Supplied by Old House Books.
The indispensable companion of every well-bred lady at the close of the nineteenth century.
In chapters on each part of the female form copious details guide the reader through such imperfections as wrinkles, sunburn, warts and even baldness – for which a concoction of rum and onion is prescribed – without ever venturing upon too much scientific explanation. Such simple and politely euphemistic terminology as ‘small black spots’ and ‘redness’, combined with the occasional piece of hearsay or high society gossip, gives the impression of a casual yet authoritative chat among nineteenth century aristocratic gentlewomen.
Ever fearful of old age or indeed the illusion thereof, The Lady’s Dressing Room strikes a graceful balance between hopeless self-indulgence – chocolate is offered as a cure for bad breath – and an heroic call for ‘spartan frugality’ where there is even the slightest ‘tendency to grow stout’.
As well as being highly informative on its intended subject, this book also divulges a great deal about the writer’s contemporary society. Numerous pages of advertisements for everything from a carpet sweeper ‘ the greatest labour saving invention of the century – Invention hath no nobler aim than to lighten woman’s labour’ and the ‘permanent removal of superfluous vein-marks, moles or warts through the administering of electricity by a lady electrician’ demonstrate a burgeoning consumerism (not to mention Victorian eccentricity).
Nothing was more important to a lady than to be seen to be a lady. This is the book that showed them how.
First published 116 years ago. Hardback 384 pages.