Monday, October 15, 2007

Victorian Dining

More from my favorite era... Victorian Dining

Dressing for the Occasion
Imitating the wealth and adopting the social patterns of the English were fashionable among the comfortably off middle class in the closing years of the 19th century. Formal dress was expected for any occasion after 6 p.m. Ladies wore low-necked, short sleeved gowns (and gloves - until they were seated at the table). At larger dinners, matrons appeared in satin, silk or velvet with spangles or embroidered laces. Young ladies chose daintier sheer muslins or chiffon. Etiquette books advised gentlemen to wear dark broadcloth and "fine linen."

Dinner Escorts
As soon as he arrived, the male guest was told by his hostess, or by a card on the hall table, whom he would escort into the dining room. After stilted preliminary conversation, the host led his guests into the dining room with his companion "on his left arm." According to custom, the honor of first seating went to the oldest or most distinguished lady, a stranger in the community, a recent bride, or the wife of the most prominent guest in the house. The hostess entered the dining room last on the arm of her husband or her husband's partner.

The Lavish Dining Room
The Victorian dining room was a large and heavily decorated room. The Social Mirror, stated that it "should be furnished with a view to convenience, richness and comfort." It suggested walls of bronze, maroon, or black. Pompeian red or deep olive, with designs, dado and frieze in old gold, olive or moss-green, and wainscoting on the walls and ceiling. Pompeian red and soft olive were recommended for draperies. Dark woods should be used. A buffet may stand in a corner for the display of ceramics, or decorated china. The sideboard should be of high, massive style with shelves and racks for glassware and china. A cage of stuffed birds, a few large pots of tropical plants and a fernery are in keeping. A folding screen should not be forgotten. But it was the lavishly appointed table that riveted attention.

More about the food and table settings in the next post. Stay tuned......
For today's version of the oppulent linens and tableware used by our Victorian ancestors, visit Aunt May's Cottage.

8 comments:

Stephanie said...

What a wonderful tutorial on refined elegance today, Miss Bertie!! Very riveting indeed!! Can't wait to read your next post!

Love & Hugs,
Stephanie
Angelic Accents

Sharon said...

Bertie you and I were born at least 100 years too late don't you think?

vickie said...

Love all the interesting info. I agree with Miss Sharon!

hugs, Vickie

Amy at Bunny Rose Cottage said...

Oh Bertie, I love this post. I would have loved to be alive back then. Everything was much more respectable. I would have loved to wear those beautiful clothes (though I am sure they werent very comfortable!) and attend beautiful formal dinners. Thank you for your always interesting posts!

Love ya,
Amy

celestina marie said...

Bertie, I love you beautiful blog and all the interesting info you provide. It is always a treat to visit. Thank you for being apart of PRH and a wonderful friend.
love ya,
Celestina

Rose Petals & Blooms said...

Bertie, I love to daydream that I too lived back then.. I imagine me sitting in my conservatory with you, Sharon, Vicki, Amy, Stephanie and Celestina drinking tea and eating petite fours! Ahhh.. that would be the life! By the way, we all look gorgeous in our beautiful dresses! Hee-hee-hee!
I'm happy you liked my post, it is so true isn't it? I really try to keep that type of thinking close to my heart, we are all so lucky, maybe we just don't always realize it~
xoxox Big hugs to you Miss Bertie!

Dolly said...

Hey Miss Bertie,
You have an award waiting for you on my bloggy poo....come and see!

Hugz, Dolly

Miss Rhea said...

Thanks for sharing all of that information. I would love to live in more gentler times. :)