Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Page 12 Good Bye

Page 12 of Issue #12 "The Dreamer" Webcomic.
Preview of page 13

Page 11 The Kiss

Page 11 of Issue #12 of the webcomic The Dreamer.  Stay tune for page 12 and what is happening with this Issue!
Preview of Page 12

Saturday, April 27, 2013

General Sir William Howe's Mistress

Mrs. Elizabeth Loring has gone down in the pages of history as the notorious mistress of Britain's General William Howe.  Making matters worse is the claim that her husband turned a blind eye to the affair in order to receive a lucrative government appointment.

While Joshua Loring was overseeing the housing and feeding of rebel prisoners during the winter of 1777-78, his wife was part of the General Howe's entourage that was enjoying the delights of Philadelphia. Records of the period note that Elizabeth accompanied Howe "everywhere" in the city and that she "became a leader in society". Was she simply a good friend and companion -- or his mistress?

Whether innocent or guilty, Mrs. Loring's reputation as the British general's mistress would be set in stone in 1778 thanks to an often-quoted bit of propaganda titled The Battle of the Kegs. Written by Francis Hopkinson, a man who had signed the  Declaration of Independence, the poem contained this verse:


 Sir William he,
snug as a flea,
Lay all this time a snoring,
Nor dreamed of harm
as he lay warm,
In bed with Mrs. Loring.


 





 Was Hopkinson stating what everyone already knew, or was he making a salacious conjecture? It would not be the first time an enemy leader would be accused of sexual impropriety. Although some historians claim that there were many such "ditties" exposing Howe's reputed indiscretions, Hopkinson's poem is in fact the only such jib at the British general. Does one poem a mistress make?
A decade later, Judge Thomas Jones offered his own opinion of Mrs. Loring when he wrote his manuscript about the Revolution in New York. A loyalist himself, Jones was furious that the British had lost the war and lay the blame squarely on Howe's shoulders -- and Mrs. Loring's charms.
"As Cleopatra of old lost Mark Antony the world, so did this illustrious courtesan lose Sir William Howe, the honour, the laurels, and the glory, of putting an end to one of the most obstinate rebellions that ever existed." 
Was Jones giving an impartial ruling -- or did his contempt for the bungling of the British military blur his vision of the actual events? Interestingly, he offers no details to back up his charges -- a curious omission for one who was use to gathering evidence to prove a point in a court of law. 
Coming to Elizabeth Loring's defense are two American historians, hardly the sort of people who would take the side of a loyalist. Eva P. Boyd points out that Hopkinson's poem and Jones' history are the only two sources that suggest Elizabeth Loring was anything more than a companion to General Howe. Was the 25 year-old beauty and mother of two --as Boyd suggests-- merely "careless of her reputation" during that winter in Philadelphia? Had Howe and Loring simply "danced too often together"? 
Another American historian, John Alden, allows that perhaps the loss of her child in 1775 and the political upheavals might have led Elizabeth Loring to embrace a devil-may-care lifestyle. However, he thought it much more likely that Elizabeth was simply guilty of being indiscreet and that she became the victim of scandal-mongers. 
 In 1778, the British government removed William Howe from his post, and he returned to England. Although Joshua Loring continued on as prisoner commissary in New York, Elizabeth and their two children left the colonies for England with Joshua's parents, his sister, and her orphaned children to wait for the Revolution to end.
There is no record that Elizabeth and General Howe ever encountered one another between 1778 and 1783 after their arrival in England. Two letters of Joshua's that were written to Elizabeth during their separation contain warm expressions of affection -- hardly the emotions of a man who was reputed to have allowed a friend to take his wife as a mistress or who believed that Elizabeth was seeing Howe in Britain. 
                                                                                    



At the end of the war, Joshua and Elizabeth were reunited in England. They settled in Reading, and over the next six years had three more children. In 1789, after a long period of poor health, Joshua Loring died at the age of 45. Elizabeth, a 37 year-old widow with five children, appealed to the British government for financial compensation.
Elizabeth wrote in her petition that "they must sink into the most distressing State of Poverty unless Relief is extended to them." How would the British government respond to this plea? Tens of thousands of loyalists had sought refuge in England. What would make this woman's petition worthy of consideration? However, a 59 year-old veteran of the Revolution put quill to paper and wrote the government on Elizabeth's behalf.
"I certify to the Facts as stated in this Petition relative to the late Mr. Loring's Loyalty, to the Widow's present distressed circumstances, and to the affluent income Mr. Loring enjoyed in America." The note was signed by none other than Sir William Howe.
Elizabeth's petition was granted, and for the next 42 years she received a government allowance until her death at 79 years of age in 1831.
As Eva Boyd points out, it seems unlikely that the British government would give Mrs. Loring a widow's pension (or pay any attention to Howe's plea on her behalf) if the two "lovers" were, indeed, the reason that the Thirteen Colonies were lost.
There is another clue --though not proof-- of Elizabeth and Howe's innocence. The fact that the Loring children went on to do so well in English society also calls into question whether their mother had truly been a general's mistress. Henry Lloyd Loring became the first Archdeacon of Calcutta. His older brother, John Wentworth Loring became an Admiral in the Royal Navy.
Elizabeth Loring's case is not as clear-cut as some historians would have us believe. Was she a general's mistress -- or a victim of malicious conjecture?
http://www.uelac.org/Loyalist-Trails/2010/Loyalist-Trails-2010.php?issue=201031

 


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Paul Revere Midnight Ride

In 1774 and the Spring of 1775 Paul Revere was employed by the Boston Committee of Correspondence and the Massachusetts Committee of Safety as an express rider to carry news, messages, and copies of resolutions as far away as New York and Philadelphia.

On the evening of April 18, 1775, Paul Revere was sent for by Dr. Joseph Warren and instructed to ride to Lexington, Massachusetts, to warn Samuel Adams and John Hancock that British troops were marching to arrest them. After being rowed across the Charles River to Charlestown by two associates, Paul Revere borrowed a horse from his friend Deacon John Larkin. While in Charlestown, he verified that the local "Sons of Liberty" committee had seen his pre-arranged signals. (Two lanterns had been hung briefly in the bell-tower of Christ Church in Boston, indicating that troops would row "by sea" across the Charles River to Cambridge, rather than marching "by land" out Boston Neck. Revere had arranged for these signals the previous weekend, as he was afraid that he might be prevented from leaving Boston). 

On the way to Lexington, Revere "alarmed" the country-side, stopping at each house, and arrived in Lexington about midnight. As he approached the house where Adams and Hancock were staying, a sentry asked that he not make so much noise. "Noise!" cried Revere, "You'll have noise enough before long. The regulars are coming out!" After delivering his message, Revere was joined by a second rider, William Dawes, who had been sent on the same errand by a different route. Deciding on their own to continue on to Concord, Massachusetts, where weapons and supplies were hidden, Revere and Dawes were joined by a third rider, Dr. Samuel Prescott. Soon after, all three were arrested by a British patrol. Prescott escaped almost immediately, and Dawes soon after. Revere was held for some time and then released. Left without a horse, Revere returned to Lexington in time to witness part of the battle on the Lexington Green.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Rouff Evening Dress 1895

“This is a clear example of the love for reinterpreting the 18th-century aesthetic which prevailed in the Belle Époque, evoking the grandeur and romanticism of the period. This evening dress bodice precisely references the fine embroidered men’s waistcoats of the period, but with very delicate and feminine motifs evoking the style of Rococo weaver Philippe de Lasalle (1723-1804).”



Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo

Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo
Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo was a painter, inventor, and architect, but is most recognized as an influential designer of the early 20th century, one of the first designers to do away with the corset.  He only really had two dress designs: “Delphos” and “Peplos,” which were simple, un-structured dresses based on ancient Greek design.  What made Fortuny dresses was the fabric they were made out of: tightly pleated silk dyed in vibrant colors.  The process for making his pleats was a highly guarded secret, and it is believed to have died with Fortuny himself, although close approximations have been made (check out how to make some pretty decent fake pleats here).  After being pleated, the silk was then sent through several dye baths, creating bright, jewel-like colors.  The structure of the dresses was simple and columnar, and they were seamed using venitian glass beads.  In order to keep their pleats, dresses were stored and shipped in tight twists.  Along with his famous pleated silk, Fortuny also made coats, capes, and scarves out of sheer silks and velvet.  He stenciled on elaborate beautiful patterns based on medieval, roman, greek, and moorish design.  Unlike many of his contemporaries, Fortuny’s dresses had a strong timeless appeal that carried through the changing fashions of the early 20th century, up to his death in 1949.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Costumer's Manifesto: The 17th Century Part 3

“In this seventeenth-century jacket, floral and vegetal motifs are accounted for with scientific clarity but assembled along traditional continuous meanders. Like seventeenth-century still-life painting in its global reach and analytical approach, the jacket suggests both abundance and taxonomy.”
jacket ca. 1616

jacket ca. 1616

The Costumer's Manifesto: The 17th Century Part 2

 “A mythical bird is just one of the fanciful creatures that populate this embroidered jacket of the 1630s. Worked in red wool on a thick twill of linen warp and cotton weft, the coarseness of the thread and heaviness of the ground lack the delicacy of similar garments embroidered in silk on finer linen, but overall the work has a certain enchanting vitality. The design shows a development in later Jacobean needlework – the scrolling vines seen on jackets of the first two decades of the 17th century have disappeared. Each motif is worked separately, while retaining the curvilinear dynamism typical of Jacobean embroidery. During the later 17th century, this type of needlework, known as crewel work, grew in popularity. It became an important method of decorating household furnishings, particularly bed curtains and valances.”


embroidery examples from a jacket ca. 1630s

The Costumer's Manifesto: The 17th Century Part 1

embroidered jacket ca. 1610-1615
“Object Type
This fine early 17th-century woman’s jacket is particularly significant because it is shown being worn in the Portrait of Margaret Layton (museum no. E.214-1994), attributed to Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger (1561-1636) and displayed alongside it.

Ownership & Use
Margaret Laton or Margaret Layton – What’s in a name? When the V&A acquired the jacket and portrait of Margaret Layton in 1994, we used the version ‘Laton’ following the example set in 1933 by V&A curator Albert Kendrick. However, according to documents and monuments of the Layton family in Rawdon, Yorkshire, and the Dictionary of National Biography, the name was always spelled with a ‘y’. We are now making corrections in V&A labels, brochures, publications and on the V&A website.
embroidered jacket ca. 1610-1615

In the portrait, Margaret Layton wears the jacket with an Italian needlelace collar and cuffs, a black velvet gown, a red silk petticoat and a whitework apron. As with many women of this period, we know very little about her life, other than her recorded connections to her father and husband.

Materials & Making
The jacket has long, tight sleeves, narrow shoulder wings, semi-circular cuffs and a small curved collar at the back neck, dating it to about 1610. Made of linen, it is hand sewn and lined with coral silk taffeta. Originally the jacket was fastened with pink silk ribbons. In the 1620s, an edging of spangled silver-gilt bobbin lace was added. The ribbons were removed and probably replaced with hooks and eyes, which have not survived. The jacket is embroidered in plain and fancy detached buttonhole, stem, plaited braid, chain, long and short and Roumanian stitches, with spider knots and speckling, partially padded, and with spangles.

Time
Although the jacket was made about 1610, the portrait was painted more than 10 years later. By this time, waistlines had risen. Margaret Layton adapted to the new style by raising her petticoat and covering the lower half of the jacket.”
embroidered jacket ca. 1610-1615

Monday, April 8, 2013

Suprisingly Colorful!: Victorian Underwear

petticoat ca. 1840-1850
The Victorians liked to have sexy, colorful things underneath those high-necked, long-sleeved dresses, too!
corset ca. 1851-186

corset ca. 1883

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Costumer's Manifesto: The 16th Century Part 5

chasuble
“This chasuble, the back of which is shown here, is the principal church vestment worn by a priest at the celebration of the Christian Mass. An image of the Crucifixion can be seen with the Virgin and St John at the foot of the Cross and angels holding chalices in which to catch the blood of Christ. The chasuble is made up of the favoured luxury materials of the time, having an embroidered orphrey (the decorative piece attached to the chasuble), which dates from the later part of the 15th century, applied to a sumptuous velvet ground dating to about 1430-1470. The orphrey was probably originally attached to another chasuble and was cut off and re-used here. It is likely that the orphrey, with its very distinctive style of bold images and figures with large heads, was worked in Bohemia. Embroidery was highly regarded in the medieval period in Europe and at its finest matched goldwork and painting.”

cloak ca. 156o-1569
 “A cloak was an essential component of the fashionable ensemble for a 16th-century gentleman. While most were intended as protection against the weather, those made of expensive fabrics such as silk, and richly decorated, were primarily symbols of wealth and social status. Usually worn over the right shoulder, a fine cloak allowed a young ‘gallant’ a dramatic flourish when entering or departing a room.

This example is made of Italian silk with a red pile in a palmate pattern on a voided cream satin ground. It was probably crafted from another garment, possibly a petticoat. The collar, front and hem of the cloak have been decorated with applied yellow satin outlined with silk cords, in a scrolling design of stylised foliage.”

That's the end of The Costumer's Manifesto: The 16 Century.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Costumer's Manifesto: The 16th Century Part 4

smock ca. 1575-1585
“The decorated smock was an integral part of the complex layers of clothing worn by women from wealthy families. It was an undergarment in the sense that it was worn under the outermost items of dress, but it was never intended to be concealed completely as underwear is generally today. Decorated smocks could also be worn as semi-formal wear in bed for receiving visitors.

 The smock was probably made in the household of the girl or woman for whom it was intended. Most young girls in well-to-do households learned how to embroider, so this embroidery could well have been worked by a skilled amateur. It seems likely that the black silk on this smock was of Spanish origin because it has lasted very well. Black English silk of the period contained more iron, which caused the silk fibres to rot.

The smock was made of two different grades of linen. A fine weave linen was used for the bodice and sleeves and, as two small surviving strips indicate, a coarser one was employed for the skirt. Contemporary documents indicate that this was quite normal, the finer and more expensive linen being used only for areas of the smock that might be seen.”

collar ca. 1500
 “This silver collar is made up of repeated S-shaped links, united by rings. Chains worn around the neck or shoulders were a common form of courtly jewellery in the 15th and 16th centuries. A similar 15th-century collar composed of 41 cast letters ‘S’ was found on the banks of the Thames in London in 1983 and is now in the Museum of London.

 Livery collars composed of S-shaped links became popular at the English court after their introduction by John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster (1340-1399). They ranged from the jewelled gold collars sported by royalty and the nobility to the ribbon or leather collars with silver or copper letters attached that were worn by lesser officials. Pendants could be hung from the chain as symbols of office or to indicate allegiance to a particular group.”

Men’s shirt ca. 1540-1549
“Until the mid 20th century a man’s shirt was an item of underwear. However, those parts of it exposed when the wearer was fully dressed were often embellished. In this example, the collar and cuffs are embroidered in a pattern of stylised columbine and leaves in cross stitch. The embroidery continues on the seams of the sleeves and shirt body, even though these would not be seen. Collars and cuffs decorated in a similar way can be seen in portraits of men by Hans Holbein between 1535 and 1555.”

Chasuble
 “This is a chasuble, the vestment (priestly garment) worn by a Catholic priest when celebrating the Mass (the main service of worship). Prior to the 1960s, the priest stood facing the altar with his back to the congregation, so the back of the chasuble was visible most of the time. The front is more worn than the back because it has rubbed against the altar. Simple columnar embroidered orphreys (decorative bands) adorn the back and front. All of the figures are of female saints, which may suggest that the orphreys were intended for vestments for a convent.”

        “A chasuble is the principal church vestment worn by a priest at the celebration of the Christian mass. It was usually made of rich materials (silks) and adorned with orphrey bands, embroidered with images of particular symbolic significance in Christianity. Different colours were used for different seasons in the Christian calendar, black being appropriate for funerals or requiem masses. This chasuble was recycled from a pall, a cloth used to cover a coffin. The embroidery dates to the early 16th century, while the style of the vestment dates to after 1600. The initials RJ on the back are those of the person for whose coffin the cloth was originally made (Robert Thornton, Abbot of Jervaulx).”
Chasuble

Chasuble

The Costumer's Manifesto: The 16th Century Part 3














knitted boy’s hat via The Museum of London


“Boy’s circular knitted cap with a brim decorated with slashes. The wool has turned brown with age. Knitted and felted caps of this type were worn by London’s business and working communities. They were designed to be warm and waterproof. A range of styles and qualities were available to suit the taste and pocket of the customer. This cap has a decoratively slashed brim, a style that was especially popular. Bright colours such as blue or red were common, as were black and dark brown.”

knitted mitten via The Museum of London
“Knitting appears to have become common only in the 1500s, but then it rapidly increased in popularity. It was a new activity in working people’s lives and soon also became a valuable source of income for many. This knitted child’s mitten is a rare survival. It is knitted from the top of the finger-pouch in the direction of the wrist and decorated with three rows of black wool in a simple pattern around the wrist. Poorer people could find a bargain at the second hand clothes dealers-‘fripperers’- in Houndsditch, but many relied on home-knitted woollen clothes. This garment offers an insight into how children were protected from the cold.”
jerkin ca. 1570-1580