Saturday, May 4, 2013

Why Victorian?

For most of my life, I have had an insatiable passion for the common things that made up life during the Victorian Era (which can be literally defined as Queen Victoria's reign, 1837-1901) and a preoccupation with recreating them.

"The Long Story" by William Sydney Mount, 1837

1901 Golfing Fashion

Naturally, there is bleeding over both before and after, which is why I have defined my focus as "the long 19th Century"- roughly 1789 (the French Revolution) through 1918 (the end of World War I).

French Fashion, 1789

Actress Mabel Normand, 1918

When I was younger, I tried to assign rational reasons for why THIS was THE era I was obsessed with.  After having been deeply involved in living history related to both the Revolutionary War  and the Regency/Federal Period (and having made some of my best friends in both), I realized that there are those of us who are emotionally drawn to the tangibility of very specific points in history and that arguing "for" one period over another is irrelevant and unnecessary.

Me portraying a sergeant in Benjamin Logan's Company, 1777, on a cold day.

In early 19th Century clothes on horse back at Locust Grove

For whatever reason, there are some of us who derive gratification from exploring the minute details of specific points in time.  We should do so because not only does it give us personal satisfaction, but our findings can contribute to the massive, twisting, turning, and ever changing puzzle we call "history." No one can know or do it all, so by pursuing in depth what we truly love (and making known our findings) we contribute to a broader, more comprehensive understanding.

Through all of the work I have done on other periods, for me, the natural drive to dig deeply has remained in commonplace details nestled very neatly into the entire expanse of Queen Victoria's reign. If you were to catch me on a night when I get to choose whatever sort of reading I may to immerse myself in before going to sleep, 99 times out of 100 it will pertain to some aspect of domestic life during this period (often England but also America). From a young age, I have soaked up whatever I could about it from clothing, photographs, art, buildings, food- the list goes on and on. What follows will be my sharing of notes with you from my "digging deeply."

Yours, &c.
The Victorian Man

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