The everyday realities of life in the city of Hogarth, Fielding and Dr Johnson, based on contemporary evidence, by the author of the bestselling ELIZABETH'S LONDON. Like its popular and acclaimed predecessor RESTORATION LONDON, this book is the result of the author's passionate interest in the practical details of the everyday life of our ancestors, so often ignored in more conventional history books. Based on every possible contemporary source - diaries, almanacs, newspapers, advice books, memoirs, government papers and reports - Liza Picard examines every aspect of life in London: the streets, houses and gardens; cooking, housework, laundry and shopping; clothes and jewellery, cosmetics and hairdressing; medicine, sex, hobbies, education and etiquette; religion and popular beliefs; law and crime. This book spans the years 1740 to 1770, starting when the gin craze was gaining ground and ending when the east coast of America was still British.
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(196mm x 133mm x 28mm)
Weidenfeld & Nicolson History
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
London was the largest city in Europe by the middle of the 18th century, and possibly the largest in the world with a population of 650,000. Residents crammed into the cobbled, crime-ridden streets of the Square Mile, which was spreading westward into elegant new squares built on green-field sites. In her follow-up to Restoration London, Picard sheds light on the everyday realities of life for the rich, the poor and the 'middling sort' in this city that Samuel Johnson found so inexhaustibly interesting. No stone is left unturned, from shopping and fashion, to transport and amusements, to weddings and funerals. Picard has a fine eye for the bizarre and arcane and she makes the most of the parallels between past and present, but the book also offers a picture of an alien and unrecognizable London for which the music of Handel and the furniture of Chippendale represent a deceptively glossy surface. This was, after all, a city where the heads of traitors were still impaled on gates and where black slaves were advertised for sale in newspapers.Further antidotes to nostalgia for the period include the discussions of both medical practice of the day, with its devotion to leeches, and of the foods eaten by rich and poor alike: sheep testicles, cow udders, cod heads and pig ears. This is social history at its most compelling, and the result is a well-round portrait, lovingly drawn, of a bizarre and boisterous period in London's history. Review by ROSS KING Editor's note: Ross King's books include Brunelleschi's Dome (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Liza Picard
Liza Picard was born in 1927. She read law at the London School of Economics and qualified as a barrister, but did not practise. She worked for many years in the office of the Solicitor of the Inland Revenue and lived in Gray's Inn and Hackney, before retiring to live in Oxford. Restoration London, the result of many years' interest and research into London life, was her first book.