Portraying the Victorian Woman




 Copyright - May not be reproduced without permission from:  Victoria Rumble  

What makes a successful lady's impression?  Authenticity?  What is authentic?  Unless you have a clear insight into these questions, perhaps this page may be of assistance to you.  

In recent years we've seen a lot of discussion about "authentic" portrayals and the forums have been jam-packed with folks touting themselves as "authentic".  It is about time we realize that "authentic is not a black and white issue, and there are a lot of gray areas.  Tis far better to ask yourself : 

 "Is my impression authentic to this particular area, at this particular time, and to the actual people who lived it?"    

Nineteenth century life was many-faceted.  There was a time and place for everything.  That doesn't mean, however, any activity can be correct or "authentic" for any given event.   Dancing is perfectly proper and authentic and can be portrayed with great authenticity and enjoyment - but not in every setting.  Dainty crafts such as broderie anglaise or lace making are perfectly proper and can be portrayed with great authenticity and enjoyment - but not in every setting.  

There is much more to putting together our persona or impression than clothing and learning a period craft.  We must match the activity to the setting.  If the main focus of an event is the refugees such as late war Atlanta we must ask ourselves, "Would these refugees have had enough time and resources to sit and make lace or would their time have been consumed in feeding and clothing themselves and looking for some sort of shelter?"  

We have all looked at CDVs, most of us own several of them.  When you look at them do you just look at the dresses and maybe the hairstyle, jewelry, etc. - what's on the surface?  Do you ever look at the whole person and wonder what sort of life she led?  It is the sum total of these 19th century lives we will look at on these pages.    

Please make yourself comfortable, share with a friend, and I do hope these pages in the right hand column are helpful as you put together your own impression, or improve the one you have.  A true authentic never stops thirsting for knowledge and aching to improve upon what she has begun.  She also recognizes that each of us has something worthwhile to contribute and seeks out those of like mind.