18th Century

Ah! my heart, pray for me, but especially for the salvation of those who may be the victims of all this. If I were sure about that, I should not suffer so much; I could say to myself that an eternity of happiness awaits them. Collect for this prayer all the souls you know; some are more interested than others, and have certainly thought of this. What troubles each individual is enduring! More fortunate than some, I have this week resumed my usual way of life, but my soul is far from being able to take pleasure in it. Yet I am calm, and if I did not fear more for others than for myself, it seems to me that I could support with ease my position, which, though I am not a prisoner, is nevertheless annoying. Adieu, my heart; I love and kiss you tenderly.

–Madame Elisabeth to the marquise de Raigecourt, July 9th, 1791

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Old fashioned instagram. I just love this ad.

Harlots is wonderful and here’s why you should watch it:

  • it centres around the experiences of 18th century women in the sex industry without fetishising them or acting condescendingly towards them
  • it features gay women and they will almost definitely get together in the coming episodes (it’s not the kind of hinting that’s just queerbaiting, they’re legit setting up for these two women to fall in love and its going to be wonderful)
  • there are multiple black characters who are legitimately important to the plot as opposed to just background characters (also one of them is gay). It’s set in the 18th century so it’s great that it’s acknowledging that there were plenty of non-white people in London 200+ years ago.
  • the costumes (the whole aesthetic really) are absolutely beautiful
  • it’s based on real historical sources such as Harris’ List of Covent Garden Ladies and there’s loads of fun things to pick up on for people who know a bit about this time period
  • following on from the last point, it gives a largely accurate portrayal of what the sex industry was like in the 18th century
  • it features a lot of platonic and familial female relationships as well as romantic ones
  • there’s a dominatrix spy in it
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I know you all love 18th century undergarments, so here’s a video from the National Museums Liverpool of a well-off woman getting dressed (of course, with a lot of help).