Posted on

The Choker Necklace

This supposed drawing of the Austen family shows Mrs. Austen wearing a fashionable black ribbon choker.

Chokers (necklaces that sit tight to the throat) have been popular throughout history– from Anne Boleyn’s famous “B”, to Empress Sisi’s simple black ribbon. Today they can be found made of anything from hemp to diamonds.

choker necklace
Georgian Aquamarine & Diamond Garland Choker

During Jane Austen’s lifetime, chokers were worn in many forms, from this vintage Georgian aquamarine and diamond creation, tied on with ribbon, to strands of pearls, to a simple ribbon tied about the neck. During the French Revolution, female French expatriots used to wear a thin red ribbon choker as a silent testament to their own narrow escape and in memory of their many friends and family members who were not as lucky. Soon all of London wanted to wear the red ribbon, beginning one of the first times in history when a ribbon has been used as a gesture of solidarity and sympathy with a class of victims.

Ribbon chokers might also be accented by a jeweled slide or cameo pin.

choker necklace
Georgian society women had a penchant for black ribbon chokers. Left: Young Georgiana with her Mother, Georgiana, Countess Spencer (1761) Right: Actress Sarah Siddons, 1785.

Here are a few images of chokers throughout history, from Anne Boleyn (1507-1536), to Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1744–1818) to Queen Victoria (1819–1901) and Mary of Teck (1867–1953) who preferred the style with ropes of pearls.

choker necklace
Chokers have been a popular choice for Britain’s queens.

 

Laura Boyle is an avid Regency enthusiast. Find more fashion information or purchase your own choker necklace from her shop, Austentation: Regency Accessories

Posted on

Clotted cream

 We are not so happy as we were. A message came this afternoon from Mrs. Latouche and Miss East, offering themselves to drink tea with us to-morrow, and, as it was accepted, here is an end of our extreme felicity in our dinner guest. I am heartily sorry they are coming; it will be an evening spoilt to Fanny and me.
Jane Austen to Cassandra
November 24, 1815

Clotted cream is a thick yellow cream made by heating unpasteurized cow’s milk and then leaving it in shallow pans for several hours. During this time, the cream content rises to the surface and forms ‘clots’. Clotted cream purists prefer the milk to come from cows in the English counties of Devon and Cornwall.

Scones with clotted cream and strawberry preserves, served in our Tea Room.

Clotted cream is generally served as part of a cream tea (also known as a Devonshire Tea) on (warm) scones with strawberry or raspberry jam.

Legends vary, assigning the origins of Clotted Cream to both Devonshire and Cornwall, but regardless of it’s beginnings, it had become a popular dish in it’s own right by the late 1600’s. Numerous recipes abounded, some for creating a plain cream dish, others used citrus flavourings to make a sweet dessert. Common period instructions suggested that you:

“Take the night’s milk and put into a broad earthenware pan. In the morning, set over a slow fire and allow it to stand there from morn to night, making certain not to boil the liquid, only heat it. Take off the fire and set overnight in a cool place. Next morning, dish off your cream and it will be quite thick.”

Clotted Cream can often be purchased for an authentic tea-time treat. When clotted cream is not commercially available, a reasonable facsimile may be made by combining two parts whole milk with one part whipping (heavy) cream, heating at the very lowest possible heat for a couple of hours until a skin forms, leaving it undisturbed overnight, and then harvesting the skin and its underclots. The remaining milk may be consumed or used in any number of recipes.

Some information from Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia.

Enjoyed this article? Browse our giftshop at janeaustengiftshop.co.uk for Regency recipe books!