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  • Hi, I'm Fashion Historian Amber Butchart and welcome to Kenwood which is cared

  • for by English Heritage. I'm standing inside an incredible Georgian house in

  • North London which was once home to William Murray 1st Earl of Mansfield

  • and his aristocratic companions in the 1700s. Today we're going to be looking at

  • the late 18th century and we're going to show you how to recreate an authentic

  • Georgian look. We'll be exploring not only what the cosmetics can reveal about

  • England during this period but also why bigger was better for the hairstyles of

  • the Georgians. Plus we've got an extra special treat for you. We're going to be

  • recreating two Georgian looks and talking about how both women and men

  • used makeup to make an impression in Georgian society. I am so excited to see this!

  • Hi Rebecca

  • Hello Amber, welcome to the Georgian era

  • Thank you

  • This is Ashleigh, our model

  • Hi Ashleigh

  • Take a great look at her because she's

  • going to be unrecognisable very soon.

  • I can not wait. So today we're focusing on

  • the Georgian era, this is a period of huge political and social upheaval huge change

  • Now technically it lasts from 1714 to 1837 but we're going to be focusing

  • on just two decades, the 1770s and 1780s when George III was on the throne

  • So Rebecca what are the key elements from the look from this era?

  • Well the look changed a little bit throughout the centuries but we're going to focus on doing

  • pale porcelain skin. dark black eyebrows and flushed rosy cheeks - it's going to be

  • very elegant very beautiful

  • Fantastic! Ican't wait let's get started

  • Let's do it

  • So step number one is, just like today, skin prep, and I've done loads of

  • research on skin care. Georgian ladies used creams, they used waters, they used

  • all sorts of lotions. I found a great recipe that involves the juice of

  • strawberries - wow! - onto skin

  • Apparently you would put it on at night,

  • you'd leave it on your skin overnight and then

  • you wash it off with water with chervil in it, which is a form of parsley

  • What this does, apparently, is to get rid of freckles and also to clear a tanned skin

  • It's interesting you say that this was to get rid of freckles. This is a period

  • where we see the onset of the Industrial Revolution which you know really brings

  • in huge changes throughout society. But the period we're in at the moment having

  • tan skin or having freckles is really associated with outdoor agricultural

  • work. It essentially is a sign that you don't have much money and so this is why

  • people are trying to avoid it so much

  • And the look that we're doing today is

  • for an aristocratic lady, so she wouldn't have had freckles, she wouldn't have had

  • a tan so we're going to get rid of those

  • So we're going to get rid of those freckles with our chervil water and strawberry face cream

  • Fantastic. Now the process of sort of getting dressed and getting

  • ready the whole toilette was quite elaborate for women at this time and

  • could be quite performative in some ways as well. There are some accounts of women

  • getting ready while having breakfast or even while entertaining other women you

  • could use it as a sort of socialising time for chatting and catching up on

  • gossip and things like that as well

  • So our next step is to start creating the

  • look and we've already said that we are going to be creating a look for

  • aristocratic ladies, and this one is for an affluent lady who's going out

  • socialising. To achieve this pale, porcelain look I'm using an authentic-ish Georgian

  • recipe for a white face base. Now I say authentic-ish because there are some

  • ingredients that I can't get hold of today like ceruse which, is white led

  • So this is still being used at this time in the Georgian era? The ceruse which is

  • very poisonous, corrosive substance?

  • Yep. But women like Kitty Fisher and the

  • Waldegrave sisters still insisted on wearing this white lead, white makeup

  • So you're not using that today, just to clarify?

  • No, we're definitely not using that today

  • This is a combination of sweet almond oil and titanium dioxide pigment

  • which is used in makeup today and also a little bit of bees wax

  • And how are you going to create the dark brows that we so associate with this era?

  • Well interestingly enough, I'm going to be using a clove to coat the eyebrows

  • Have a smell

  • Oh wow!

  • They smell amazing. You need to burn the end of a clove

  • It smells like Christmas!

  • I know! And then you can draw them on and they

  • make really quite surprisingly effective eyebrow pencils

  • Who'd have thought it!

  • I know! But there were other rumors around at that time that people were using things like

  • mouse fur to create those thick, lush eyebrows

  • Well a lot of the sources that

  • talk about mouse fur being used for eyebrows are satirical sources so people

  • like Jonathan Swift wrote about it, there are a few prints as well, satirical prints

  • that talk about mouse fur eyebrows which is why we're not really

  • sure if it was actually used or if it's just something that people joked about

  • We're beginning to enter a real golden age of satire at this time. People start

  • to flourish in the new print culture like Gillray and Cruikshank especially

  • as we move into the 19th century as well. Around this period there a couple called

  • Matthew and Mary Darly who created amazing satirical prints. A lot of them

  • really focused on hair and how elaborate Georgian hair could become. So fashion

  • was a real target for satirists at this time. The eyebrows are looking fantastic

  • I know, isn't it a great colour?

  • It's really good, it's perfect

  • Now it's time to add some color to this face and I'm going to use a modern, safe

  • alternative to a product called vermilion, which is actually red mercury

  • Again it's another really toxic ingredient that women were constantly

  • using on their cheeks to get this bright, rosy flush

  • I love this it looks so incredible, it looks so authentic

  • It's so gorgeous, I love it!

  • This is a look that we're really used to

  • seeing on French portraits especially portraits of Marie Antoinette for

  • example from this time. And it was a look for that reason that many women in England

  • really wanted to emulate. We see this with fashions throughout this era

  • as well. There were some differences between English and French fashions

  • And it also reflected the differences in the sort of structure of power in each of the

  • countries. In France you have this very court-centric power culture where

  • Versailles is the absolute center and its this kind of spectacular

  • theater of power and wealth. In England it's a bit more sort of geographically

  • diverse and you have the managing of the country estate being a really important

  • facet of aristocratic life. So things like walking, like taking the air, being a

  • bit more active for a lot more important this is something we see especially in

  • menswear where there's a bit more of a focus on wool rather than French silks

  • So this is certainly a really fashionable look but it's also something

  • that's slightly seen as improper sometimes as well as sort of very, very French

  • Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire, her

  • mother wrote to her in opprobrium at one point and said 'how glad I should be if

  • you could tell me you had quite done with rouge'

  • I love that quote

  • And there was a really lovely portrait that I've seen where the ladies in the portrait

  • have coloured their earlobes in with a tiny bit of rouge

  • For our lip colour I'm using exactly the same product, but this time it's mixed with beeswax to make it

  • more like a lipstick texture

  • Let's finish this makeup off with the ultimate Georgian accessory, which is the

  • face patch. Now we're cheating slightly because face patches were actually more

  • in fashion a little bit earlier than the time that we're focusing on, but I couldn't resit it

  • Well this sounds fantastic. What were they made of, these patches?

  • So they could be made from silk, you could make them from velvet or sometimes you

  • could make them from fine Spanish leather. They came in a range of

  • different shapes

  • Now these patches served a number of

  • purposes didn't they. They firstly serve to highlight the whiteness of the skin

  • next to the, you know, dark patch itself and this isn't even an old idea if we

  • think of someone like Marilyn Monroe for example and her beauty spot. This is

  • still something that we associate with beauty to this day really. But also they

  • could hide a multitude of sins: pox marks, scars, moles any kind of

  • blemish that you didn't want to have on your face you could hide with a patch

  • I love that idea!

  • It's just absolutely so handy! There are also a number of secret languages of

  • patches that we can read about in different accounts from this time as well

  • People basically said that wherever you wore it on your face meant

  • something different

  • So I've got one here, what does that mean?

  • So if you had a patch near your mouth the accounts that I've seen suggest that it meant sort of

  • coquettishness or kissing, something quite cheeky basically

  • And I'm gonna put one here, what does that mean?

  • So near the eye could mean passion or could even mean killing, so quite a

  • dangerous little number that one

  • She's a dangerous lady!

  • But they could also have political meanings as well

  • There was a report in The Spectator in 1711 that said women of a Whig

  • persuasion would wear patches on the right hand side where as Tories would

  • wear them on the left.

  • And that's everything that we're going to do on the face,

  • but a Georgian lady is nothing without her hair and that is a big

  • affair, it's going to take me some time

  • Ok well while you do that I'm going to

  • go and find out more about Kenwood

  • We're in this majestic Music Room and the whole of Kenwood is so beautiful

  • can you tell me a bit about the history?

  • Yes the first house is built here in the

  • early 17th century but the house we see today largely reflects the taste of

  • William Murray who purchased Kenwood for £4,000 in 1754

  • £4,000, pounds that sounds like a bargain to me!

  • It was a reasonable amount

  • but you had to make a lot of changes to the property so he employed the Scottish

  • neoclassical architect Robert Adam and his brother James to completely

  • transform Kenwood

  • And so that turned it into the sort of neoclassical mansion that we know it as today?

  • It did, and in the 1790s wings were added to the

  • building so the room that we stand in now is actually one in one of those wings

  • And so what was happening outside these walls in the late 18th century?

  • For some people it was a period of great prosperity with the boom in

  • manufacturing but with this increase in industry and also with the rise in

  • population cities could become very overcrowded and unsanitary. But there

  • were also places a great spectacle, so it was great period for the

  • theatre, for pleasure gardens and also for shopping

  • William Murray, he was a judge and he made quite an important ruling when he was Lord Chief Justice

  • Can you tell me about that?

  • He was the most powerful judge in England as Lord Chief Justice

  • and in 1772 he had a particularly significant case and that

  • was the case of James Somerset. Somerset was a former slave who had been

  • imprisoned by his once master and he was about to be sent to Jamaica in order

  • to be sold. But Murray ruled that no slaver could forcibly send a slave out

  • of England and in his summing up he described slavery as 'odious' so that was

  • just very much one small step in a much longer journey towards the abolition of slavery

  • William Murray lived here with two nieces as well didn't he

  • One of which, Dido Elizabeth Belle, I'm really keen to hear more about

  • Dido came to live here at Kenwood in about 1766 and she was the illegitimate daughter of

  • John Lindsay and an African woman, Maria Belle, who was possibly a slave

  • although we don't have the evidence to necessarily prove that, but Lindsay, who

  • was Lord Mansfield's nephew, had been stationed in the Caribbean and was

  • an officer of the Royal Navy. Now Dido as both illegitimate and also

  • mixed-race would have faced many challenges in 18th century English

  • society. But we do know that she was brought up here at Kenwood as a lady. She

  • was a companion to her cousin; she was taught to read, write and play music and

  • she also supervised the dairy which was a popular pastime for ladies in that period

  • Now this room is filled with many examples of other other women from this

  • period. Tell me about the exquisite works of art that we're seeing here

  • These paintings are part of an outstanding collection that was formed by Edward

  • Cecil Guinness, 1st Earl of Iveagh, and then was given to the nation along with the

  • house after his death in 1927

  • And this woman here in particular is very familar

  • Could you tell me a bit more about this painting?

  • Yes so this is Caroline Alicia Fleming who in 1776 married John Brisco and that's actually

  • the same date we believe as when she posed this portrait by Thomas

  • Gainsborough. Her husband was later made a baronet

  • so we know her today as Lady Brisco

  • I love the fact that so many of the

  • pictures here, the paintings they're quite romantic,

  • they're quite whimsical. There's an element of sort of costume and fancy

  • dress to many of them can you tell me about what we're seeing?

  • So there was very much a trend to depict 18th century ladies as characters from

  • history, from literature and myths and that was the cause history paintings were

  • seen as the most important type of paintings in this period, much more

  • important than portraiture. So the artists were very much trying to elevate

  • the status of portraiture and their own status as artists. But I can imagine it

  • would have been very flattering as an 18th century lady to be portrayed as a

  • Greek goddess or a Shakespearean heroine as well

  • And speaking of history we've got someone dressed as Cleopatra here right

  • Yes so this is Kitty Fisher, the famous 18th century courtesan. But Joshua Reynolds the

  • painter has chosen to show her as Cleopatra and it's very much an allusion

  • to Kitty's own seductive charms

  • And so we're seeing a real flourishing of the arts in this period aren't we

  • Absolutely, both in terms of portraiture and also

  • theater and of course fashion.

  • I love the fashions from this era for both

  • women and men. I'm particularly keen on cultivating a

  • sort of menswear silhouette from this era, it's definitely one of my favourites

  • Now speaking of fashion, you've got something to show me, haven't you?

  • I do. So we've got a large collection of Georgian shoe buckles. Would you like to come and take a closer look?

  • I would love to!

  • We're really lucky to have an amazing, quite unusual collection of shoe buckles on display here at Kenwood