May 30, 2016

Bathing Beauties

written by Rosa Morgan

Temperatures are rising and it's time to take the plunge.
Ah, but we must be vigilant in our modesty.
Perhaps a gentle stroll at water's edge?

Or dare we disrobe in the sanctity of the bathhouse.
Emerging in our woolen finery to be goggled by the passerby.

But we are braver yet.
With ankles hidden in dark stockings and coquettishly crossed, we shall demurely make conversation with the handsome swim instructor. Dear, I do need another lesson.

These fine specimens of manhood
are demurely wearing skirts over their swimming trunks. 

While these gents are erring on the side of caution
with their life preservers on.

It's all fun at seaside

That is until the fashion police make a raid.
Lady you went too far! That's a lot of ankle you're showing!!

March 3, 2016


written by Rosa Morgan

At first glance the purpose of a door knocker is simply to allow people outside a house to alert those inside to their presence. Such as the delightful moment the postman delivers a sweet missive from a friend. 

If this were the door knocker’s only purpose, the design would have remained fundamentally a ring for the hand to take hold and a striking plate to create the resonating sound. However, it is the homeowner’s intent to convey a message that has led to the knocker’s artfully intricate evolution.

The earliest designs were figures with distorted features, 

thought to ward off evil spirits or witches.

This woman, perhaps a maid who is accustomed to entering only through the servant's entrance, is now delivering a message on behalf of her mistress. Feeling the importance and wealth of the homeowner, she is intimidated and timidly raises her hand to announce her arrival.

The lion has always been more popular in England 

and was roundly looked down upon in America during the Revolutionary period. It's replacement was the patriotic eagle often with warring arrows clasped firmly in its talons.

Some door knockers proclaimed the occupants' religion. The hand shaped door knocker was thought to symbolize the Hand of Fatima, which protected the house from evil and declared the occupants of the house were Muslim.

While others like this masonic inspired knocker proclaimed the resident's occupation.

Perhaps it was a favorite author that was portrayed, such as this image of William Shakespeare.

And who wouldn't love to be greeted by a playful pup?

I'm certain Tom Cat would approve!

December 25, 2015

Victorian Christmas Traditions

written by Rosa Morgan

Salutations Gentle Reader,
There are so many jolly traditions ,which arise during Christmastide; let us examine a few.

Wreaths were once worn by ancient Romans on their heads to denote victory or social status. The circular shape, with no beginning or end, represents eternity and is now used for many different holidays, especially at Christmas.

Mold-blown colored glass Christmas ornaments were invented in the small German town of Lauscha. After a picture of Queen Victoria's Christmas tree was shown in a London newspaper decorated with glass ornaments from her husband Prince Albert's native Germany, Lauscha began exporting its products throughout Europe. In the 1880s, American F.W. Woolworth made a fortune by importing the German glass ornaments to the United States.
When a man kissed a woman under the mistletoe, he would pluck a berry from the bush after each kiss. After all the berries were gone, it was bad luck to continue kissing under that bush. Keep in mind that kissing during the Victorian period was practically a marriage proposal!

Once upon a time a poor man did not have enough money to get his three daughters married. Saint Nick, passing through the village, heard of his plight and threw three bags of gold into their stockings hanging at the hearth to dry. After this singular occurrence, children all over the world hung up their own stockings, hoping for similar good luck.

Wishing Goodwill and Peace on Earth to All Men & Women.

October 31, 2015

Victorian Magicians

written by Rosa Morgan

Conjuring has been a part of mankind throughout history. Thieves used slight of hand to steal money, whilst cult leaders frightened their followers into obedience with their magic. However, it was during the Victorian era when audiences were able to enjoy the magicians' craft, which had reached its pinnacle. 

Robert-Houdin is widely considered the Father of Modern Magic. So convincing was his illusions, he was forced to reveal his secrets to the police, lest he be prosecuted for witchcraft! Watch Robert Houdin's Magic Orange Tree on YouTube, it is enchanting!

There have always been the curious who longed to see their future. The penetrating gaze of Bernardo the Seer divined wedded bliss for this young lass!

 Magicians were often associated with the occult and they often used the dark imagery in their advertisements.

John Nevil Maskelyne and George Alfred Cooke began their career by debunking other magicians. They were so successful at it, they created their own magic show at London's Egyptian Hall. As a side note: Maskelyne invented the pay toilet. Now that's some magic!

Posters for magicians are delightful works of art in themselves, but it is the magic itself that is the most intriguing. 
Check out these magic videos and hope you have a Happy Halloween!
Harry Anderson and the art of Chapeaugraphy