Sunday, 24 August 2008

Victorian Governesses

Celia's latest acquisition is a fully-functioning 1890's governess cart. She naturally intends to use it. Her pony, Dusty, is great with carts, actually. I'm travelling up to Maidenhead in a couple of weeks - we're going to plot some Medieval field maps - so I'll be sure to get a photo of the cart then.

Take a look at this painting by Redgrave:

Says a lot, doesn't it? Painted by a man, of course, but still.

This is by Rebecca Solomon:

It must have been a funny position: above the servants but below the family. Always with the family yet entirely excluded. Aways there and yet invisible. All the labour of a tutor's work without the respect.

Jane Eyre, of course, is about a governess, but, although it's wonderful and I wouldn't change a thing, it isn't the most realistic novel I've ever read. I got a far better insight from Anne Bronte's much-underrated Agnes Grey.

1 comment:

soccerluver said...

Do you have any info on the job of a Victorian governess? What limitations did this put on a women?