Here’s to a better 2021…
While I’ve been absent the novel has been undergoing a few changes, hence the silence here…
Rewriting is harder than producing that first draft; between the one draft ending and the next beginning more thoughts and layers emerge with every missing scene I include.
I even discovered that a scene I thought was in the first draft wasn’t actually there… obviously one that had escaped the keyboard.
I’ve also made a few changes to the website which I hope will make navigation quicker and you will like.
The new colour scheme may still need adjustment. Having visual issues myself I’m aware that some readers may have difficulties, so do please use the contact form to let me know if the colour scheme creates any clarity issues and where…
My latest charity shop book find was a hardback version of the History of Underclothes*
Now it’s not the original version from 1951, but a 1981 edition with revisions.
I also have this paperback version of it that’s smaller, but I prefer the hardback for the clearness of the illustrations – it may just be the font size and amount of ink used when the book was printed.
(I bought the paperback version in the gift-shop at The Blandford Fashion Museum many years ago during a family summer holiday.)
I always find the material at the back of this book interesting and helpful.
There’s a comprehensive Source of the Illustrations, chapter by chapter.
The Bibliography gives both the primary and secondary sources.
I particularly like the Glossary of Materials.
Muslin had different types – something I didn’t appreciate, and couldn’t describe the differences without a little information.
The book covers underclothes from the Medieval period up to 1940-1950.
There’s even a Appendix of Clothes Rationing for May 1942, giving the number of coupons needed for various items of underclothes, both male and female.
If you disregard C.W Cunnington’s earlier books with his apparent theories on women, fashion and sexuality, those books written with his wife Phillis are a good starting point for historical fashion.
When I began writing, it was their books on English Women’s Clothing in the 18th Century and the 19th century version that were both the first costume reference books I studied.
Don’t ignore those books that Phillis wrote after her husband’s death (1961); they provide interesting and useful information too on the clothes ordinary people wore…
Phillis Cunnington: born 1887 and died 1974.
* The History of Underclothes by C. Willett & Phillis Cunnington, with revisions by A. D. and Valerie Mansfield. Faber and Faber, 1981.
While I’ve been absent and unable to make progress due to work on the wiring and plumbing in my home, I’ve been storing the disruption and emotions to share with the hero of my work in progress, Hugh.
Hugh has a platoon of workmen updating his manor, but trouble-free is not the plan.
He could find alternate lodgings but having been absent for so long it wouldn’t be desirable in the circumstances he faces.
The time away from the manuscript has also allowed me to develop the options for the gaps left in the first draft- that must be resolved in the second.
Also the antagonists have revealed their motives and produced a few surprises.
Progress will be made this year…
My blog has sadly been neglected over the summer months, so the time has come to correct that situation.
‘Shaping the Body’ at the Castle Museum is an ongoing exhibition, one among many other wonderful exhibits. The route around the Museum starts with a display of a late 18th century Georgian Room that included a large doll’s house in the corner.
Eventually you reach the upper gallery where the costumes are displayed, and while it isn’t extensive there is a good selection of costumes and accessories for each time period.
There’s even a small selection of costumes that you could try on-you need to be slim to fit the dress with the space for panniers, even with Velcro fastenings I could not have gotten the dress up my arms, but I was still able to try on the panniers that went with it.
They were probably much more comfortable than the real thing, as these were a thick foam inside a fabric covering. Nevertheless they still gave the impression of the width that would be created once the dress was in place.
I particularly liked how the exhibition curators had brought context to the exhibits with interesting information.
The pair of brown stays on display (from 1760-80) also noted the UK equivalent size now- size 8. That seems quite thin, but women were smaller and shorter than they are now.
Spread across the displays were shoes from each time period (more about those in my next post).
The Dangers of Fashion were on display too. One cabinet held a beautiful green dress, but the dye was deadly as it contained arsenic. You can find out more about this aspect of fashion from this post.
But it was the large glass Chemist’s bottle that once held Belladonna that drew my attention. The contents were used as drops to enlarge the pupils, but with prolonged use it would cause blurred vision and even blindness.
(As this bottle was low down in the cabinet I crouched down to take the photo, but when I went to get back up, my back bag and gravity tipped me backwards onto the stone slabs. Thank you to the lady who came to offer me help in getting up. Next time I’m in this situation I will kneel instead.)
Leaving the gallery the centuries on show passed by until the sixties arrived, and for anyone over 50 years old, there were lots of recognisable items, toys, posters, music, adverts and information on television shows.
A good place to visit whether young or old, and whatever era you’re interested in…
It’s been some time since I last posted, but that was because my computer was in rapid decline.
Sadly the blue screen of death and crashes were becoming regular occurrences.Then earlier this past week it finally died on me.
I’m now familiarizing myself with Windows 10, and adding useful bits and pieces that I loved using on Windows 7.
My office isn’t yet back to normal- everything is still in bags and boxes, so my weekend will be spent returning everything to its correct place.
But it is dust-free, as after moving everything to reach the cables, I was able to get the Hoover in and remove the fine coating and dust-webs making a home in the corners…
It’s also given me the opportunity to find the reference books and papers that I need to refer to during my second draft.
I’m eager to start again, but not sure of Office 365 yet; I have a trial copy on the computer.
I miss Windows 7…
Back to routine soon.
Like many writers I’m signed up to newsletters from museums and history related organisations, so I thought I’d share with you news of the next main exhibition at the Fashion Museum in Bath.
It’s called A History of Fashion in 100 Objects. It opens 19th March this year and runs until 1st January 2018.
The exhibition showcases fashion history from 1500 to the present day. So there will be something for every visitor whether you’re a fan of Regency fashion or the elegant gowns of the House of Worth, and then on into the 20th century and beyond.
I like the idea of the ten shoe ‘moments’ they’re including, and ten ‘historical looks’ for children (1700s – 2000s).
Sadly I have to plan well in advance and save up for trips that can’t be managed within the day – as they’ll require hotel stays, so I probably won’t get to visit the 100 fashion objects until 2017.
If you’re fortunate to live within a short travelling distance from exhibition venues, do visit. So many museums depend upon local support to keep running, whether they’re well known, or a small museum in your town or nearest city.
Meanwhile I’ll be checking the newsletters for any exhibitions or events of interest I can get to.
If you know of any museum newsletters that you’d recommend signing up to, do please share the details in the comments…