Costume designed by Adrian for Gladys George in Marie Antoinette (1938).
From The Museum at FIT
The Evolution of Women’s Hair in Four Minutes
The choppiness is kind of distracting (or maybe just my bandwidth), but otherwise this is great.
‘Cause your waist is small and your curves are kickin’
“Imagine the scene…you are in the theatre attending the latest boring production by Mr So-and-So when Lady Talk-of-the-Town takes her seat further down your row. How can you appear to be watching the performance whilst really spying on what the scandalous lady is up to?
The answer was to use one of these - a ‘jealousy glass’ designed to look like a simple straight-barrelled spyglass but in fact containing an oblique lens and side aperture so you can look at what is happening to your left or right. The aperture was usually less conspicuous than this example, though maybe sometimes the user wanted to be caught!
The technical name for a side-looking opera or field glass with an oblique mirror is ‘polemoscope’. The German-Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius (1611-1687) claimed to have invented it in 1637, describing it in his book about the moon, Selenographia(1647) and apparently he named it after the Greek word for war because he thought it could have military uses although Robert Hooke examined one and found the viewing angle too narrow for this. It was as a fun plaything that the invention really took off in the 18th century.
The jealousy glass at the top has a brass eyepiece and blue enamel casing featuring white decorative embellishments. A hinged ‘lens cover’ conceals a storage compartment (probably for snuff or a pomade). There is of course no lens there at all. Instead an oval mirror with a surrounding green cord opens to the side.
The second, much less blatant, jealousy glass contained all the accoutrements a gentleman might desire. It is incorporated within a gold-mounted etui with a brass body covered in green-stained fishskin. A magnetic compass has been set into the brass cap. The wooden core to the etui contains a gentleman’s manicure set including nail scissors, hinged ivory note-slide, pencil, folding knife, needle and tweezers with a file handle.
Ladies were thought to want other things, so the female equivalent, shown here in an example by Bointaburet from early 19th century Paris contained a pill receptacle in the end beneath a lid and a miniature scent bottle just 2cm wide that fitted within the barrel. Should your neighbour’s antics overwhelm your tender sensitivities the other contents would help revive you!”
Artifacts date to the 18th century
Woman’s robe a la française, England, circa 1765. Silk plain weave (faille) with silk and metallic-thread supplementary-weft patterning (lamella or strip, fillé, and frisé), trimmed with metallic lace.