Tuesday, July 31, 2012


We are all going to Heaven, and Vandyke is of the company.
-Thomas Gainsborough

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Assassin's Creed 3 Choses the 18th Century for it's new Setting

Gamers are eagerly anticipating the release of the third installment in the video game series, Assassin's Creed, and after seeing the trailer (at the cinema, my goodness!) I joined the multitudes of those eagerly waiting for the October release.  Assassin's Creed is no stranger to art history/history blogs.  With Assassin's Creed II being set in renaissance Florence, and with plenty artistic detail, I recall tweeting (or blogging, who can remember!) about it and the wonderful Three Pipe Problem was more than happy to give a thorough analysis of the game since it combined two of his favourite things.  I was forced to read on in envy.  But luckily this third installment takes place in Colonial America, and although void of famous works of art, still hold much promise.  As can be seen from the trailer:

Ooo looks awesome!  According to this preview video from the makers, the cities hold historical accuracy (because, goodness knows the protagonist's outfit could use some!) due to the designers consulting  eighteenth-century maps.  Those who have been to Boston will recognize some familiar sites that still remain there today.  According to the wikipedia page, the story is,
set before, during and after the American Revolution from 1753 to 1783, featuring a new protagonist: half-English and half-Native American, Connor Kenway, birth name Ratonhnhaké:ton (pronounced "Ra-doon-ha-gay-doon").
Hmm looks like this is as close to a Last of the Mohicans video game as I'll ever get!

But then UbiSoft said, "wait a minute, we have tall ships, redcoats, and major ass-kicking; maybe that just won't be enough for some people."
"By some people do you mean lady-gamers who like whipping out their handhelds on the afternoon commute?"
"Why yes, let's make another version of Assassin's Creed that takes place in eighteenth-century New Orleans and have a kick-ass chica with an awesome tricorn.  Who wouldn't want to play that?"*

Set in 18th Century New Orleans between 1765 and 1780, which is the time between the end of the French and Indian War up to the middle of the American Revolution, the game follows the story of Aveline de Grandpré, a female Assassin of French and African descent. Aveline is recruited to the Assassin Brotherhood by Agate, an escaped slave, who acts as her mentor. The plot of the game involves the cultural practice of plaçage, where wealthy French and Spanish men have an arranged marriage with a woman of African, Indian or Creole descent, thus allowing those women and their children to gain power, wealth and positions of power in society. 
Sounds awesome! Now if only I had the consoles to test these games out and report back...although October gives one ample time....

*obviously this conversation didn't happen.

Monday, July 16, 2012

An Open Letter to HBO

Eighteenth-Century France has written an open letter to HBO.  I have to say, I agree with everything it says.  I have a feeling all you will too!  Check it out here.

You want elegant costumes? Check. Candelabras? Check. Beautiful women with moles? Check and check. I'm packed full of cool stuff. You could slot me in on, say, Sunday nights at nine and probably get a 2.5 Nielsen rating, easy.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Butcher Kissing Duchess of...Gordon?

The Tory Queen, Jane Gordon was known for doing as she damn-well pleased as a little girl and marrying into the aristocracy and becoming a duchess didn't change that at all.  One of the things Jane would never compromise on was her love of Scotland.  She spoke in a brogue, encouraged social events in the Highlands, and encouraged her children to share her love for their country as well.  When her son, the Marquess of Huntly raised a company for the Black Watch, a regiment of Highland soldiers, Jane could have died of pride. 

Like a soccer mom on a mission, Jane wanted to help her wee one with his big project.  She appeared at public events and offered to men willing to join the regiment a King's Shilling from between her teeth for enlisting.  That way they got paid and got to say they kissed a duchess.  Funnily, eight years prior, her rival, Georgiana was accused of both bribing and kissing butchers in exchange for votes for Charles James Fox.  The Tories created the rumors in order to curtail Georgiana's success and force her to hide in shame and yet here was Jane obstinately doing exactly what her rival was only rumored to do.  Ballsy!  But Jane wasn't quite done with her parade yet.

At a London Ball in 1792 Jane barged in dressed head to foot in Black Watch tartan taffeta, which I can only imagine looking absolutely amazing.  Well, it must have looked amazing, because Jane started a trend for tartan with her bold look.  Soon it was reported that 'scarce a respectable female but wore a tartan waist to her gown at least, and there was hardly a waiter at any inn in London but appeared in his tartan waistcoat.' Hmm, perhaps that was an exaggeration, but as a life-long fan of plaid, I can't blame the fad!  Not bad to be a trend-setter in your 40s!