Where would we be without romance? What was courtship and marriage like for our distant ancestors? Beginning with the ancient Greeks’ recognition of the need to describe more than one kind of love, inventing the word eros to describe carnal love, and agape to mean a spiritual love, take a stroll back through romantic heritage with this timeline of romantic customs, dating rituals, and tokens of love. In ancient times, many of the first marriages were by capture, not choice — when there was a scarcity of nubile women, men raided other villages for wives. Frequently the tribe from which a warrior stole a bride would come looking for her, and it was necessary for the warrior and his new wife to go into hiding to avoid being discovered. According to an old French custom, as the moon went through all its phases the couple drank a brew called metheglin, which was made from honey. Hence, we get the word, honeymoon. From buying a woman dinner to opening a door for her, many of today’s courting rituals are rooted in medieval chivalry. During medieval times, the importance of love in a relationship emerged as a reaction to arranged marriages but was still not considered a prerequisite in matrimonial decisions. Suitors wooed their intended with serenades and flowery poetry, following the lead of lovelorn characters on stage and in verse.
7 Ways to Flirt Like a Victorian
Victorian courtship and online dating may seem unrelated, but English Department Chair and Professor of English Language and Literature Jennifer Phegley has related the two together. Paying particular attention to matrimonial dating notices in the Victorian era, Phelgey puts a modern spin on the topic by referencing the surging popularity of dating websites like eHarmony and Match. As a result, people were matched based on how their profiles advertised themselves to the unknown public.
The model for this newly-developing marriage came from an unusual source, the marriage of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Nevertheless, popularity grew, giving rise to private matchmakers, and eventually, the modern-day dating industry. Your email address will not be published.
The Romantic Period marked the start of the Victorian Era. However, some elements endured and saw transformations, some of which can help date a piece.
Her reign over Great Britain and Ireland set a stricter moral tone for much of European and American society. Because of this, courtship was an extremely codified affair. Women of the middle and upper classes were expected to conform to the sentimental idealization promoted by the literature and art of the time. Even the fashions of the day, like tight corsets and hoop skirts, symbolized the rigid structure women were expected to live within.
Maintaining a spotless reputation was essential for both men and women, and once each was of marriageable age, there was a timetable and script to follow to matrimony. Once a young woman was done with her schooling, she would be presented to society to show she was in the market for a husband. Wealthy families might hold a series of parties, middle-class families generally held one private party or dance, and girls from working class families usually did without a celebration and simply signaled they were of age by wearing their hair up, dressing in long skirts and joining the adults for dinner and on social calls.
When there was romantic interest, the young man was expected to act as the pursuer. Men were cautioned not to pay too much attention to a woman unless he was serious about her and also financially ready for marriage — or soon to be. Yet with little privacy, young couples lacked the opportunity to get to know each other well before confronting the question of marriage. Poor couples generally made an effort to be as respectable as their wealthier counterparts, but the rules were more lax.
Once a working-class couple decided to marry, they could socialize together with only a younger sibling as a chaperone. Premarital sex was tolerated in such cases, because announcing an engagement was considered a verbal contract. Sabine McKellen began her career teaching English as a Second Language to adults from around the world.
Dating old photos
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Dating and understanding your Victorian family photos – online talk that can be gleaned by studying our ancestors clothing in Victorian times.
Commercial portrait photography began in the s and old family photographs can portray ancestors from the early-Victorian era onwards. Many historic photos surviving today are undated and unidentified and we can use various methods to work out their time period:. This can help, but studio data may be elusive, patchy or too broad to pinpoint a close date for a given photograph.
All available evidence should be considered, but often most useful for accurate photo dating are the picture clues, especially the fashions worn by their subjects: clothes, accessories and hairstyles. Victorian dress styles were complex, determined by age, status and location: fashion also accelerated between the s and s. Here is a brief guide to the main trends. Gentlemen generally wore a slender frock coat with deep V-fronted waistcoat, broad black cravat and tall top hat often removed for photographs , while working men might favour looser jackets and trousers, low-crowned caps and a narrow neck tie or neckerchief.
Menswear grew easier-fitting in the later s, and mature men often adopted the newly-fashionable beard, grown from the sideburns beneath the chin. Hair was sleek, typically drawn down low over the ears; sometimes outdoor bonnets and shawls or short wide jackets were worn for mid-century photographs. Photographs, more numerous from the s, reflect changing fashions of the decade.
Rules of the Game: Love, courtship, marriage, sex and married life from the 19th century until 1939
What people are wearing in historical photographs can offer many clues as to the earliest possible date of a portrait, group photograph, or street scene with figures. Dress details may provide additional information, such as the social status of the wearer, their occupation, and sometimes their location or region. The details need to be compared with fashionable dress of a given date, and then subtle judgments may be made, or additional data supplied through knowledge of the family tree, the photographer’s name and address, or the nature of other contributory details such as studio props.
Knowledge of the history of photography in terms of various processes and their dates of introduction, styles of image produced such as the carte-de-visite, and the size of images most popular at different times, can also be brought to bear.
Dressing for dinner was the equivalent of getting ready for a hot date. Here are the ridiculous dating rules from the s. 19 /
A fine Victorian family group but not much use unless you have some idea of the main people in the picture. Here we appear to have a Victorian patriarch, centre front, with his wife on his right , his sons and daughters possibly with their spouses and either his mother or his mother-in-law, next to the young boy. The young men all look to be in their 30s but probably range from 20 upwards. Clothes can help identify the period in which a picture might have been taken — but not always.
The stern preacher on the left is clearly dressed in the frock coat and clerical collar of the late 19th century — but he is still wearing the coat, below, 20 or more years later. This was not the case in the mid s when, even though cameras were used for family snapshots, every picture had to count on a exposure roll of film. In the century before most people did not even have the luxury of a camera and relied on special trips to the photographer for family portraits. These might be a once-in-a-lifetime visit for some families and there are plenty who could not even afford that once.
If you do have old family pictures, hopefully with some form of identification as to the people in them, then take care of them. You have to remember that in Victorian times styles of clothing made some people look much older than they were. Children often wore similar styles to their parents and with the penchant for beards among men until almost the end of the century it could be difficult to tell whether two men were father and son or brothers. The problem is fashions sometimes arrived late in an area or lasted longer so other clues are also needed.
Props can help in picture identification — the chair as an ornament, or something to hold on to rather than a seat tends to point to the s or early s.
Romance Through the Ages
The Victorian period is also regarded as the era of Romanticism. In those days, courtship was considered to be a tradition and was very popular. Queen Victoria and her family were the idols of the Victorian society, even in the case of courtship.
Although the Victorian era was a period of extreme social inequality, industrialisation brought about rapid changes in everyday life that affected all classes.
The Victorian period began on the 20th of June , when Princess Victoria became Queen at the age of She reigned as Queen of Great Britain for 64 years and seven months, until her death on the 22nd of January The latter part of the Victorian era coincides with the Belle Epoque era meaning beautiful era of mainland Europe and the Gilded Age of the United States.
This was a period of prolonged peace and prosperity in the UK, with the standard of living increasing greatly. Which lead to an increase in demand for luxury goods, such as jewellery which were now being mass-produced as part of the industrial revolution. She not only wore it but designed it and gave it as gifts throughout the British Empire. Although the Victorian Jewellery period spanned 64 years, it is divided into three sections, early, mid and late Victorian. Reflected the great romance between Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
With floral motifs of roses, pansies, daisies and forget-me-nots.
What You Had to Do to Hook Up in the Victorian Era
In the s dating was quite a bit different to how things are done today. People would court for a time and then marry, often times knowing little about relationships or even the opposite sex in general. But, towards the end of the 19th century, newspaper advertisements were one way that lonely singles could potentially find love in what were early dating service schemes. Sadly, not all of these schemes were above board. The singletons who fell for this scheme then had their matches -fake heiresses and lords supplied by the association- fall out of contact.
Then the association would match them with other working class people who had next to no money at all.
A collection of Victorian and Edwardian photographs and a useful how to put a date on an old photo. A date will sometimes help fit a photo into a family tree. Constructed Some 20th Century PhotographsChurch of England Vicars c
In the history of the United Kingdom , the Victorian era was the period of Queen Victoria ‘s reign, from 20 June until her death on 22 January In terms of moral sensibilities and political reforms, this period began with the passage of the Reform Act There was a strong religious drive for higher moral standards led by the nonconformist churches, such as the Methodists , and the Evangelical wing of the established Church of England.
Britain’s relations with the other Great Powers were driven by the colonial antagonism of the Great Game with Russia, climaxing during the Crimean War ; a Pax Britannica of international free trade was maintained by the country’s naval and industrial supremacy. Britain embarked on global imperial expansion, particularly in Asia and Africa, which made the British Empire the largest empire in history.
National self-confidence peaked. Ideologically, the Victorian era witnessed resistance to the rationalism that defined the Georgian period and an increasing turn towards romanticism and even mysticism with regard to religion, social values, and arts. Domestically, the political agenda was increasingly liberal, with a number of shifts in the direction of gradual political reform , social reform, and the widening of the franchise. There were unprecedented demographic changes: the population of England and Wales almost doubled from However, Ireland’s population decreased sharply, from 8.
The unsolved problems relating to Irish Home Rule played a great part in politics in the later Victorian era, particularly in view of Gladstone’s determination to achieve a political settlement in Ireland. In the strictest sense, the Victorian era covers the duration of Victoria’s reign as Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland , from her accession on 20 June —after the death of her uncle, William IV —until her death on 22 January , after which she was succeeded by her eldest son, Edward VII.
Her reign lasted for 63 years and seven months, a longer period than any of her predecessors. The term ‘Victorian’ was in contemporaneous usage to describe the era.