Costumes de la Suisse

January 31, 2019 at 8:52 am (entertainment, fashion, history, research, travel) (, , , )

I actually have copies of the Costumes de la Suisse – minute “vignettes,” cut out and pasted into a scrapbook. In trying to find a date for them, I found a fabulous website that presents digital copies of many albums and books of visual art. I invite you to explore! These are rare books from the collection of Mr. S.P. Lohia. You can sample pages, or browse through an entire book.

As to the dating for the Costumes de la Suisse, I’ve seen “c1810-1820”, as well as c1830. In short, I’m still not sure.

costumes of unterwalden

The above represents the “costumes” (or Trachten, in German) for Unterwalden, in Switzerland. There are no words of explanation, nor have I any idea whether my scrapbooker traveled in Switzerland, or obtained the images in England.

The images are quite small (Unterwalden is about two inches tall), but because they are hand-colored, the images are still quite vivid and spectacularly colorful.

And there are those beautiful Dirndl and Ledenhosen outfits!

suisse individual

Although Lohia owns a bound book (images of the binding are included), it’s possible these little vignettes began life as individual ‘cards’ in a slipcase, as in this version, currently for sale at a used book site. This image certainly gives a clue as to why these costumes were attractive to some young woman with a pair of scissors and a pot of glue. Her handiwork and dexterity are my reward.

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For Latin, a presentation gift “by A Lady”

August 15, 2015 at 12:56 pm (books, entertainment, europe, history, jane austen, people, research) (, , , , , , )

I have been quite enjoying a book purchased many many years ago: Grand Tours and Cook’s Tours by Lynne Withey. A few days ago, the chapter in hand discussed the mid-19th travels of English (and others) to “the playground” of Europe, Switzerland.

Now, Switzerland has a heavy presence in the Smith & Gosling world: Lord Northampton’s father and step-mother lived there in the 1780s/90s. And the 1st Marquess’ sister, Lady Frances Compton, made several lengthy trips back to a country which quite obviously tugged at her heart-strings (though she was in England more than the 6th Marquess, who wrote The History of the Comptons of Compton Wynyates, thought…). She died in Vevey, in February 1832.

So, when I found Withey mention a WOMAN author, who wrote about Switzerland in the years 1859-1860, I was intent on finding out MORE.

Withey had claimed the book published in 1861 was by “A Lady”. A very familiar appellation, for Jane Austen was initially published under the same “soubriquet”.

I found the book, online, at Archive. BUT: Looking thru the “flip book” version I didn’t even see an AUTHOR never mind the designation “A Lady”.

no A Lady

How odd….

I have a tendency to save books as PDFs – and yet I HATE reading them on the computer – so have a tendency NOT to read them in the end. Still: I HAVE them! And that’s what counts. Like the Withey book, some day I will pick it up.

So I clicked on PDF and was intrigued: up came a book-plate! That, too, was not shown on the flip-book.

And that SO intrigued me! But I’ll come back to that thought…

To finish my first thought: the PDF had the same title page (it’s the same book, from Lausanne), but it showed a beautiful little graphic; and curled up within the circle of leaves was the designation I had been missing: BY A LADY

yes A Lady

In typical Library fashion, someone has penciled in a name for “A Lady”: Mrs. Henry Freshfield.

I swear, though, that this book is often ascribed to plain HENRY Freshfield. (Her first name was JANE.)

But what happened to this little graphic (compare image 1 and image 2 – same book!)??

And – (I’m long-winded today) – here comes the original idea for this post: I had thought the book had NO author designated at all. I had chuckled to myself for surmising a story, based on spotting the first book plate (there are two):

hyde house school

This copy of Alpine Byways, or Leaves Gathered in 1859 and 1860 had been presented to a “Mr Thomas” at Hyde House School, Winchester – for LATIN!

The joke which _I_ laughed over was: Bet young Mr Thomas didn’t realize the book was written by A WOMAN! Of course that cannot be the case (joke on ME!).

Still, what an unusual presentation gift.

Could I learn more about Hyde House School – surely in Winchester, England. It does receive, though scant, notice in an 1878 Gazetteer of the County of Hampshire as “a highly respectable private boarding school”.

Even though the “joke” cannot be sustained, this small snippet from lives lived so long ago – Mrs Freshfield, fresh from her sojourn; young Mr Thomas, whose Latin scholarship was cause for a prize – is really heartwarming.

Also missing in the flip-book is this lovely dedication page — which looks quite at home in a book authored by A Lady, and quite apropos for one with a subtitle about gathered “leaves”:

alpine dedication

In short, though, I have never thought about pages or images not showing up. Who knew I was missing so much! For I typically judge a book at “Archive” in it’s flip-book persona.

* * *

An unrelated “Aside”

In the same Hampshire Gazetteer cited above is listed a school whose name JUMPS OUT because it’s all in caps and a bit of an oddity to a 21st century woman: The ASYLUM for FEMALE CHILDREN. It is described as,

“The ASYLUM for FEMALE CHILDREN, in St. Thomas Street, was established in 1816, for boarding, clothing, and educating 30 poor girls, after leaving the Central School, till they are fit for domestic service; but during their stay from 4s. to 5s. per week has to be paid for each of them from other charitable funds. They are generally required to be orphans, either fatherless or motherless.”

In 1815 Eliza Chute paid for Hester Wheeler‘s schooling somewhere in Winchester, which had a view “down College Street” and Kingsgate Street – and Hester sometimes spotted Caroline Wiggett’s brothers who were attending Winchester College.

Although the years do not overlap – 1815 versus 1816 – it’s hard not to wonder if this “asylum” wasn’t the school that Hester Wheeler simply could not, after a while, abide – so much so that she ran away. Eliza Chute specifies giving the girl a weekly allowance of 3 shillings and mentions that a “Miss Young” arrived to tell her that Hester had absconded (she was promptly sent back). If Hester had been enrolled in a school that expected to turn out domestics, this indeed could point up one reason why she sought to leave, despite being a highly clever girl. I recommend to readers my Academia-uploaded paper: “Uncovering the Face of Hester Wheeler“, which discusses also Colonel Brandon’s “two Elizas” in Sense and Sensibility.

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9 November 1829

November 9, 2008 at 8:16 pm (a day in the life) (, , , , )

On this day, Charles Smith writes in his pocket diary: “Came up from Tring to London with Mary & the two children–”

The printed diary marks this day – a Monday that year – as a Bank Holiday; the Smiths, however, had been on holiday and on the continent. A whirlwind tour of the Rhine and part of Switzerland that leaves me breathless every time I read about it.

rhine-fallsIn Mary’s diary, the trip is a litany of places; but at least she took time to write about “having seen for the first time the beautiful scenery of the Rhine”! As a lover of all things deutsch, I willingly listen to everyone’s reaction to the likes of a Grand Tour of the German Lands (so few English ventured in that direction… All the more reason to adore Mrs Trollope’s Vienna and the Austrians (1838) vol. 1 [Bentley, London]; vol. 1 &  vol. 2 [Galignani, Paris]). While Mary’s jottings sounded sparse, little did I know until I read through Charles’ description of the trip just how little could actually be recorded: his diary lists only the places by name!

So how lovely to recently come across a short account left by young Drummond Smith of this very trip (Drummond and Spencer accompanied Sir Charles and Lady Smith). What incessant rain they encountered! And that made me really wonder about nineteenth-century carriage travel – especially when seeing they donned “cloaks and umbrellas” for one entire day’s ride. And these poor drenched people on the road for twelve and fourteen hours! How Drummond howls about the state of some of the roads in the Low Countries, and the deadly pace of the horses (sometimes as little as five miles per hour). Food for thought, indeed…

Charles was not a well man, and he came home from this trip – as you read – to consult his London doctor, then spend a little time with the in-laws at Roehampton Grove. Winter is settling in by the time they return to Suttons, and Essex experiences a “fine frosty day” only ten days later.

The Smiths had left from the Tower on September 9, departing on the Steam Packet LORD MELVILLE. Two days before, Charles noted: “I came up to London & got the Passport, the Austrian Minister refused to sign it because it was obtained from the French and not from the English Minister.” Oh dear… Bureaucratic redtape! A more poignant entry the next day: “Mary and the children came up from Suttons, the little {ones} went on to Tring and were separated from their Mother for the first time–”

Drummond comments that in Aix la Chapelle they toasted Little Charles’ second birthday (September 15) with Champagne — which made them all sleep rather ill that night. Mary includes the news that “Several heavy storms” happened during the day. Drummond leaves to return to England in early October; he enters Cambridge University that fall. The trip ends for Mary and Charles on the 4th of November, and Charles draws this charming family portrait: “We arrived at Tring from London and found the dear children well and excessively improved especially the Baby whom I should not have recognized — Saw Emma’s Baby who with herself was thriving well — My Mother & Sisters were delightfully well & very glad to see us-”

Emma’s baby (her first), Cholmeley, was christened on the 6th and Charles stood godfather; the other godparents were Mrs Leigh Perrot and Mr Edward Knight, though both were “represented by deputy”. Mr Edward Austen christened his own son, at Tring Church.

By the way, Drummond was unimpressed by the Rhine Falls at Schaffhausen (pictured; courtesy of www.ancestryimages.com); he thought they were not high enough and would benefit from being placed one on top of the other.

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