Show & Tell: A 19th Century Chatelaine

Chatelaine (USA), ca. 1860; silver, gold wash, ivory, enamel, glass. Cooper Hewitt/Smithsonian Institution

This is an unusual example of a Victorian chatelaine, a fashionable accessory that allowed women to hang a group of small tools on their bodies for convenience’s sake. This chatelaine, held by the Cooper Hewitt Museum, could be affixed to a woman’s waist, like most chatelaines were. It could also be worn around the wrist, like a charm bracelet, offering its wearer a decorative accent as well as some use value in the form of a small chain purse, a mirror, and a locket.

"'Chatelaine,'" writes historian Monica F. Cohen, “derives from the medieval word for a castellan, or a keeper of the castle or chateau who wore at his or her waist the key to the castle’s various rooms.” The chatelaine’s popularity as an accessory in the 1860s, Cohen argues, was due to a growing Victorian belief in the importance of rational housekeeping in a woman’s life. Besides being beautiful and ornamental, and convenient to wear, the chatelaine told the world that a woman had domestic responsibilities, and that she took those responsibilities seriously.

A wide variety of items hung from the waists and wrists of Victorian chatelaine-wearers.  In a Collectors’ Weekly interview with Genevieve Cummins, who wrote a book on the subject of the chatelaine, Cummins outlines the many types of chatelaines she has found in her research: sewing chatelaines with pincushions, scissors, and needle cases; chatelaines for artists, with paint boxes and containers for brushes; mourning chatelaines, with space to carry reflective reminders of a loved one’s loss.

The chatelaine was so popular that it showed up in cartoons in London’s Punch magazine, which gently mocked the accessory’s ubiquity among women, imagining chatelaines that would chain children to a mother, or chatelaines that would be so large as to drag a woman’s entire body forward slightly from the waist. Cummins told Collectors’ Weekly that the chatelaine wearer accepted a certain amount of encumbrance, in exchange for fashion: “Certainly, they clanked; when they moved, the chatelaine would’ve made a lot of noise … It’s a very characteristic noise, and I think that was part of your status.”

The example above was made a couple decades into the chatelaine’s popularity. Margaret Flower finds mention of chatelaines in World of Fashion in 1839; the items fell out of favor a few decades later, but came back into style in 1863, when Britain’s Prince Albert Edward (later Edward VII) married a fashionable young Danish princess who wore a chatelaine in public. But by 1887, Jeanenne Bell writes in a book about Victorian jewelry, “the Young Ladies’ Journal felt it necessary to explain to the younger generation what a chatelaine was.”

 

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The Most Popular Netflix Show in Every Country
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If you're bored with everything in your Netflix queue, why not look to the top shows around the world for a recommendation?

HighSpeedInternet.com recently used Google Trends data to create a map of the most popular show streaming on Netflix in every country in 2018. The best-loved show in the world is the dystopian thriller 3%, claiming the number one spot in eight nations. The show is the first Netflix original made in Portuguese, so it's no surprise that Portugal and Brazil are among the eight countries that helped put it at the top of the list.

Coming in second place is South Korea's My Love from the Star, which seven countries deemed their favorite show. The romantic drama revolves around an alien who lands on Earth and falls in love with a mortal. The English-language show with the most clout is 13 Reasons Why, coming in at number three around the world—which might be proof that getting addicted to soapy teen dramas is a universal experience.

Pot comedy Disjointed is Canada's favorite show, which probably isn't all that surprising given the nation's recent ruling to legalize marijuana. Perhaps coming as even less of a shock is the phenomenon of Stranger Things taking the top spot in the U.S. Favorites like Black Mirror, Sherlock, and The Walking Dead also secured the love of at least one country.

Out of the hundreds of shows on the streaming platform, only 47 are a favorite in at least one country in 2018. So no hard feelings, Gypsy.

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Roadside Bear Statue in Wales is So Lifelike That Safety Officials Want It Removed
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Wooden bear statue.

There are no real bears in the British Isles for residents to worry about, but a statue of one in the small Welsh town of Llanwrtyd Wells has become a cause of concern. As The Telegraph reports, the statue is so convincing that it's scaring drivers, causing at least one motorist to crash her car. Now road safety officials are demanding it be removed.

The 10-foot wooden statue has been a fixture on the roadside for at least 15 years. It made headlines in May of 2018 when a woman driving her car saw the landmark and took it to be the real thing. She was so startled that she veered off the road and into a street sign.

After the incident, she complained about the bear to highways officials who agreed that it poses a safety threat and should be removed. But the small town isn't giving in to the Welsh government's demands so quickly.

The bear statue was originally erected on the site of a now-defunct wool mill. Even though the mill has since closed, locals still see the statue as an important landmark. Llanwrtyd Wells councilor Peter James called it an "iconic gateway of the town," according to The Telegraph.

Another town resident, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Telegraph that the woman who crashed her car had been a tourist from Canada where bears are common. Bear were hunted to extinction in Britain about 1000 years ago, so local drivers have no reason to look out for the real animals on the side of the road.

The statue remains in its old spot, but Welsh government officials plan to remove it themselves if the town doesn't cooperate. For now, temporary traffic lights have been set up around the site of the accident to prevent any similar incidents.

[h/t The Telegraph]

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