Thursday, February 22, 2007

Pictures from the Past

This image is from an Ackermann's magazine which was published in 1816, slap bang in the middle of my favorite time period, the Regency. Ackermanns was a bit like the Vogue of it's day, containing fashion plates, articles about famous people, furniture, politics and the goings-on of the Royal Family.

I bid regularly on Ebay for these little fashion plates which have usually been separated from the rest of the magazine and kept, probably by women who either wanted to copy the style of the dress themselves or wanted their dressmaker to do it for them. It's a bit like us catalogue shopping or using the internet.

I love the idea of some Regency young lady frowning over the details of a dress, wondering just how the style could be reproduced and in what fabric. It makes me feel close to a generation of women long gone. Women who appreciated fashion as much as I do and possibly wondered why so many of the models pictured were so thin and so beautiful. I also love holding something so precious in my hand. The detail on these engravings is amazing and the colors remain remarkably fresh considering each ten inch picture is almost 200 years old.

This particular picture is a favorite of mine because the lady shown is a widow. But if you take a peek at her perfect little face, she looks ripe for mischief. She inspired me to write my first erotic romance, "Eden's Pleasure" about a young widow who has endured a loveless marriage to an older man and is determined to have some fun before she marries again. Enter, our hero, Major Gervase Harcourt and his identical twin brother, Gideon, who is not averse to helping matters along in his own unique way.

One of the most essential things for me when I write, is introducing conflict. That's why I like to write historicals because the very rules of society, and the way women were 'expected' to behave cause conflict. Helping these ladies get around the rules is one of the main pleasures of writing historicals. Allowing them to get around the sexual mores of their time is even more interesting!

So, dear readers,or fellow bloggers, which time period do you prefer to write or read your erotic fiction in and why?


Celia May Hart said...

They are gorgeous, not to mention inspiring ... but I find it kind of depressing that chances are they are bookplates ripped from perfectly fine volumes. I have two books that date back to that period -- one is falling apart, the other is in almost perfect condition.

Pam Rosenthal said...

What an absolutely lovely print, Kate. And what a wonderful post. Inspiring me to try to write my own forthcoming blog entry as to why we shouldn't be afraid of being accused of writing "costume" rather than "historical" fiction.

Clothes of the Regency period are terrific. But the French clothing of the period directly before the Revolution afford a different, and also wonderful, set of pleasures and possibilities.

Elizabeth Parker said...

My favorite time is late-Victorian, specifically the year 1895. Call me crazy, but that year just speaks to me. I must have lived there in some previous life.

Late-Victorian clothes were so interesting. We went from the bustle in the back in the 1880's to the mutton-leg sleeves of the 1890's. I've often felt bad for the women who spent so much time, money, and fabric on these elaborate styles, just to have them change relatively quickly. But I guess that's still a problem today, too, isn't it?

Kate Pearce said...

Celia-I totally agree with you. When one of the 'whole' magazines or journals come up I always put in a hopeful bid but so far I've been unlucky.

Pam-I actually like the fact that period clothing takes so long to get out of-it increases sexual tension and makes the smallest glimpse of flesh so erotic...

Elizabeth, I once got to try on a late Victorian costume in full and it was so heavy and restrictive I felt like I'd never be able to move! One good thing in those days was that people would re-use and remake clothes-something that I think has gone out of fashion somewhat these days!

Robin L. Rotham said...

I enjoy reading about all time periods prior to 1900. If I were ever to try writing historical, I'd probably go late Victorian, but most definitely never Regency. I'm hopeless at witty banter -- I prefer delivering my innuendo with a sledgehammer.

Shelli Stevens said...

I love to write contemporary and I'm trying my hand at sci fi, but honestly, I love all genres. I love reading medievel romances erotic and non. Those are my favorite period, even over contemporary. But I can't write them for sh*t. :)

That's very cool about the magazine page. I love antiques, and that's just fabulous.