A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:
No, this is not the married version of the "pocket venus" who makes her small but mighty appearance in the occasional Regency novel. Yet both terms did have their origins in the mid-eighteenth century. However, though "pocket venus" was a term for a beautiful, curvaceous woman of small stature, the housewife to be discussed here was, and is, even today, extremely useful and can be quite lovely, but is not human at all. This small item found favor with both women and men during the Regency.
Recently, Charles Bazalgette published a brief article on his blog, Prinny’s Taylor, about an item which was supplied to the Prince of Wales’ household by his ancestor, Louis Bazalgette, who was tailor to the Prince for thirty-two years. This item, "a striped silk Housewife," is described as being filled with various sewing notions and intended for the use of the Prince’s pages. Mr. Bazalgette was not quite sure what this item actually was, and I realized that there are probably many others who might not be familiar with these "housewives," and how they were made and used during the Regency.
Continue reading »