Tuesday, 14 December 2010

History Lover's Gift Guide: The Eighteenth Century

Anybody know an eighteenth century fanatic in need of a lovely Christmas gift? It's not something I would usually do, but it's the season to give, and I wanted to share a few finds inspired by the 1700s that may help you in your shopping quest...

Ladies in Waiting Bone China Plate, Anthropologie, £22

There are four be-hatted and be-wigged ladies to choose from (designed by Florence Balducci), and it seems a shame to cover the designs with dinner...but once the turkey and sprouts are eaten, these lovely ladies will appear once more.

Glass Tumblers, Waddesdon Manor Shop, £20 each

Designed by Hanne Enemark, these tumblers are inspired by four paintings that hang at Waddesdon Manor. From left: The Pink Boy by Thomas Gainsborough, Lady Jane Halliday by Joshua Reynolds, Captain St. Leger by Reynolds, and Lady Sheffield by Gainsborough. The real paintings maybe priceless, but for £20 apiece, you can enjoy a scaled down version with your drink.

Beatrice & Violet Champagne Flutes, William Yeoward Crystal

Based on an eighteenth century design, these crystal flutes will allow you to coif champagne like a true eighteenth century socialite.

Sarah Siddons Silhouette Christmas Cards, National Portrait Gallery, £6 for 10

The dancing, silhouetted likeness of eighteenth century actress Sarah Siddons graces these National Portrait Gallery Christmas Cards.

Handmade French Masque Earrings, Etsy, $7 USD

I can't decide if these quirky earrings remind me of a masquerade costume or a lady highway-robber, but I like them all the same!

Masquerade Belle Nail Polish, Essie (Prices Vary)

Nail Polish and an Eyeshadow palette may not be very eighteenth century, but in the spirit of the other finds, it's the inspiration that counts!

Masquerade Eye Palette, Smashbox, $35 USD

Rosetta by Barbara Ewing

If a well written eighteenth century-set novel is what you're after, Barbara Ewing's Rosetta comes highly recommended. I've read and re-read this sweeping yet fantastically detailed tale of the title character Rosetta, and her travels to Egypt. It never disappoints. 

Best of luck with your Christmas shopping! 

All images (and for further details) courtesy of AnthropologieWaddesdon ManorWilliam Yeoward CrystalThe National Portrait Gallery, EtsyEssieSmashbox Amazon.


  1. Okay, I will take 4 plates and as many William Yeoward flutes as I can afford - which, I think might be 'one'...I've priced some of these pieces before and they're very dear. I'll take the tumblers too, please.
    You have wonderful taste.
    Happy shopping, Laura. Hope some of these treasures find their way to you.

  2. Thanks Catherine! I would happily have all of these lovely goodies on my table. I can't pick a favourite, but those quirky plates are certainly up there!

  3. Hmmm, looks like there are lots of things for me to add to my list for Santa.