- Sarah Goodridge, Beauty Revealed. Self portrait miniature on ivory. 2 5/8th inches by 3 1/8th inches. American. 1828.

Let me just type that year again: 1828.

A variation on a Lover’s Eye, this was a gift from Goodridge to Daniel Webster (he who bargained with the devil in Stephen Vincent Benet’s short story) and discovered in his possessions after his death. Most descriptions of the duo’s relationship depict them as “friends and correspondents.”

Right. She painted 12 portraits of Webster over the years. He burned her letters. She kept his, and never married.

Here’s the rest of Sarah Goodridge, in another self-portrait from a couple of years later.

This little piece kills me. Cell phone porn and texted seductions are nothing new. We just keep reinventing ways to tell each other we’ve fallen in love.

January 23rd 1828: Saigō Takamori born

On this day in 1828, the famous Japanese samurai warrior Saigō Takamori was born in Kagoshima. He has often been called ‘the last samurai’. He went on to lead troops of the Satsuma region as they fought their rivals Chōshū. He opposed the opening and modernising of Japan in the Meiji Restoration of 1868, and the ruling Tokugawa Bakufu. He was a leader of the 1877 Satsuma Rebellion against the Meiji Government. Takamori was the basis for Ken Watanabe’s character in the 2003 film ‘The Last Samurai’.

This is the original second-floor foyer leading into the original 1828 Administration Building at Western State Hospital, one of the first public asylums in America.  To the right of frame is the door leading onto the front porch with its grand columns; to left, the staircase leading up to third floor with its ornate wooden spiral staircase.  Ahead and behind are the female and male wards.  For interior architecture that has lasted for nearly two centuries, it’s holding up quite well - and thankfully, will be renovated at some future date.

Print available here.


Wedding Dress

This wedding dress was worn by Eliza Larken for her marriage to William (later 6th Baron) Monson at St. Giles in the Fields Church, London, on 8 May 1828. Eliza (d. 1863) was the youngest daughter of Edmund Larken of Bedford Square, who was employed by the East India Company. William John (1796-1862) was the son of Colonel the Honourable William Monson and Ann, née Debonnaire. The Monson family estates are in Lincolnshire. In choosing white for her wedding dress Eliza was making a fashionable choice. Although white and cream were worn for weddings in the 18th century, it was in the following century that white became the colour to which brides aspired. Eliza’s dress was made with a pair of detachable long sleeves which fit over the short puff sleeves. These would have been worn for the wedding and made the dress suitable for day wear. Worn without the long sleeves, it was transformed into evening wear. The dress also has a matching pelerine - a short cape which is extended at the front with narrow lengths of pendant fabric.


February 8th 1828: Jules Verne born

On this day in 1828, the French author Jules Verne was born in Nantes, France. Verne is famous for his groundbreaking science fiction novels like ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth’ and ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’. He is the second most translated author in the world. He died in March 1905.