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Edwardian Housekeeping: Furnishing the Shooting-Box


Shooting party including King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra

The Edwardians had clothing for every hour of the day and every activity, and they also had houses suited for individual activities as well! Shooting-boxes were residences either owned or rented for the sole purpose of housing a party of people gathered for the shooting season. Some were small estates, and others–typically in Scotland–were of a more utilitarian style: merely a few bedrooms for guests and a sitting room. The following describes the suggested furnishing of a shooting box of the cottage variety.

I am going to devote this paper to the requisites of a country home such as a shooting-box or a quiet cottage. Messrs. Hampton have just completed an ideal fitment for a sitting-room of the kind, which is herewith illustrated; it is a most comfortable, liveable room, artistic and pretty withal. Note the fireplace and its inglenook. In the far north, even in September, there will be a competition for those benches, especially by the sportsmen back from their day’s work, and I am afraid a good many of them will fall comfortably asleep there. The beam forms a shelf where old pewter jugs and brass candlesticks and any old pottery handy might find an appropriate place. Modern oak or old oak could be displayed to advantage above the corner couch, a most comfortable resting-place with a novel, when the sun is too hot or the day’s labour completed.

A corner of a sitting room in a shooting-box

You can step out of the window in a moment, into the garden, and however much writing you may happen to have to do, you can enjoy the air and the sunshine at the practical bureau by the window. It has comfortable drawers for tho disposal of papers, and the feet sink into the Turkish carpet placed in front of it. The gate-table holds papers, books, and maybe a pipe or two that are wanted ready to hand, to say nothing of the flowers, without which no living-room can be perfect. The shape of the flower receptacles here set forth can be hardly too highly commended, for they hold plenty of water and keep the flowers fresh: a few go a long way. There is an ample bookcase at the side and a dresser for old or modern china; a cupboard below for stowing away anything that is needed. This would not be at all expensive to arrange. The floor might be covered with felt or even Indian matting. It is both excellent to look at and a thoroughly comfortable apartment, the rafter roof being not the least of its many charms.

At this well-known firm you may set yourself up with all kinds of treasures in the way of Nankeen porcelain, Sheffield plate, antique silver, old embroideries, laces, brocades, vestments, old Spanish embroidered pictures, French furniture of antique date covered with embroidery, ancient tapestries, and a wealth of old furniture of all periods. You may pay for them as liberally as such irreplaceable articles demand, but you may also find the requirements for a modest country home at very reasonable prices. I have been choosing there a number of odds and ends lately for such a purpose: a little corner table of carved oak with a flat top, twenty-one inches square when opened out, and twenty-eight inches high ; it costs under £1, but it is quite the joy of my life for the time being, and so is, a little round inlaid table, reproduction from an old model with a sixteen inch top, twenty-two inches high, which holds my flowers or a little bit of needlework.

It can be set by an easy-chair, with a wealth of books to select from in the lazy hours in which we all indulge at this time of the year. Their revolving bookcases, of all heights and all sizes, appeal to me especially. One, which revolves and has a sort of small round table rising out of the centre at the top, is set on four legs, which support a shelf at the bottom, most convenient for newspapers. Its total height is over forty-three inches, and it can be obtained for under a five-pound note. Some of them have two, some three, tiers of bookshelves, and they range from thirteen inches to four feet high, and the number of books they can stow away is simply marvellous; you can- have them circular, oblong, square, anything you like, and one thirty-four inches high has a nest of three drawers combined in it. I find it a perfectly delightful addition to a little country home.

Bedroom in a shooting-box

Throughout, the quality and artistic merit of their productions are unassailable, notwithstanding the really moderate prices. Cheap rubbish is dear at any price. Anyone wishing to furnish for a certain sum can do so, the estimates covering linen, china, cutlery, ironmongery, and kitchen requisites; and the firm forwards not only copious coloured illustrations, but a list of what they supply for each room. In furnishing for the country let me suggest a spinning-wheel chair and a grandfather clock as most desirable adjuncts.

I have in my mind’s eye a very comfortable dining-room, furnished by them, with a good Turkey carpet and oak furniture. The oak sideboard was particularly charming with a copper frieze let in at the back, cellarettes on either side surmounted by a drawer, a couple of drawers in the middle, with the knee-hole below, for bestowing bottles, the front being five-sided. The pretty oriel window of the room had a comfortable cushioned seat, covered with tapestry; the colouring throughout was most reposeful.

I am so glad to find that the canopy beds, which used to be purely French, have once more come into favour. They are very graceful, and they make it much easier to place a bed in the corner of the room. For the country, wicker-work chairs and ash-stained furniture are all that is needed. I am not thinking so much of a permanent residence as a home to which we flit when we can get away from town.

In sitting-rooms the chimneypiece is generally the chief structural feature, which consequently demands much attention; and it is astonishing how we have improved in their design of late years, while we are able to have what is beautiful without spending overmuch “siller.” For bedrooms there is nothing so cheap as the painted iron chimneypieces, for they are to be had as low as a guinea; but of course, if you are prepared to pay more money you may have pine with black grates, and tiles for the side, and black and brass grates and glass let in for the overmantels, or the overmantel may include pretty woodwork with receptacles for china. Old Adam’s patterns have been revived, and comfortable old hobs of long ago in cast iron.

— Ardern Holt, “The Home Beautiful”

London & Paris Fashions: September 1902


Teagown of lace and chiffon, 1902

It is distinctly depressing to contemplate the purchase of warm garments for cool days before the summer has left us; and though in September we may reasonably expect a. short spell of what is known as an Indian summer, we are obliged to take cool mornings and evenings into consideration.

September is essentially a holiday month, and we like, if possible, to wear out our summer clothes, and to utilise the garments we already possess, in order that we may save our allowances in view of indulging in autumn fashions next month. Fashions are always changing, and the powers that regulate La Mode could certainly not allow even the holiday month of the year to pass without introducing novelties of some kind; and though, perhaps, it is heresy to say so, I must warn you against September modes, which often die ere October dawns.

A neat shooting suit, 1902

September is an excellent month to replenish one’s wardrobe as far as “things unseen” are concerned—dressing-gowns, peignoirs, bed-jackets, nightdresses, and warm undergarments in general, taking into consideration that the summer is practically over.

Many smart dust-cloaks and travelling-wraps are made in the Empire and military styles. There is no doubt that the long coat, or what is properly known as the coat wrap, will play a great part in our autumnal fashions. Indeed, it has done so for some time past, and the alpaca dust-coats that did duty in the summer were all cut with a style and chic hitherto unknown in the world of wraps. The three-quarter sac is a favourite wrap, and there are many ways of treating it.

Serge sailor blouse, with felt ha

In the early part of the season it was distinctly Japanese, cut in the kimono shape, and finished with tassels. But for the autumn we want more sportsmanlike garments; therefore most of the tweed three-quarter length wraps have the sleeves cut right into the shoulder after the fashion of a man’s waterproof. Many of these are finished with a velvet collar, which I always think just saves a wrap of this description from being hard and unbecoming. Still, it is better to have a thing a little less becoming than incongruous where country clothes are concerned. Chiffony chiffons and flimsy, windblown garments look horribly out of place on an Irish bog or Scotch moor.

In Paris the bright tones of emerald green are giving place to a new pastel shade, which will come more into prominence as the autumn advances. On almost every frock there is a touch of black velvet—a pretty fashion of which the intelligent woman never seems to tire. This is particularly noticeable on hats, and millinery is more alluring than ever.

Coat with triple basque, 1902

Let me implore all women of fashion to leave their picture-hats and beflowered and befeathered millinery at home. Feathers will come in on a future occasion, but they are not suitable for the country in September. [T]here is a perfect craze for Panama hats. If you must have one, have a good one. I think that every woman who has passed her first youth should soften the brim of her hat by a touch of black velvet or a draping of lace. The chief point of the Panama is its lightness, and this is of great importance in travelling headgear.

Traveling coat, 1902

— Mrs. Eric Pritchard, The Lady’s Realm

Student Life in Oxford University


A few weeks ago I received an email from a reader curious about daily life at university for an upwardly mobile young man and I figured the least I could do was to share a description with you!

The Full Costume of an Eightsman

When a freshman is once established in college, his life falls into a pleasantly varied routine. The day is ushered in by the scout, who bustles into the bedroom, throws aside the curtain, pours out the bath, and shouts, “Half past seven, sir,” in a tone that makes it impossible to forget that chapel — or if one chooses, roll-call — comes at eight. Unless one keeps his six chapels or “rollers” a week, he is promptly “hauled” before the dean, who perhaps “gates” him. To be gated is to be forbidden to pass the college gate after dark, and fined a shilling for each night of confinement.

Breakfast comes soon after chapel, or roll-call. If a man has “kept a dirty roller,” that is, has reported in pyjamas, ulster, and boots, and has turned in again, the scout puts the breakfast before the fire on a trestle built of shovel, poker, and tongs, where it remains edible until noon. If a man has a breakfast party on, the scout makes sure that he is stirring in season, and, hurrying through the other rooms on the staircase, is presently on hand for as long as he may be wanted. The usual Oxford breakfast is a single course, which not infrequently consists of some one of the excellent English pork products, with an egg or kidneys. There may be two courses, in which case the first is of the no less excellent fresh fish. There are no vegetables. The breakfast is ended with toast and jam or marmalade. When one has fellows in to breakfast, and the Oxford custom of rooming alone instead pf chumming makes such hospitality frequent, — his usual meal is increased by a course, say, of chicken. In any case it leads to a morning cigarette, for tobacco aids digestion, and helps fill the hour or so after meals which an Englishman gives to relaxation.

At ten o’clock the breakfast may be interrupted for a moment by the exit of some one bent on attending a lecture, though one apologizes for such an act as if it were scarcely good form. An appointment with one’s tutor is a more legitimate excuse for leaving; but even this is always an occasion for an apology, in behalf of the tutor of course, for one is certainly not himself responsible. If a quorum is left, they manage to sit comfortably by the fire, smoking and chatting in spite of lectures and tutors, until by mutual consent they scatter to glance at the ” Times ” and the ” Sportsman” in the common-room, or even to get in a bit of reading.

Luncheon often consists of bread and cheese and jam from the buttery, with perhaps a half pint of bitter beer; but it may, like the breakfast, come from the college kitchen. In any case it is very light, for almost immediately after it everybody scatters to field and track and river for the exercise that the English climate makes necessary and the sport that the English temperament demands.

By four o’clock every one is back in college tubbed and dressed for tea, which a man serves himself in his rooms to as many fellows as he has been able to gather in on field or river. If he is eager to hear of the games he has not been able to witness, he goes to the junior common-room or to his club, where he is sure to find a dozen or so of kindred spirits representing every sport of importance. In this way he hears the minutest details of the games of the day from the players themselves; and before nightfall — such is the influence of tea — those bits of gossip which in America are known chiefly among members of a team have ramified the college. Thus the function of the “bleachers ” on an American field is performed with a vengeance by the easy-chairs before a common-room fire; and a man had better be kicked off the team by an American captain than have his shortcomings served up with common-room tea.

The two hours between tea and dinner may be, and usually are, spent in reading.

At seven o’clock the college bell rings, and in two minutes the fellows have thrown on their gowns and are seated at table, where the scouts are in readiness to serve them. As a rule a man may sit wherever he chooses; this is one of the admirable arrangements for breaking up such cliques as inevitably form in a college. But in point of fact a man usually ends by sitting in some certain quarter of the hall, where from day to day he finds much the same set of fellows. Thus all the advantages of friendly intercourse are attained without any real exclusiveness.

Across the end of the hall is a platform for high table, at which the dons assemble as soon as the undergraduates are well seated. On Sunday night they come out in full force, and from the time the first one enters until the last is seated, the undergraduates rattle and bang the tables, until it seems as if the glass must splinter. When, as often happens, a distinguished graduate comes up, — the Speaker of the Commons to Balliol, or the Prime Minister to Christ Church, — the enthusiasm has usually to be stopped by a gesture from the master or the dean.

After hall the dons go to the senior common-room for the sweet and port. At Trinity they have one room for the sweet and another for port. The students, meanwhile, in certain of the colleges, may go for dessert to the college store; that is to say, to a room beneath the hall, where the fancy groceries of the college stock are displayed for sale. There are oranges from Florida and Tangiers, dainty maiden blush apples from New England, figs and dates from the Levant, prunes and prunelles from Italy, candied apricots from France, and the superb English hothouse grapes, more luscious than Silenus ever crushed against his palate. There are sweets, cigarettes, and cigars. All are spread upon the tables like a Venetian painting of abundance; but at either end of the room stand two Oxford scouts, with account-books in their hands.

In the evening, when the season permits, the fellows sit out of doors after dinner, smoking and playing bowls. As long as the English twilight lingers, the men will sit and talk and sing to the mandolin; and I have heard of fellows sitting and talking all night, not turning in until the porter appeared to take their names at roll-call. On the eve of Mayday it is quite the custom to sit out, for at dawn one may go to see the pretty ceremony of heralding the May on Magdalen Tower. If a man intends to spend the evening out of college, he has to make a dash before nine o’clock; for love or for money the porter may not let an inmate out after nine.

An American at Oxford (1902)