Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Jane Austen and her Sister, Casssandra's, Crosses

It is said that Jane Austen and her sister, Cassandra, were given crosses by their brother, Charles, as gifts.  The original crosses, show here, were lovely topaz set in gold.  This is mentioend in a letter from Jane austen to her sister Cassandra on May 27, 1801.  I've been able to simulate them at a very affordable price and in several colors.  These are as close as you can really get without paying a fortune for a custom order piece or trying to find an antique that you are afraid to wear.  Check out my Etsy shop for those available in brass or silver.
My Yellow Topaz Cross - a repro of Jane's

My reproduction of Cassandra's Cross

Original Jane and Cassandra Cross
(Information taken from Hermitage 100)

Susan Adair's Relevant History

A Book of Cookery by a Lady

Kimberly Walters author photoRel­e­vant His­tory wel­comes Kim­berly Wal­ters, a liv­ing his­to­rian, author, and owner of K. Wal­ters at the Sign of the Gray Horse, which offers historically-inspired jew­elry. Kim is a proud horse mom first and fore­most. She is a mem­ber of the National Soci­ety Daugh­ters of the Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion, cur­rently of the Fin­cas­tle Chap­ter of Louisville, Ken­tucky, as well as the Asso­ci­a­tion of Liv­ing His­tory, Farm, and Agri­cul­tural Muse­ums. She also serves her coun­try as a Fed­eral employee. Sales from A Book of Cook­ery by a Lady help sup­port her res­cued Colo­nial Williams­burg horse. To learn more, check out her web site.
Fire, frying pan, and potsWhen I started par­tic­i­pat­ing in liv­ing his­tory events, a friend rec­om­mended that I look into hearth cook­ing to give me a pur­pose and some­thing to do. I was skep­ti­cal, but I am not one to sit around and do noth­ing, no mat­ter where I am. Wasn’t that hot and sweaty work? With five res­cue horses, I’m not a light­weight, so I am used to work­ing hard, but this was a dif­fer­ent kind of work. Nev­er­the­less, I was not pre­pared for what I was get­ting myself into! I did start my research with pas­sion and immersed myself into the sub­ject. What’s not bet­ter to like than food?
First and second course layoutAfter I stud­ied period cook­ery books and actu­ally cooked over a fire, I com­piled appro­pri­ate recipes (also known as receipts in the time period). I was so enam­ored with how they did things in the kitchen and in din­ing, I couldn’t stop. My orig­i­nal con­cept was to find the most com­mon things of the time period that would assist me with inter­pret­ing this part of his­tory to the pub­lic with­out a bunch of notes tucked away in my pocket (or hav­ing to remem­ber it). It was all really meant for me. That sounds kind of self­ish but it is true! How­ever, many of us that do research cher­ish the lit­tle bits of infor­ma­tion that we find that are not well known and like to keep them close to us like the “Gol­lum” did of the “One Ring” of the The Hob­bit by J.R.R. Tolkien. They are precious!
18th-century mealFive years later, I decided to pub­lish my find­ings as A Book of Cook­ery by a Lady. I did so on what would have been my Mom’s birth­day as a trib­ute to her. I was also enam­ored with an arti­cle writ­ten about Mrs. Eliz­a­beth Thomp­son, George Washington’s house­keeper dur­ing the war years, by Ms. Nancy K. Loane. Mrs. Thompson’s ser­vice is not really well known, yet she deserves to be remem­bered for run­ning the great general’s house­hold and feed­ing his staff. I have com­piled a his­tory on her as a memo­r­ial of her ser­vice. It is a high­light of the book.
A lot of chap­ters are inter­est­ing from a his­tor­i­cal viewpoint—but also very prac­ti­cal for today. This includes items in sea­son, cook­ing terms, mea­sure­ments, receipts, how to carve meats, set­ting a table for one to thirty dishes, and even how to choose your pro­duce at the market.
Kitchen clean­li­ness and safety in the 18th cen­tury
One of the other areas that I think is highly impor­tant and under­rep­re­sented is clean­li­ness and safety in the 18th-century kitchen. What was really con­sid­ered, done, and writ­ten down? I’m always asked if I am going to use bleach, soap, and san­i­tizer when cook­ing. No. I use 18th-century meth­ods, and they work. Gen­eral obser­va­tions for cooks and what they needed to do to ensure they did not poi­son or make any­one sick were also noted in my book. This focused on uten­sils and equipment.
The types of met­als that the equip­ment was made from and how they were cleaned was very impor­tant. If a cook wanted to poi­son some­one, they could do so by using a cer­tain type of pot that had verdi­gris on it and serv­ing it right up! Cooks did not know that some of the met­als were deadly that they used, but they at least knew that if they were not cleaned cor­rectly, they could be deadly.
I cau­tion the reader not to use an orig­i­nal pot or uten­sil to cook for demon­stra­tion or at home. We may not be able to iden­tify the type of metal it is made from today. By focus­ing on M. Rad­cliffe, I high­lighted this very issue. Rad­cliffe talks about lead and its haz­ards, which is some­what unique, but by this time well known. Here is an excerpt from her book:
Lead is a metal eas­ily cor­roded, espe­cially by the warm steams of acids, such as vine­gar, cider, lemon-juice, Rhen­ish wine, &c. and this solu­tion, or salt of lead, is a slow and insid­i­ous, though cer­tain poi­son. The glaz­ing of all our com­mon brown pot­tery ware is either lead or lead ore; if black, it is a lead ore, with a small pro­por­tion of man­ganese, which is a species of iron ore; if yel­low, the glaz­ing is lead ore, and appears yel­low­ish by hav­ing some pipe or white clay under it. The colour of the com­mon pot­tery ware is red, as the ves­sels are made of the same clay as com­mon bricks. These ves­sels are so porous, that they are pen­e­trated by all salts, acid or alka­line, and are unfit for retain­ing any saline sub­stances. They are improper, though too often used, for pre­serv­ing sour fruits or pick­les. The glaz­ing of such ves­sels is cor­roded by the vine­gar: for, upon evap­o­rat­ing the liquor, a quan­tity of the salt of lead will be found at the bot­tom. A sure way of judg­ing whether the vine­gar or other acid have dis­solved part of the glaz­ing, is by their becom­ing vapid, or los­ing their sharp­ness, and acquir­ing a sweet­ish taste by stand­ing in them for some time; in which case the con­tents must be thrown away as pernicious.
Rad­cliffe, M., A Mod­ern Sys­tem of Domes­tic Cook­ery: or, The Housekeeper’s Guide, Arranged on the Most Eco­nom­i­cal Plan for Pri­vate Fam­i­lies. Orig­i­nally pub­lished in 1823, dig­i­tized on Google Books Aug 15, 2007.
A Book of Cookery by a Lady book cover imageA big thanks to Kim­berly Wal­ters. She’ll give away a copy of A Book of Cook­ery by a Lady to some­one who con­tributes a com­ment on my blog this week. I’ll choose the win­ner from among those who com­ment by Fri­day at 6 p.m. ET. Deliv­ery is avail­able within the U.S.



Thursday, September 3, 2015

ALHFAM Review, Summer 2015, Volume XLV, No. 2

I was honored to have Ms. Mercy Ingraham, of An Open Hearth Cook, review my cookery book.  She loved it so much that she submitted a review to the Association for Living History, Farm, and Agricultural Museums (ALHFAM) Bulletin.  It made it in the Summer 2015, Volume XLV, No. 2, issue along with an ad for my book.  I am so grateful to her for taking the time.

Here is what it says:

Resource Reviews

Kimberly K. Walters, A Book of Cookery: Containing Above Three Hundred Receipts Made at Hearth, Suitable for an Elegant Entertainment or Common Fare for Preparing and Dressing Every Thing Suitable for Drinking and Dining at Any Time of the Day including Receipts for Lent, Household Cleaning, and Remedies for Ailments. By a Lady. (Self-published by Kimberly K. Walters, 2014). ISBN 978-0-692-26980-0; $41.82 USD. 348 pages, illustrations, bibliography, soft cover.

Reviewed by Mercy Ingraham

Kimberly K. Walters is an historic cook and reenactor. Her guidance in things culinary is assured. She has given us a book that is useful to any historic cook as it addresses the wide body of knowledge that must be mastered by the eighteenth century interpreter. In particular, she honors General Washington’s housekeeper, Mrs. Elizabeth Thompson, to whom she dedicates her book. By outlining daily duties, the author gives us a good picture of eighteenth-century women’s work.

She has chosen to format the book in the style of the eighteenth century and mimics the language used then. This gives the book a feeling of authenticity. She has relied heavily upon primary material and dutifully acknowledges her sources at every turn.

The book contains the lessons your mother would have taught you if you had been an eighteenth century girl. It explains various techniques of cooking, such as how to manage the fire, and outlines culinary practices whose descriptions are largely absent from historic cookbooks. Culinary poisons are identified--mushrooms, hemlock, and laurel. Walters warns against some of the risks involved in using various antique cooking vessels, which may contain copper or lead, and the problems found in some older pottery glazes.

The book is divided into 11 parts. It begins by instructing you how to select meat, fish and poultry, dairy and vegetables. There are also tips for the twenty-first-century cook in choosing historically appropriate supermarket foods for use in reenacting. Walters considers seasonality but reminds you that this is dependent upon where you live. The bills of fare or menus are described, as is the arrangement of dishes upon the table. The largest section by far is the one that contains 300 receipts from 63 historic cookbooks. The original sources are noted in parentheses at the end of each recipe. The author also explains less familiar culinary terms, such as “neat,” “sweet meats,” “sippets” and “yelk.” The glossary at the end of the book is extensive and there is another very useful section which translates eighteenth-century quantities into more familiar contemporary measurements.

Many people will find the section on receipts to be the most valuable part of the book. It covers all sorts of recipes and saves one the expense, to say nothing of the shelf space, of buying the 63 cookbooks that are the sources of the recipes. The problem for the historic cook is that the section includes recipes ranging from medieval times to the mid-nineteenth century, and unless you know your cookbook authors and eras, you run the risk of using a Civil War recipe at a Revolutionary War reenactment.

You can, of course, check the dates of the books, which are, in most cases, listed in the bibliography. The author has added helpful hints—invariably useful—at the end of some of the recipes. She also includes a few of her own recipes, which look tasty and would not be out of place at any reenactment.  I personally learned the most from the section of the book on carving. I’ve always approached carving as if everything were either a chicken or a pot roast. This section has Henderson’s Housekeeper’s Instructor as its source and includes that author’s copious and helpful illustrations. The diagrams show the anatomy of any animal you are likely to cook (and some you might not), along with directions on how to best carve and present it. As we know, the quality of a meal is frequently judged by its presentation.

This is a lovely book and any serious student of historically authentic food will find it useful. I am in awe of the encyclopedic number of facts at the author’s disposal. The novice will find answers to questions they didn’t know they needed to ask. The experienced historic cook will surely learn more than a thing or two, and the expert will admire how well Ms. Walters has put together a lifetime of knowledge and a huge selection of recipes in an easy-to-read and portable book.

About the Reviewer Mercy Ingraham is an open hearth cook and food historian from Pennsylvania, who has been demonstrating and teaching the use of fire for cooking for the public and historic cooking practitioners over the past twenty years.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


I was asked today about Cameos in the 18th Century. I thought I'd put out a bit of information that I have compiled for those of you who want to wear your cameos...while I have personally not seen cameos worn as a pendant on a ribbon or on the front of a gown in portraiture at this time, I would not discount wearing them.  They were worn but how common were they to all?  The true heyday was in the mid to late 19th Century (then Limoges enameled jewelry became popular).

"In the salons of 18th-century Europe, carved gemstones were all the rage with high-society ladies. Cameo makers of the time would take Plaster of Paris molds of these carved gemstones as records of notable cameo collections. At the time, cameos were a sign of wealth and privilege, but glass paste brought cameos to the mainstream. In fine jewelry, the cameo is defined as an ornament carved in relief from a high-quality material such as stone, shell, coral, Gutta-percha, bog oak, ivory, lava, or mother-of-pearl. The most common cameo motif is the portrait. These bore the likeness of an actual person, usually a well-known person of the day which included a ruler, scholar, or philosopher. In the early 19th century, cameos started to feature an anonymous Roman woman wearing no jewelry.

Cameos gained steadily in popularity over the 18th century, as evidenced by their occurrence as motifs on objects of all sorts. The Staffordshire firm of Josiah Wedgwood sold innumerable copies and imitations. One of his more successful items was of the "Marlborough Cameo," a sardonyx cameo from the first century B.C. depicting the marriage of Cupid and Psyche that was owned by Peter Paul Rubens before it entered the collection of Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel, sometime before 1727.

As early as 1779, portraits were made in glass and ceramics particularly of Benjamin Franklin in France. These were seen generally in snuff box lids and rings. Wedgwood medallions were also manufactured as they were moulded or stamped out quickly eliminating time-consuming carving by hand. Artistic skill was needed only for making the initial master pattern.

The cameo really came into the height of fashion when Napoleon had an interest in Roman cameos after his campaign in Italy in 1796. The carving of shell cameos was then revived as well. This included in America as well as the rise of the professional sculptor who also augmented their major works with miniatures carved out of shell or stone.

Information from Collector's Weekly, "Antique and Vintage Cameos," "Jewelry from America" by Martha Gandy Fales, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, "Cameo Appearances," by James David Draper.

Photo is of the cameo with the wedding of Cupid and Psyche, or an initiation rite. Mid 1st–late 1st century B.C. Signed by Tryphon.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Sign of the Gray Horse on Etsy

I am in the middle of transitioning my items to Etsy in order to make it easier for my customers to purchase from me inbetween events!  If you do not see something on Etsy, it is still shown on this website for sale.  Just e-mail me at kimberlywalters@comcast.net if ordering from this website until I get things moved over.  Thank you so much for your patience!

I will do my best to include a portrait, print, or photo of the item's inspiration or a photo of it being worn. 

Be on the lookout for coupon codes and other deals!!!!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Equipage and Watch Chains and Fobs

Portrait of a lady Margaret Arundel Lady Weston, attributed to Robert Peake the Younger
circa 1610-1616

May 1745, by Thomas Burford 
The Personification of May

John Ash's 1775 Dictionary, Volume II, defines a watch fob as "a little pocket." 

The "Equipages, Chatelaines, and Macaronis" The Working life of Museum of London article mentions that "An equipage consisted of a hook, which would have been invisible when worn....Attached to this hook were one or several, often highly ornamental, plaques, from which dangled not only watches, but also various trinkets or ‘toys’, such as containers for thimbles, scissors, bodkins and such like (tassels were also popular)..."

"The distinguished scholar and jewellery collector Dame Joan Evans (who donated part of her collection to the Museum) wrote in 1921: ‘Soon after 1770 the Macaronis [highly fashionable young men] introduced a chatelaine of a new kind. Instead of terminating in a hook, it ended in an ornamental medallion, from which hung tassels and charms, while the supporting chains were slightly longer. This must have been held in place by the waistbelt so that the watch and the tassels both hung down.  Fobs were also worn, one end hung with a watch and the other with a heavy seal, a dummy watch, or fausse montre’ [fake watch to you and me]." 

Miss Mary Edwards by William Hogarth, 1742, The Frick Collection

William Wollaston, ca. 1759, by Thomas Gainsborough

Galleries des Modes

Galleries des Modes, 1779

Joshua Walker of Clifton House, 1780

1786, December, Magasin des Modes

In the early to mid 1770's, we see ribbon or chain hanging down from one or both sides of a man's breeches that show charms or seals.  The watch itself would be in the fob (or pocket).  The counterbalance of the charms and seals were a nice decoration and also fashionable.  This was also done with women, but it hung from a hook on their petticoats.

During the 1770's and 1780's, the trend shifted to having two watch chains - one with a real watch and the other with a tassle, faux watch, medallion, or whatever they liked or was the trend.

Portrait of Captain George Montagu circa 1780-1790 
Attributed to Thomas Beach or Franci Abbott

We also see this trend and fashion into the 1790's and going into the new century.

Hugh Douglas Hamilton, R.H.A., Arthur Hill, 2nd Marquess of Downshire 1785-90 pastel

Fashionable Spring Walking Dresses, fashion plate, hand-colored engraving on paper, published by John Bell in La Belle Assemblie, London, June, 1808

Restrained and classic outfit. Costume Parisien, 1816

Jacoba van Wessem by Dirk van Oosterhoudt, ca. 1820-1830

An excellent source of information, and to see originals, can be found on the 18th Century Notebook under 18th Century Chatelaines and Equipage or at the 18th Century Material Culture Resource Center's 
Time Pieces and Watch Chains

Lover's Eye Miniatures and Pendants

     The idea is that two lovers would commission miniature eye portraits to be made into...tokens they could wear as a symbol of their secret liaison. With only a portrait of one eye, only the wearer would know the identity of his/her lover. Sometimes the eye portrait had a compartment in the back of the locket, ring, or brooch containing a lock of hair.  The could then be worn without anyone knowing the identity of the giver.  These tokens were also done as memorial jewelry.  

     My pendants only hold a picture.  If you would like a special loved one's eye made into a pendant, please contact me for specifics as I can do special orders.  These would require high resolution photos directly of the face and/or eye.  I have many types of findings - either silver or gold/brass in which to use.

     Miniatures are fine small portraits given as love, non-romantic friendship, political allegiance, or memorial tokens between husbands, wives, parents, children, etc.  The quality of the settings reflected their importance and the wealth of their giver.  (Snipets taken from "Georgian Jewelry" by Ginny Redington Dawes with Olivia Collings.)

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Stick Pins

Miniature portrait of a boy by Jacques Lemoine (1790)

"The wearing of stickpins began as a practical method of securing the voluminous neckwear, that was worn, both as a practical way of keeping warm and protecting the shirt from the debris of careless eaters, but also as part of the fine feathers of the strutting gentlemen peacocks of the eighteenth century.   The period from the late eighteenth century, when the wearing of stickpins became fashionable, to the beginning of the twentieth century was a period of great change and also of an enormous spread of wealth." 
(Taken from About Stickpins, A Brief History - http://www.fineperiodjewels.com/about_stickpins.php)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Hat Pins - a short History

"We know that prior to 1832, small handmade pins with decorative heads were used as devices to secure lace caps, mob caps, veils, and other pinnings to head and body attire.  We also realize that it was not until the introduction of stringless "bonnets" that the PERIOD HATPIN entered the scene.  Both the transition from bonnet to hat, and the introduction of plentiful hatpins were due, in part, to the less expensive machine-made hatpins which were manufactured "by the ton."  
"Although bent wire hair pins were known as early as the 16th century, they were all hand wrought, as were the hatpins before the advent of the pin-making machine in 1832."
"As hats became wider and bolder, and hair was shown in more abundant quantities, the necessary securing implement, the hatpin, became longer and surely as opulent as the millinery itself." 

 ~ Taken from "Hatpins and hatpin holders," by Lillian Baker
While Lillian Baker discusses pin-making in 1832 by using a machine, we do know that pin-making was being done in an assembly line process by hand earlier in the 18th Century. This is known from the description of the manufacture of pins within An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, by Adam Smith, Edwin Cannan, ed. 1904. Library of Economics and Liberty. 9 February 2014.  

"…One man draws out the wire, another straights it, a third cuts it, a fourth points it, a fifth grinds it at the top for receiving the head; to make the head requires two or three distinct operations; to put it on, is a peculiar business, to whiten the pins is another; it is even a trade by itself to put them into the paper; and the important business of making a pin is, in this manner, divided into about eighteen distinct operations, which, in some manufactories, are all performed by distinct hands, though in others the same man will sometimes perform two or three of them. I have seen a small manufactory of this kind where ten men only were employed, and where some of them consequently performed two or three distinct operations. But though they were very poor, and therefore but indifferently accommodated with the necessary machinery, they could, when they exerted themselves, make among them about twelve pounds of pins in a day. There are in a pound upwards of four thousand pins of a middling size. Those ten persons, therefore, could make among them upwards of forty-eight thousand pins in a day. Each person, therefore, making a tenth part of forty-eight thousand pins, might be considered as making four thousand eight hundred pins in a day…

Decorated and undecorated hat pins were available and used in the 18th Century.

Dressing Room a 'l'Anglaise, 1789, Lewis Walpole Collection

Detail of Dressing room a` l'Anglaise, 1789, Lewis Walpole Collection