CLOSE

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.”

 

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Gergely Dudás - Dudolf, Facebook
arrow
fun
There’s a Ghost Hiding in This Illustration—Can You Find It?
Gergely Dudás - Dudolf, Facebook
Gergely Dudás - Dudolf, Facebook

A hidden image illustration by Gergely Dudás, a.k.a. Dudolf
Gergely Dudás - Dudolf, Facebook

Gergely Dudás is at it again. The Hungarian illustrator, who is known to his fans as “Dudolf,” has spent the past several years delighting the internet with his hidden image illustrations, going back to the time he hid a single panda bear in a sea of snowmen in 2015. In the years since, he has played optical tricks with a variety of other figures, including sheep and Santa Claus and hearts and snails. For his latest brainteaser, which he posted to both his Facebook page and his blog, Dudolf is asking fans to find a pet ghost named Sheet in a field of white bunny rabbits.

As we’ve learned from his past creations, what makes this hidden image difficult to find is that it looks so similar to the objects surrounding it that our brains just sort of group it in as being “the same.” So you’d better concentrate.

If you’ve scanned the landscape again and again and can’t find Sheet to save your life, go ahead and click here to see where he’s hiding.

arrow
Afternoon Map
The Most Searched Shows on Netflix in 2017, By State

Orange is the New Black is the new black, at least as far as Netflix viewers are concerned. The women-in-prison dramedy may have premiered in 2013, but it’s still got viewers hooked. Just as they did in 2017, HighSpeedInternet.com took a deep dive into Netflix analytics using Google Trends to find out which shows people in each state were searching Netflix for throughout the year. While there was a little bit of crossover between 2016 and 2017, new series like American Vandal and Mindhunter gave viewers a host of new content. But that didn’t stop Orange is the New Black from dominating the map; it was the most searched show in 15 states.

Coming in at a faraway second place was American Vandal, a new true crime satire that captured the attention of five states (Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin). Even more impressive is the fact that the series premiered in mid-September, meaning that it found a large and rabid audience in a very short amount of time.

Folks in Alaska, Colorado, and Oregon were all destined to be disappointed; Star Trek: Discovery was the most searched-for series in each of these states, but it’s not yet available on Netflix in America (you’ve got to get CBS All Access for that, folks). Fourteen states broke the mold a bit with shows that were unique to their state only; this included Big Mouth in Delaware, The Keepers in Maryland, The OA in Pennsylvania, GLOW in Rhode Island, and Black Mirror in Hawaii.

Check out the map above to see if your favorite Netflix binge-watch matches up with your neighbors'. For more detailed findings, visit HighSpeedInternet.com.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios