Everyday Life in the 1660s
By Liza Picard
From poverty to pets, medicine to magic, slang to sex and from wallpaper to women's rights - a glorious portrait of life in London from 1660-70, by the bestselling author of Elizabeth's London.
How did you clean your teeth in the 1660s? What make-up did you wear? What pets did you keep?
Making use of every possible contemporary source, Liza Picard presents an engrossing picture of how life in London was really lived in an age of Samuel Pepys, the libertine court of Charles II and the Great Fire of London. The topics covered include houses and streets, gardens and parks, cooking, clothes and jewellery, cosmetics, hairdressing, housework, laundry and shopping, medicine and dentistry, sex education, hobbies, etiquette, law and crime, religion and popular belief. The London of 350 years ago is brought (and sometimes horrifyingly) to life.
'A joy of a book ... It radiates throughout that quality so essential in a good historian: infinite curiosity' Observer
Liza Picard was born in 1927. She is the bestselling author an acclaimed series of books on the history of London: Elizabeth's London, Restoration London, Dr Johnson's London and Victorian London. Her most recent book, Chaucer's People, explores the Middle Ages through the lives of the pilgrims in The Canterbury Tales.
She read law at the London School of Economics and was called to the Bar by Gray's Inn, but did not practise. She worked for many years in the office of the Solicitor of the Inland Revenue before retiring to become a full-time author. She lives in London.
- Other details
- Publication date:
06 May 2004
- Page count:
Imagine Samuel Pepys re-incarnated as a 20th-century woman lawyer, and looking back at 17th-century London not as a diarist but as a social analyst. Imagine P. D. James deciding to set a thriller in the time of Charles II and assembling her background materials ... There is almost no aspect of life in Restoration London that is not meticulously described in these 300-odd pages — Jan Morris, INDEPENDENT
A potpourri of the ordinary and the extraordinary, the predictable and the astonishing — Literary Review
This is a joy of a book. Its style is both simple and evocative ... and it radiates throughout that quality so essential in a good historian: infinite curiosity — Roy Porter, Observer
An encyclopedic overview of the London of Pepys and Wren ... Answers all those questions about the Great Fire of London you wanted to ask but never knew where to look for the answer — Andrew Roberts, MAIL ON SUNDAY
Anyone who enjoys the minutiae of life in the past will have great fun exploring — Juliet Townsend, SPECTATOR
A beautifully produced reference work ... [an] entertaining historical bran tub — Rose Tremain, FINANCIAL TIMES
A densely textured accumulation of physical detail for the period, a history of the prosaic written with clarity and modesty ... An engagingly eccentric book which adds texture to existing accounts of the time — Helen Simpson, TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT
Picard has a delicious sense of humour, an insatiable curiosity and an acute eye for detail. And she tells you all the things you really want to know about everyday life in London between 1660 and 1670 ... A truly wonderful book — Sydney Morning Herald
How our seventeenth-century ancestors ate, slept, travelled, worshipped, loved, clothed themselves, tried to keep healthy ... A marvellous source-book for historical novelists and film-makers out for authenticity, and a near-perfect bedside book for anyone else — Sunday Telegraph