Victoria, Reigned 1837 -- 1901
Victoria, Reigned 1837 – 1901 Her reign was marked by: Industrial Growth Colonial expansion Heightened sense of morality (ideals of “Englishness”)
How does a small Island of a few million control an Empire of 500 million?
The Birth of Civilization: a Message from the Sea The consumption of soap: a measure of the wealth, civilization, health and purity of the people
The first step towards lightening THE WHITE MAN’S BURDEN is through teaching the virtues of cleanliness. PEARS SOAP is a potent factor in brightening the dark corners of the earth as civilization advances, while amongst the cultured of all nations it holds the highest place – it is the idea toilet soap.
The Age of Industry and the Victorian Domestic Sphere • Consider the vast changes industrialism brought about in the 1800s • Consider the cultural influences that rose out of colonial expansion and reliance upon foreign goods • These resulted in a strengthening and policing of the borders of English identity and a heightened sense of morality • The domestic sphere – both that of the home and of England – become idealized, and in expansion so does the English Woman – whether the good wife (the Angel in the House), the Queen (England’s Matriarch), or Britannia herself. • This is evidence in both the packaging of industrial goods and in the Victorian design and decoration, which celebrated / showcased industrial production.
THE OLD ARM-CHAIR • I LOVE it, I love it ; and who shall dare To chide me for loving that old Arm-chair ? I've treasured it long as a sainted prize ; I've bedewed it with tears, and embalmed it with sighs. ' Tis bound by a thousand bands to my heart ; Not a tie will break, not a link will start. Would ye learn the spell ? -- a mother sat there ; And a sacred thing is that old Arm-chair. In Childhood's hour I lingered near The hallowed seat with listening ear ; And gentle words that mother would give ; To fit me to die, and teach me to live. She told me shame would never betide, With truth for my creed and God for my guide ; She taught me to lisp my earliest prayer ; As I knelt beside that old Arm-chair. I sat and watched her many a day, When her eye grew dim, and her locks were grey : And I almost worshipped her when she smiled, And turned from her Bible, to bless her child. Years rolled on; but the last one sped-- My idol was shattered; my earth-star fled : I learnt how much the heart can bear, When I saw her die in that old Arm-chair. • 'Tispast, 'tis past, but I gaze on it now With quivering breath and throbbing brow :'Twas there she nursed me ; 'twas there she died : And Memory flows with lava tide. Say it is folly, and deem me weak, While the scalding drops start down my cheek ; But I love it, I love it ; and cannot tear My soul from a mother's old Arm-chair. • --Eliza Cook (1818 - 1889), 1837
How could one define elements of Victorian design? 1- Excessive ornament (flowery, symmetric, etc.) 2- The exotic (amalgamation of Moorish, Japanese and Indian styles) 3- A Medieval revival 4- Imperialistic emblems 5-Celtic revival 6- Colors (velvet, serge or damask curtains trimmed with ball fringes and tassels; heavy flock wallpapers in deep red,dark green or blue, covered with exaggerated damask patterns and almost hidden by large realistic paintings in wide gilded frames) Imagine all of the above together with a conservative moral attitude characterized by sexual repression with a strong protocol-driven social ethic. --arh346 Blog, 9/25/08
From Angel in the House, by Coventry Patmore, 1854 • Man must be pleased; but him to pleaseIs woman's pleasure; down the gulfOf his condoled necessitiesShe casts her best, she flings herself.How often flings for nought, and yokesHer heart to an icicle or whim,Whose each impatient word provokesAnother, not from her, but him;While she, too gentle even to forceHis penitence by kind replies,Waits by, expecting his remorse,With pardon in her pitying eyes;And if he once, by shame oppress'd,A comfortable word confers,She leans and weeps against his breast,And seems to think the sin was hers;Or any eye to see her charms,At any time, she's still his wife,Dearly devoted to his arms;She loves with love that cannot tire;And when, ah woe, she loves alone,Through passionate duty love springs higher,As grass grows taller round a stone.