch with a knee propped up higher than the other. Sidesaddle is not that different.
Mounting a horse is easy. One must simply use a mounting block or other object such as a stile or boulder or tree stump to stand on. Having a gorgeous man give one a "leg up" is always a good idea, though ;-) Horses trained to be a lady's mount will hold still while the lady mounts.
Riding, whether astride or sidesaddle, is more about balance and keeping one’s center of gravity than the saddle--just look at bareback riders and even bronco riders. A well-trained, well-behaved horse and a skilled rider are capable of doing anything sidesaddle that can be done astride. Georgian and Regency frequently "rode to hounds," a fast-paced race through the country, leaping objects such as fences, hedges, and fallen trees to keep up with the hounds as they chased a fox.
Though I occasionally see images from the Regency Era show ladies riding with a sort of seat belt wrapped around them, it was uncommon. Certainly it appeared in engravings which suggests they were used, but I doubt any lady who prided herself an expert would have been caught dead using one. Besides, you can’t always believe what you see in pictures. As a harpist, I am often surprised (disgusted?) at how many harpists are depicted playing the harp on right side instead of the left, or even from the column side rather than the soundboard side. Artists aren’t necessary expert on their subjects, especially if drawing from memory.

When writing my soon-to-be released novella, TheMatchmaking Game, I turned to A Young Lady’s Equestrian Manual, to double check the details I needed to write an accurate scene. when the hero helps the heroine mount her horse. Here is what I found: 
The horse being thus left to the lady’s government, it is proper, that, in passing her hand through the reins she should not have suffered them to become so loose as to prevent her, when her hand is on the crutch, from having a light, but steady bearing on the bit, and thus keeping the horse to his position during the process of mounting.
She next places her left foot firmly in the right hand of the groom, or gentleman, in attendance who stoops to receive it. The lady then puts her left hand on his right shoulder; and, straightening her left knee, bears her weight on the assistant’s hand; which he gradually raises (rising, himself, at the same time) until she is seated on the saddle. During her elevation, she steadies, and even, if necessary, partly assists herself towards the saddle by her hands; one of which, it will be recollected, is placed on the crutch, and the other on her assistant’s shoulder. It is important that she should keep her foot firm and her knee straight.
After ensuring I had my facts straight, I wrote my scene like this (this is when the hero and heroine, childhood friends, first realize there may be more between them than friendship):
    How kind of you to notice,” she said dryly. “Give your major a leg up?”
    With a smile at her reference to the honorary rank he’d given her at the ball, Evan dismounted. He laced his fingers together so she could mount her horse. A pert smile came his way before she placed her left foot in his cupped hands. She put one hand on his shoulder to steady herself as he boosted her up. Her soft body brushed his arm and chest. Her scent, something soft and feminine he could not name, tingled his senses. Mere inches away, her smooth cheek and moist lips taunted him. His chest squeezed and his knees wobbled. Awareness of her, of the desirable woman she had become, rendered him immobile. She glanced at him, one brow raised, and a half smile curving those luscious lips. A burning energy formed in the middle of his stomach and shot outward like sunbursts.
    She parted those lips and spoke. “Am I too heavy for a big, strong man like you?”
    “Er, no. Of course not.” He cleared his throat again and boosted her up with a bit too much force. 
    Despite his aggressive boost, she placed her right leg over the leg rest of the side saddle and found her balance. She settled the long, heavy skirts of her riding habit around her while he helped position her left foot in the stirrup.
    With the reins in one hand and her riding crop in the other, she eyed him with an expectant lift to her brows. “Shall we?”
The Matchmaking Game will be released April 18, 2017 and is available now for pre-order here:

Sources:
Much of this information came through years of research. However, some recent sources are:
Shannon Donnelly on Historical Hussies
Jill Ottman on the Jane Austen Centre of North America
Kathy Blee on Ladies Ride Aside


Friday, February 3, 2017

The Persuit of Pleasure in Georgian England

by Guest Blogger Jenna Jaxon

Georgian London was a wild and wooly place. Men gambled and drank to excess, losing fortunes in the popular gaming hells. Noblemen raced all manner of vehicles, for wagers or simply for the sheer fun of it. Duels were common and fought regularly to defend one’s honor. And the sex trade ran rampart throughout the city. Current estimates say that one in five women in London were prostitutes.
Women became prostitutes for a variety of reasons: women who had nowhere to turn to after the death of a husband might begin to sell her wares; young girls just come to town could be tricked into joining a bawdy house; children as young as eight years old were sometimes sold into prostitution. London was considered the most depraved city of the age.

As there was a class system for all English people, there was also a hierarchy for whoring. On the bottom most rung was the common streetwalker, also called a “two-penny bunter,” who did her business up against a building or fence but out in the public, albeit dark, street. Next up the ladder was the harlot who worked from rented rooms or a lower-class bawdy house (run by a bawd or female procuress). If a woman were very comely, she might find herself in a higher-class establishment (like the House of Pleasure in my series), often called a “nunnery” (shades of Shakespeare’s Hamlet!), where a woman would be taught manners, how to speak properly, and how to give men the most pleasure possible. The highest place a courtesan could aspire to was the patronage of a nobleman who would keep her in style until he grew tired of her, at which point she would move on to the next wealthy “protector.”

Although some women made fortunes at their trade—it is estimated that prostitutes of at least the middling sort could earn over 400 pounds a year—most women who fell into this life most often lived hard lives (save for the highest valued courtesans), dying in their early thirties usually of venereal diseases such as gonorrhea or syphilis.

Changes did not begin to occur in London’s tolerance for such vices until the early 19th century, when street lights were installed (banishing the dark alleys) and the beginnings of the modern day police force began to patrol the streets and take their responsibilities seriously. By the Victorian era, prostitution had severely diminished as middle-class morality was enforced more stringently. Georgian debauchery had met its match in Queen Victoria.