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May 14, 2012 / Louisa Yates

Hello new readers!

The wonderful Journal of Victorian Culture Online has very kindly included me in their ‘Bloggers Fair’. So hello, all of you! Do come in, get to know the place, make yourselves at home, etc.

I spent the weekend in Bristol, home of that Victorian landmark the Clifton Suspension Bridge, and so didn’t get around to posting a recommendation of this:

I love this shot, from the BBC adaptation of Michel Faber’s The Crimson Petal and the White. Even the briefest of glances tells you this is neo-Victorian. The wicker trunk, the iron bedstead, the embroidered stool (and floral chamberpot); white cambric cotton pillowcases, snowy white pinafore, sensible brown leather boots; the buttoned-up aesthetic of the governess. Fingerless gloves give her that touch of Fagin, while the hint of tumbling petticoats suggest what might lie beneath.

All shot in the sort of glorious technicolour that was impossible until 1850 (and not realistically possible for several decades after). Look at that hair – we’ll never be able to tell if any Victorian had such a glorious colour. I’m not up on the history of fabric dye (it’s on my to-do list) but purple stockings seem like they might have been quite a pricey item – and I’m willing to bet Jane Eyre’s frocks were not that glam.

The four-part miniseries has recently been released on DVD, and I do recommend it. A soon-to-come post explores some of the problems in Faber’s novel (mostly clustered around sex, and the performance thereof), but it remains a fascinating exploration of the sort of Victorian archetypes – patriarch, wife, prostitute, reformer, priest, child, urchin – that we take for granted. Perfect weekend stuff.

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