Photography: Tina Muller
Having said that, the Victorian era was rather interesting in the UK. I wanted to share some of the very buttoned-up insights I found while obsessing over everything that is to do with the Victorian period (1837-1901). By the way, there are tons more! I mean TONS. Considering that I wearing head to toe black, I decided to look at the darker facts from the era.
- Mourning Jewellery: Queen Victoria made mourning not only fashionable but also a lucrative business. The Widow of Windsor as some called her was known for (among other things) mourning her husband’s passing for forty years. That’s forty years of trying to avoid public appearances and wearing exclusively black. Following in the country’s leader’s footsteps, the savvy businessmen saw a gap in the market. If mourning is a thing: we will capitalise on it, they thought. And so, mourning attire, mourning jewellery was widely popular. By the way, if you pop to an antique shop or two, you still might be able to find mourning jewellery worn by women of the Victorian era.
- Spiritualism: Oh yes, seances were considered a cool leisure activity. Imagine a dark room, a circular table, people holding hands while a medium attempts to speak to those who are no longer with us. I am no expert in ghosts or mediums, but I know for a fact that charlatans had tons of success during the Victorian era. After all, a person who lost a loved one would do anything to feel they are still there. Hello emotional exploitation.
- Curiosities: People LOVED weird things. From collecting unique items, ie a brain in a jar, in their “cabinets of curiosities” to side shows or freak shows, people loved a bit of a shock here and there – only a little though, as society life was rigorously controlled, so enjoy it too much and you will be judged and shunned.
- Death Photography: Pink once sang, “In our family portrait we look pretty happy, Let’s play pretend, act like it goes naturally”. In the Victorian era they’d sing a slightly different song. Death photography was quite fashionable. This meant staging a scene where a dead family member would look alive and sit or stand among his or her relatives. Or look like they are sleeping, or just you know… Chilling. The creepy thing? No matter how well a photo was staged, you’d always know who the dead one was.
- Horror Literature: Hello Dracula, Frankenstein, The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – among many more goodies were penned in this era.
Do you know any other dark facts about the Victorian era?