Baby’s first butcher shop

Toy butcher shops weren’t all that uncommon during the 19th century. These toys carried a high level of detail from the bloody meat hanging from real iron hooks to the sawdust and blood on the floor. Some are speculated to not have been made as toys at all, but mini displays for store fronts so customers would know what the shop owner had in stock.

Image 1: Toy butcher shop from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London c. 1850-1860.

Image 2: Toy butcher shop 1840 from the 1969 book “The World of Toys” by Robert Culff

Image 3: Model butcher shop c. 1900 made by German toy maker Christian Hacker from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Source: Collectors Weekly


Today’s Artist Spotlight: Louis Comfort Tiffany 

Image 1: Design for a window, Mr. J.C. Meredith, St. Paul’s Cathedral. London, Ontario, Canada Late 19th-early 20th Century

Image 2: Design for a window, late 19th-early 20th century

Image 3: Design for a stained glass window, late 19th-early 20th century

Image 4: Chapel Interior late 19th-early 20th century

Image 5: Design for the Lyceum Theater, New York 1885 Tiffany Glass Company

Image 6: Drawing Design vase, 1875-76

Image 7: Drawing design for a magnolia vase ca. 1893

Image 8: Design for a perfume container exhibited at 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago. 1893

Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art


The Borderland was a quarterly magazine, founded and edited by William Thomas Stead in 1893, as a medium to further his growing interest in spiritualism and psychial research. As his assistant editor, He employed Ada Goodrich Freer, a medium, psychic researcher and member of the Society of Psychial Research, which author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was also member. She contributed greatly to the magazine under the pseudonym, “Miss X”. Stead also claimed that they would often communicate through telepathy and automatic writing. On October 1897, the magazine ceased publication, perhaps due to the Society of Psychial Research’s  criticism and dismissal of Freer of her work at the Ballechin House in Scotland.  




The Brownie Blocks, c. 1891 - a puzzle game

“Set of twenty picture puzzle blocks with Palmer Cox’s "Brownies” or elves on each of the six puzzles; puzzles include “Snowballing”, Brownies having a snowball fight in a park, “Skating” with brownies skating on a pond with one who has fallen through the ice and a building in the background flying a Japanese flag, “Hauling the Yule Log” with brownies hauling trees on sleds, “The Dance” with brownies dancing in pairs and groups to a brownie band, “Blindman’s Bluff” with brownies blindfolding and chasing each other and “The Christmas Dinner” with two long tables of brownies eating, serving and carving a turkey; box cover lithographed with sixteen brownies playing on the inscribed title, “THE/ BROWNIE/ BLOCKS/ Manufactured/ by McLOUGHLIN BROS./ NEW YORK/ COPYRIGHTED/ 1891/ by/ PALMER COX.”.

Via the New York Historical Society

Yet each man kills the thing he loves
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!

Some kill their love when they are young,
And some when they are old;
Some strangle with the hands of Lust,
Some with the hands of Gold:
The kindest use a knife, because
The dead so soon grow cold.

Some love too little, some too long,
Some sell, and others buy;
Some do the deed with many tears,
And some without a sigh:
For each man kills the thing he loves,
Yet each man does not die.


The Ballad of Reading Gaol

Oscar Wilde 1898

Download a free digital copy of The Ballad of Reading Gaol from Google Books.


It’s Artsy Tuesday!

Today’s spotlight: Spanish painter Luis Ricardo Falero (1851-1896)


The Moon Nymph (1883)

The Witches going to their Sabbath (1878)

The Witches Sabbath (1880)

Tokaji (1887)

A Fairy Under Starry Skies

Moonlit Beauties

An Oriental Beauty

Le Reve de Falero

La Pose (1879)

The Enchantress (1878) The inscriptions reads “He who took drugs, the intoxication of death made this truth appear”.


Published on November 24, 1859, It was one of the most debated pieces of literature written at the time. Since at the first half of the 19th century the English scientific establishments were tied to the church, Darwin’s theories were challenged not only on a scientific level, but on political and theological.

Image 1: Title page of the 1859 version of Origin of the Species

Image 2: Darwin’s first diagram of the evolutionary tree from his notebook on the Transmutation of the Species in 1837

Image 3: Ernest Haeckle’s “Tree of Life” from the Evolution of Man 1879

Victorian Crochet at the NYNCS Handwork Circle!

On October 1st, I had the pleasure of attending the New York Nineteenth Century Society’s monthly handwork circle. This month’s theme was Victorian crochet lace, with a lecture and demonstration presented by Eva from Circa 1850!

Eva has been blowing my mind with amazing recreations of antique crochet lace trims that she’s creating to trim her handsewn petticoats. The crochet hooks are so tiny, it’s a bit hard to fathom! (Really, when you get to a size 14 or so, it just ends up looking like a tiny ballpoint needle…).

Lucky for you, Eva has recorded her lecture in full so you can check it out on her blog. It was interesting to hear about women in Ireland in the 19th century, many of whom supported their families during the Great Famine by creating unbelievably complex crochet lace that was exported around the globe. I’m sure that some of my Irish-American friends here in the ‘States have crochet geniuses in their family ancestry.

Incredibly complex three dimensional Irish crochet lace (image from Wikipedia).

Eva demonstrates guipure crochet lace for the circle (image from Circa 1850).

Another treat of this month’s Handwork Circle was the amazing building that we met in, the Ottendorfer Library on the Lower East Side. Built in 1883 with funds gifted to the city by Anna Ottendorfer, a newspaper publisher and prominent member of the lower east side’s German immigrant community, the Library is the oldest lending library in the city to occupy its original building. It was designed by the architect William Schickel, and is gorgeously ornate – perfect to host a Victorian needlework group.

Some photos I took of the Ottendorfer Library in the East Village.

This part of the library was actually a hospital serving New York’s German-speaking community in the 1880s.

To get you inspired, here’s an image of Eva’s crochet guipure lace trim that she’s just finished. See what I mean? – it looks just like an antique! 

Click the photo to check out Eva’s other crochet projects on her blog (image from Circa 1850). 

For anyone interested in Victorian needlework and living in the NYC area, the Handwork Circle is ongoing. Feel free to contact me for details if you’d like to stop by!