Toy Theatres and Real Ones

Toy theatre was a popular children’s entertainment from around 1811 (the date of the first preserved sheets) until the 1860s. More than just a model stage, publishers offered young practitioners a variety of scenery and character sheets, abridged play scripts, and small-scale special effects with which to perform juvenile dramas.[1] Publishers often based juvenile productions on popular plays staged in full-scale London theatres. Melodramas and pantomimes were usually favoured for miniature productions. In an interview with Henry Mayhew in 1850,

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Just Like Us: Victoria, Albert and the middle-class family (part 1 of 4)

In behaving publicly much like members of the mid-nineteenth-century middle class, Victoria and Albert achieved great influence – both by making their subjects aspire to be like them, and by displaying their contemporaneity with those they ruled. This examination of aspects of the royal family’s domestic life, and of the image they presented to the nation, makes reference to selected diary entries and correspondence of Queen Victoria, and to imagery illustrating how Victoria and Albert might appear to their contemporaries almost as being ‘just like us’.

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Michael Nott, Developing Photopoetry

Michael Nott received his PhD from the University of St Andrews. He provides commentaries for the Developing Photopoetry project, and is currently working on his first monograph, a critical history of photopoetry. He tweets, occasionally, @michaeljnott   Among the treasures of the Photographically Illustrated Poetry Collection at the University of St Andrews is Eleanora (1860), an anonymous poem about the courtship of the titular heroine by a knight called Raymond during the Hundred Years’ War. The St Andrews copy is

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Rachel Carroll, “Sugar’s The Past”: Black British History in ITV’s Jericho (2016)

Rachel Carroll is Reader in English at Teesside University.  She is the author of Rereading Heterosexuality: Feminism, Queer Theory and Contemporary Fiction (2012) and editor of Adaptation in Contemporary Culture: Textual Infidelities (2009) and (with Adam Hansen) Litpop: Writing and Popular Music (2014).  Her essays on black Britain and literary adaptation have been published in Andrea Levy: Contemporary Critical Perspectives (2014) and Adaptation (2015).   In the early months of 2016 American audiences from Washington to New York were able

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Alyson Hunt, ‘Dressed to Kill’ Study Day Review

Arriving outside the sleek glass architecture of the Aldham Robarts library on an overcast Saturday morning to be greeted by the Liverpool John Moores sports teams excitedly gathered outside inexplicably wearing underwear on top of their clothes, I wondered if the long drive North had affected me more than I had anticipated. Thankfully, a rather more sedate welcome signalled the start of the Victorian Popular Fiction Association study day, an interdisciplinary event entitled Dressed to Kill: Fashion in Victorian Fiction

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Patricia Zakreski, Making a Black Ball Gown: Fashion and Social Change in the 1870s

Patricia Zakreski is Lecturer in Victorian Literature and Culture at the University of Exeter. She is the author of Representing Female Artistic Labour, 1848–1890: Refining Work for the Middle-Class Woman (Ashgate, Farnham, 2006). She is co-editor of ‘What is a Woman to Do?’ A Reader on Women, Work and Art, c. 1830–1890 (Peter Lang, Oxford, 2011) and Crafting the Woman Professional in the Long Nineteenth Century: Artistry and Industry in Britain (Ashgate, Farnham, 2013). Her current project includes articles and

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Emily Bowles, “What’s to-day, my fine fellow?”: Classifying and Dating Tony Jordan’s ‘Dickensian’

Emily Bowles is a PhD candidate at the University of York. Her research focuses on Charles Dickens’s self-representation 1857-1870, and representations by Dickens’s friends and family 1870-1939. She is also a postgraduate representative for the Northern Nineteenth Century Network and assistant administrator for the Women’s Life Writing Network. You can find her on Twitter @EmilyBowles   I had been keeping an eye out for Dickensian since October 2014, when rumours of it echoed around the Dickens Day Conference in Senate

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Georgina Grant, ‘The Fair Toxophilites’: Women and Archery

Georgina is a Curatorial Officer for the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, based at Blists Hill Victorian Town. She has the responsibility of maintaining, developing and delivering the interpretation of the 52 acre site. Her role is varied, ranging from researching the history of canal vessels to installing Quaker costume displays and giving talks on a traditional Victorian Christmas. Follow Georgina @GeorgyGrant ‘Much might be said why archery, as a lawn game, should be preferred to croquet by ladies…’ The Witchery

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Lauren Padgett, Review: ‘Curating the Nineteenth Century’, Colloquium of the Nineteenth-Century Studies, 28 November 2015, University of Leicester

Lauren Padgett is a PhD student at Leeds Trinity University. Her doctoral research explores representations of Victorian women in contemporary museum displays in the Yorkshire and Humber region. Lauren has a BA in History and English and a MA in Museum Studies, and worked in museums for several years. On Saturday 28th November, 2015 was the second meeting of the Colloquium of Nineteenth-Century Studies, hosted at the University of Leicester. The theme was ‘Curating the Nineteenth-Century’. The day consisted of

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Ruth Slatter, Odd Victorian Objects: Christmas Trees

Although Christmas trees had been brought to England before the beginning of Queen Victoria’s reign in 1837, it was Prince Albert’s influence on the Queen that first led to these material things becoming essential components of an English Christmas. Originating in Germany, with legendry links to St Boniface who introduced the Germans to Christianity, Albert encouraged his young wife to adopt this festive tradition after they were married in 1840. Setting an example that was then quickly copied first by

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