Which do you want: the good news or the bad news? The bad news is that there will probably be fewer blog posts from the Georgian Gentleman, at least for the next 12 months or so. Maybe trickling along at a blog-a-week instead of three or four a week, but certainly a reduction while I concentrate on other matters….
Which brings me to the good news – I have signed a contract with Pen & Sword Books to write a new book, on a topic close to my heart – those scandalous Georgians. It will be entitled “In bed with the Georgians – Sex, Scandal and Satire” and will deal the whole panoply of human foibles. It will feature, amongst other delights, royal shenanigans, crim.con. cases, tarts with hearts, courtesans and strumpets, bagnios and jelly houses, seraglios and nunneries, cundums and the clap. It will look at Harris’s list and the whole range of “sex for sale”. I will be researching posture molls, bawds and “threepenny stand-ups” and I will be looking at the way Society raised the courtesans of the day to celebrity status. They were the fashion icons, the role models, the WAGS of their day – and for many it was a short life but a very merry one.
The book will also look at the way sexual misconduct was represented in Grub Street and in newspapers, and also feature lots of highly improper satirical prints lampooning the great and the good. Let’s face it, I’ve always loved Gillray and Rowlandson, and will relish the opportunity of giving an airing to some of their more indecent prints. It will of course all be done in the best possible taste!
The publishers, lovely people, have given me until 2016 to come up with the completed manuscript. I have already selected many of the seventy-odd images which I intend to use – most of them in full colour but with a handful (mostly newspaper cuttings) in black and white. Many of the illustrations will come from the Lewis Walpole Library site, topped up with ones from the Metropolitan Museum in New York , the Library of Congress, and the Paul Mellon Center for British Art at Yale University. Obviously I will use some from the British Museum site, but at their rates it will have to be kept to a minimum! For those of you who don’t know, the American Museums seem to be rather better-endowed than their British counterparts and often will not seek to make a charge for supplying high-definition copies. Long may they prosper!
So, I will aim to release snippets from time to time as blog material, while continuing to do separate blogs when the fancy takes me. 2016 seems a long way off, but it will pass quickly, especially as I have accepted a lecture tour on one of the cruise ships this coming Spring. I also have my next tome “An Illustrated Introduction to the Georgians” due out in two months time, so there is a lot of proof-reading and index compilation to do! Meanwhile I am reading loads of 18th Century newspapers such as The Rambler, the Town & Country, the Morning Herald, the Gentleman’s Magazine and so on, as well scouring websites for references to Georgian scandals.
I am well aware of the fact that there is nothing new under the sun, but I hope that the end result will be highly readable. It will not be aimed at academics, but will, I hope, capture some of the smut and innuendo which characterized prints and newspapers of the period. I just hope the publishers know what they are letting themselves in for! Here is one they haven’t yet been asked to approve….