Please welcome Cindy Nord to my blog this weekend. Cindy, it is great to have you here!
VICTORIAN RETICULE: A HANDBAG BY ANY OTHER NAME
Merriam-Webster defines “reticule” (RET-i-kyool; also spelled reticle) as a woman’s small bag or purse, usually in the form of a pouch with a drawstring, made of net, beading, brocade, etc. Unlike today’s purses — in which we carry everything but the kitchen sink — the delicate bags popular during the Victorian era were large enough to contain little more than a handkerchief, a scent bottle, important keys, and perhaps a coin or two.
The material from which reticules were made varied based upon when a bag would be carried. Simple cotton handkerchief designs or patterned wools and canvas were suitable for everyday use. For evenings out, a well-dressed lady’s bag might be made of silk or satin with delicate beadwork, or even elegant silver mesh chainmail. Beadwork was particularly fashionable for much of the era, but only wealthy women could afford the price of an elegant hand-beaded reticule. The smaller the beads and the tighter their pattern, the more expensive the piece. Only the crème de la crème of society were able to purchase reticules bearing 100 beads per square inch.
Closures varied from simple drawstrings to more formal formed-brass metal headers with snaps. But always the item would be worn suspended from the wrist or attached to the waist by a clip to allow the lady’s hands to be free to support a fan (in the evenings) or a parasol (during afternoon outings).
As women of today look forward to the newest handbag from Coach or Louis Vuitton, the women of yesteryear perused the latest edition of Godey’s Ladies Book with glee. So anticipated were the delightful reticule patterns that each month’s collection offered several to choose from and usually included intricate beadwork examples, as well.
When a Victorian lady traveled, she carried ‘a metal-framed covered with leather’ bag called a Gladstone. According to GladstoneBag.com, “the original Gladstone Bag [was] developed in the mid-19th century and represented a kind of suitcase built on a rigid frame that could be split into two separate parts. It was usually made of very strong leather and was often ‘tied’ with lanyards also made of leather.” The Gladstone bag was designed by leather craftsman J.G. Beard, who named the bag after Prime Minister William Gladstone [1809–1898], a popular politician renowned for his love of travel. Even Walt Disney’s beloved Mary Poppins knew how to ‘travel in style’ as she smoothly traversed the sky via her open umbrella…clutched in her hand was a Gladstone!
If you want to learn more about Cindy Nord's new release, No Greater Glory drop by her website. I will put a warning here for my followers. This is NOT a CBA novel. If you have any questions about it please feel free to ask Cindy.
Indeed, true love awaits in the writing of Cindy Nord, whose work has won or finaled in numerous competitions, including the prestigious Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Awards. For three & ½ months, her debut novel, NO GREATER GLORY, was the #1 Civil War Romance at Amazon. And recently, The Library Journal (buying digest for libraries in the U.S., Canada & the U.K.) gave her love story a stellar review, concluding with ‘a steamier Gone With the Wind’. A luscious blend of history and romance, her stories wrap both genres around fast-paced action and emotionally driven characters. If interested in a closer peek at her writing style, please visit her at her website www.cindynord.com -- or -- connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.