Tuesday, 19 August 2014

The Splendid Island of Doctor Geof

As some of you will know, I have just spent the better part of the last week at WorldCon, a massive Science Fiction convention held at the ExCel in London.  This was a work thing, I was promoting the virtues of English Heritage's lovely database of research reports (50 years of information now free to download!), but I had the pleasure of having a stand opposite the Island of Doctor Geof...


Calling Doctor Geof an artist seems inadequate as he has an entire world of bonkers mayhem around him.  His smutty, steampunk jollity is both gorgeous and hilarious, full of corsets, bustles and a proper obsession with tea.  Over on his website The Island of Doctor Geof you can see some of his work and buy his art and his fabulous patches, of which I purchased a splendid amount because they were so funny.



The lovely Doctor also drew my portrait on my warrant card for the First Tea Company...


How can you resist any identity card that reads 'This card certifies that the bearer requires a nice hot cup of tea please'?  and my rank is 'Dark Chocolate Digestiveer, 1st class'.  Thoroughly civilised.


You know me, I'm a practitioner of what might be described as pouring gentle, jolly sauciness over what passes for knowledge and so I enjoy meeting others who brighten our lives with their talent and humour.  Anyone who produces posers that entreat you to 'Kill your Velocity, not an Air-Kraken!' is a bit of a genius in my world and welcome to stay.


If you fancy a bit of Dr Geof's splendid madness, he is part of the Longitude Punk'd exhibit at the Royal Observatory in Grenwich which runs until January next year.  He also is responsible for the Fantastical Steampunk Tea Museum under the Cutty Sark, which is open until the end of September.  Details of both exhibitions can be found on the Royal Museums Greenwich website here.

There is something magical about meeting people who are on exactly the same sort of off-kilter, bonkers wavelength as yourself when you least expect it, and one of the joys of running this page is that I get the pleasure of telling others about them.  If you are not easily offended and love a bit of saucy, tea-drinking, thoroughly English, made-up Victoriania, then take a trip to Doctor Geof's Island.  I guarantee you will like it there.

Plus he gave me a biscuit.  I'm anyone's for a biscuit.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Woman, Red in Tooth (and Claw)

There is a parental truth, universally acknowledged, that nobody likes a biter.  Most children go through phases of boisterous play-fighting, even the odd kerfuffle in the school playground, but if your child is a biter, then a special sort of hell awaits you. Lily has only once bitten another child.  She was around three years old and I was escorted into a separate room to be given the grave news that my child had bitten one of her fellow schoolmates.  Turns out the little girl who got bitten had been poking Lily in the mouth, just to see what would happen.  As it was, both parties learnt a valuable lesson, but I remember the shame I was required to feel as the mother of a biter. 

I am sharing this shameful family secret with you for a reason and that reason is a pair of beautiful pictures by Anthony Frederick Sandys...

Love's Shadow

Proud Maisie
If  he would come today...(detail)
Both images date from the late 1860s, around the time when Sandys was most influenced by Rossetti.  The images are of his common-law wife, Mary Emma Jones, and in both pictures she is biting something.  Starting with Proud Maisie, the title refers to the poem 'The Pride of Youth' by Sir Walter Scott, where Maisie, eager for her wedding day, questions a robin about her future. He replies that she will be carried to a church by six strong men and the sexton would make her wedding bed.  He's talking about her death, the payment for her pride.  Maisie is eager but haughty which means the love, or indeed lust, she yearns for will be denied by her own foolishness.  She frustrates herself by being too much involved in herself.  The glorious mane of hair goes back in her own mouth and is bitten both as a sign of frustration but also an acknowledgment of her own desirability which she feels none are worthy of besides herself.  It has similarities to the illustration Sandys made for The Argosy (1866) (the image is entitled 'If he would come today'), for a poem about a woman frustrated by her lover's absence.  There is a hint of a snake consuming its own tail about her consumption of her hair, hinting that she will destroy herself by her actions.

Love's Shadow (detail)
In Love's Shadow, the woman bites on a posy of flowers consisting mainly of forget-me-nots or violets.  In preparatory drawings, she bites on honeysuckle, symbolising the bond of love, but the tiny blue flowers imply watchfulness and fear in love.  Presumably she has been given the flowers by her lover, but she bites them.  If her lover wished to remain unforgotten, something in the bared teeth and scowl makes the viewer wonder if the flowers are ironic, that it is the woman who fears being forgotten.  The small flowers of promised affection are greeted not with kisses but with a rather brazen snarl.  Here in her expression is love's shadow, the dark cast of love, inconstant in size, without form, but existent and rather feminine.  Love's shadow is feral, animalistic, female lust.

Eve (1896) Lucien Levy-Dhurmer
Animals bite people, in fact the very first biter was the serpent in the Garden of Eden.  Actually, no, that serpent didn't do the biting at all. The very first naughty biter was a woman.  Granted, she bit a piece of fruit, but it was forbidden fruit and she knew she wasn't allowed it.  Just like Sandys' girl, her bite was one of desire but her frustration was alleviated by her bite.  Her bite also resulted in disaster.  Women's desire damns mankind! The Daily Mail were right all along...

As I said to begin with, biting is more often associated with children.  A child who bites another child is a problem but there are images of proffered biting that give one pause for thought.

Give Me A Bite (1863) Henri Geoffroy
The little girl holds a jam tart in her hand while two boys look on covetously.   The girl looks fearful and unwilling to share her treat with the boys, one of whom is worryingly bigger than she is.  I think we can all tell how that will end.  The fact that she is dressed in glowing white, that her treat is ruby red, all point towards a deeper meaning.  It could be as simple as her love the boys wish to share in, but by the use of the word 'bite' in the title it seems rather more basic than that.  They want to take a bite of something that will destroy the whole.  She is right to hang on to it and not just give it away.

Giving a Bite William Mulready
A slightly stranger affair is this image by Mulready where a young man carrying water jugs is allowed a bite of something from the hands of another young man.  Seeing as the picture has Italianate overtones I'm going with mozzarella cheese, as the substance seems to be white.  The water carrier bends to bite the cheese in a vulnerable pose - why was he not handed some cheese to taste?  His body-language seems submissive and he is watched by the others, except the two animals, the dog and the monkey.  The dog seems to belong to the water carrier, and he is looking uncertainly but with curiosity at the monkey, dressed in red.  This monkey is tame, but by threat of the whip, just behind its owner.  Monkeys often stand for lust and more specifically man's lustful side, this monkey, dressed as a human, is kept in check by force, made to behave.  His natural state is held in submission and he is not really a person, but an animal in masquerade.  Maybe the same can be said of our water carrier, his appetites held in check by another.

Mauvais Sujet (1863) Ford Madox Brown
Rolling all our bad-girl Biblical stereotypes into one, Ford Madox Brown gives us Mary, the bad girl, biting her apple and looking naughty.  An unruly school girl, her hair wild and her earlobes dripping with red gems, this is a bad penny who is baring her teeth and biting that apple right in front of us.  For goodness sake, it doesn't get more blatant than that.  Images of bad children in Victorian England are predictably plentiful, but images of bad girls often have a sexual tinge with the misbehaving madam ripping her clothes or being provocative and Lolita-esque.  Images that promoted the idea of childhood sexuality confirmed widely held notions that girls held innate sexual knowledge, burgeoning and threatening to spill out.  This must have been a comfort to suitors and parents who rushed pubescent brides into marriage.  If girls are to display sexuality then it might as well be put to good use and be tamed by a husband.  When female sexuality is left unchecked, then all hell breaks lose...

The Vampire Philip Burne-Jones
The Vampire (1895) Edvard Munch
Despite the archetypal vampire being male, visual interpretations of the creature in Victorian England were very much female: Ravenous women falling upon unsuspecting, helpless men and consuming their blood when they least expect it, when they are at their weakest. I don't believe it's a coincidence that the couples above are in intimate settings.  Burne-Jones shows very explicitly a woman attacking her victim in their bed, and Munch's victim is curled against a semi-naked woman who is bending to bite him.  The female vampire bites and consumes men in a manner that is tied very obviously to sexuality.  The women and their rampant, unequal sexuality weakens the men and is something monstrous. The woman who bites, who consumes will leave you reduced and you will beg her to do it.  As men, you understand the appetite, you have the more 'natural' consumption, but the images of female vampires warn you that a woman who wants sex is unnatural, destructive, something to fear.  

The underlining message in these images is that a woman who bites unbidden is a thing of no control.  Her teeth close around things she desires as well as the shallow place-holders for her desire.  She bites apples, flowers, her hair and when she has the chance she bites men and draws from them their very life.  The sexual aspect of consumption is explicit in female vampires - she will draw her man into her in a perversion of the natural order of things, in an act of pure destruction without any hope of reproduction.  A woman that bites destroys her chance to fulfill her natural role in the world.  Woman as dominant destroyer is unnatural, yet hold an allure due to the promise of unbridled sexuality.  Far better that women receive the destruction, that their sexuality is slight and appropriate, and that they be grateful for the attention.  

Remember, no-one likes a biter.



Monday, 4 August 2014

Pleasure in Idleness

When I was a teenager (so, really not that long ago) I had this picture on my wall...

Dolce Far Niente (1904) John William Godward
I bought the poster from Woolworths for a couple of quid and I adored the sultry, languid idleness of the image, from the lily-pond, still and mirror-shining, to the beautiful woman curled up on the fur rug.  I thought that was how life would be when I was a grown-up.  Well, I don't have a peacock feather fan yet, but otherwise it's remarkably similar.

Years later, I was fascinated by this image by William Holman Hunt...

Dolce Far Niente (1866) William Holman Hunt
Not liked by many people, Hunt painted over the original face and hair (which belonged to Annie Miller) with those of his beloved Fanny, his wife.  The over-painting is not entirely successful but the whole, tightly packed image has a luxurious, voluptuous feeling in keeping with the title of the picture.  Dolce Far Niente means 'pleasantly doing nothing' or 'sweet idleness' and refers to the pleasure that lies in leisure.  For the Victorians, it was a theme they would return to in art repeatedly...

Dolce Far Niente John William Godward
Godward liked the subject so much, he painted it twice.  Again, he presents us with a supine lady on a fur, swathed in rich, translucent fabrics, engaged in nothing much.  The air of luxury is essential for the images it seems, I suppose because the rich could afford the idleness cultivated with such splendour.

Dolce Far Niente (1880) John William Waterhouse
Waterhouse presents a woman who has at least got off the floor, but she holds a peacock fan.  The peacock would be the perfect bird for these images as they aren't known for their industry or use, just their ornament and vanity, which may also have a resonance with the subjects of the paintings.  Hunt's woman is unusual as reflected in her mirror are bookcases, hinting that she had been reading if nothing else.  For the most part you have to ask what the women have stopped doing in order to be idle?  Surely there has to have been action in order for the enjoyment of inaction to be appreciated?

Dolce Far Niente (1882) Lawrence Alma-Tadema
Maybe then it is the women who are the pleasures of idleness for the men who observe them.  We, the presumably male viewer, can while away delightful hours, gazing upon these decorative creatures as they roll or loll about looking gorgeous.  They are merely part of the pleasurable view, as inanimate as the peacock fan and equally as decorative.  It's as simple as that, or is it?

Dolce Far Niente Frederick Arthur Bridgman
It could be there is a warning in the images.  Arguably its history taints it, but Hunt's picture unsettles some people and makes them feel that Hunt is not endorsing the pleasure inherent in the title.  Bridgman's voluptuous maiden above is the epitome of an idle pleasure, but possibly she is not so good for you.  Having no worth other than her voluptuous pleasure is rendering her viewer powerless, idle and an idle man is not a good thing in 19th century terms.  She is the siren luring her victims to a terrible fate of sitting and looking at her semi-naked splendour.  Steady gentlemen, try to resist for a few moments at least. Remember you're British and Victorian at heart!

Dolce Far Niente (1884-87) Mortimer L Menpes
The Italian title and the oriental dress are somewhat at odds, but both have resonance with aestheticism.  Rending oneself into a subjectless tableau of inaction, beautiful and inert, suits both the title and the movement as displayed by the rather bemused woman in a kimono above.  She does look as if she has forgotten where she left her keys rather than enjoying idleness.  She's standing up and everything.

Dolce Far Niente John Singer Sargent
Unusually, Sargent shows men enjoying the pleasure of idleness, but they aren't really idle in the true sense. Some read, some play suitably sensible games.  I bet they are all thinking jolly hard about manly stuff too.  Men are apparently rubbish at being idle, but then their natural state is very vigorous and active, so anything that doesn't involve striding across the countryside and wrestling wild animals counts as idleness.

Dolce Far Niente Stanley Cursiter
When women are idle, there are really only fans involved.  The fans possibly hint at foreign parts, suggesting that for true idleness you have to look beyond English shores.  With the delightful casual racism that garnished the 19th century, the inference is that foreigners are obviously more idle than good British girls.  Add a bit of sexual racism in there too, then the sultry supine maidens take on another aspect.  Is the danger of a idle woman, an idle foreign woman, that she may corrupt the upstanding British manhood she gets her sultry idle hands on?  Gentlemen, please show a pretense of resisting, for heavens sake!

Dolce Far Niente William Quiller Orchardson
In order not to lose my gentlemen readership to the lure of idle, foreign temptresses, I will end my post with my favourite couple of idle women.  Orchardson shows us a young woman on an oriental couch, leopard skin and fan on the floor but with a notable addition to the scene...

Dolce Far Niente Auguste Toulmouche
Her feet rest on a furry rug and she is surrounded by luxury, but on her lap is an open book.  Both Toulmouche and Orchardson's women are idle during reading.  How often, when reading a brilliant book, do you find yourself paused, gazing away, thinking of the plot, the characters, the world created by the wonder of the prose?  The idleness of the title is simply an external state because inside these women they are racing through the imaginary worlds of their novels.  The summer's heat renders me useless and there is no greater escape from the oppressive heat then to cradle a book and allow it to whisk you away.  If the novel is wonderful then after a certain point you can step into the imagination of another and the book falls away briefly.  You might be meeting a character, walking through a landscape, trying to make the right decision to reach your happy ending.  Whatever captures you, when roused from your revelry by an onlooker and asked the foolish question of what you were thinking about, the answer is invariably 'Nothing...'

Dolce Far Niente, indeed.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Present and Future Book News!

Hello chums!  I thought I would give you an update on A Curl of Copper and Pearl and a sneaky bit of information about my next novel.  First of all, Curl...


Published back in April, I have finally managed to work out how to publish to Kindle!  Curl is now available from Amazon UK (here) or US (here) or a branch near you.

Anyway, in the meantime I have been working on my next novel.  I can reveal exclusively that it will be called....

.....drum roll.....

We Are Villains All
Huzzah!

The Wounded Cavalier
A photographic version of this painting is part of the plot of my new book
We Are Villains All is the story of a Victorian poet, Maxwell Wainwright.  It is 1890 and Max leads a quiet life, encouraging the middle-class ladies of a pleasant market town in their appreciation of poetry.  He has a muse who he never approaches, preferring her at a distance, not disturbing his enforced, safe isolation.  He is desired and pursued by his Ladies, but never caught.  Into his life returns his friend, the photographer Brough Fawley, who he has not seen for 20 years...

Iago Julia Margaret Cameron

What sort of photographs does
Brough Fawley take...?



















Brough and Max share a secret, a crime, a lover and a past.  Max does not want to let his friend back into his life for fear that he will destroy everything he has so carefully built up, but cannot bring himself to refuse.  What neither man knows is that with Brough comes the shadow of another from their past, someone who wants bloody, vicious revenge...

I am hoping that We Are Villains All will be out for Christmas 2015, because nothing says 'holiday spirit' like lust and murderous vengeance.

Expect more snippets and extracts over the next year and a bit.  I better get on with redrafting...


Sunday, 27 July 2014

Hoylandswaine: A Mural Revealed

I've just returned from a jaunt up north to see the results of the marvellous works that have been taking place in Hoylandswaine, a small village in Yorkshire...

Church of St John the Evangelist, Hoylandswaine
You may remember from my previous posts on the work (here and here), a mural by John Roddam Spencer Stanhope was being uncovered and restored on the wall of St John the Evangelist, an 1867 church built in the South Yorkshire village.  It used to look like this...

Good Lord!
...but the 1960s happened and it was painted over, so it looked like this...

Oh.  Rats.
Anyway, a spanky Lottery grant and two years later and this week brought the unveiling of the work, and the restored mural saw the light of day again.  So here it is...

Ta dah!
I was lucky enough to go to a splendid talk by Stanhope expert Simon Poë on a stunningly hot Friday morning, with the light streaming through the Burne-Jones widow beneath it.  The mural depicting Christ enthroned being praised by archangels (as identified by their red wings).

Angels, Angels, Angels...
Below it, the beautiful window takes on a new life as it has company again at last.

More Archangels at the top...
Christ, Mary and John in the window
From a distance I thought the window was clear glass other than the figures, but each diamond is pale green with a tiny plant.  Beautiful and so very subtle.

They have managed something remarkable, turning back time and bringing back to life something amazing and inspiring.  The way that the village has embraced the work of Stanhope, a local lad, is an awe-inspiring thing to a Pre-Raphaelite lover like me.  As I have reported before, the whole village got involved in the project, responding to the work with paintings, textile work and generally learning more about the treasure they had.  I was really impressed by the sheer scale of the work and achievement when I went to see the mural.  Also, there was a hint that the work has not finished and further adjustments could take place to restore the setting of the mural, repainting the roof to resemble one of its previous incarnations, more in keeping with the heavenly motif.


I encourage you to make the journey up the M1 to see the mural, and while you are there have a jaunt around the Roddam Trail, a copy of which can be downloaded here. Congratulations to the good people of Hoylandswaine and I look forward to seeing you again.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Summer Exhaustion

Hello my darlings and I must apologise for my absence.  I have been working my little socks off for my day job, including a stint at History Live! (The exclamation mark is part of the title of the event, I wasn't getting over-excited).  Anyway, I am now absolutely knackered, having spent the weekend in a marquee being slowly boiled to death in the humidity.  I thought, as I recline on my sofa at home, I ought to show you some nice pictures of summer, just to remind myself that it is a beautiful season, even if you are wearing a polyester corporate polo shirt...

Flaming June Frederick Leighton
No discussion of summer collapse can begin in anyway other than Flaming June.  I used to think the lady's name was June when I was little and that possibly the painter was cross with her.  Flamin' June!  She must be the archetypal woman who can no longer cope with summer, but she does it so elegantly and with only a hint of nipple flash.  I am going to pretend I look this elegant, sprawled on my sofa.  You can't see me and therefore can't point out that I am more of a disorganised heap of womanhood rather than a gorgeously curled goddess.  Moving on...


Midsummer Albert Moore
If you want images of summer heaps, then Albert Moore is definitely your man.  This is such a lovely image and always reminds me of Flaming June.  I wonder if Moore had seen Leighton's orange-y masterpiece when he produced this?  Anyway, I want to be the one in the middle of this picture, gently fanned by my loyal handmaidens who really aren't muttering 'lazy cow' under their breaths.

A Summer Night Albert Moore
I like to think the one in the middle is laying there thinking 'Why does it always end up like this?  Three bottles of Lambrini and a boob contest!'  Actually, I find the palette he used for this one rather chilly, compared to that of Midsummer.  Maybe someone turned the air-conditioning on?  I really like the pale gold of the furniture, with the white drapes and the black lacquer.  Albert Moore always seems to do jelly-mould boobs, it's most peculiar.  They are solidly set, that's for sure.  Incidentally, I have a boob jelly mould; it was a present and they also gave me some gold leaf to gild the nipples.  Nothing says decadent jelly like a gilded nipple.  Moving on...

Summer Pleasures (1890) Hugh Cameron
 I get to go to the seaside on holiday in a few weeks time, I can' wait.  I used to live by a beach and there is no more lovely feeling than cool water over your toes in the heat of a summer's day.  Look, even the dog knows it in the picture above.  Glorious.

July Sun (1913) Henry Scott Tuke
I have a soft spot for Tuke as he evens the score for the endless nudey ladies there are in art.  Well done that man!  He does a great line in collapsed young men in the sunshine too, so it's good to know it's not just the fairer sex who just can't cope.  The man in the picture above is looking at the sea while sitting on a rock.  Now, I don't mean to be picky but he can't be very comfy and surely he'd do better to go into the sea and cool down.  Maybe he's waiting for someone?  Hang on...

Noonday Heat (1903) Henry Scott Tuke
That's good.  If you are going to recline in sunshine, do it with a friend.  At least you have someone to talk to.  One of these gentlemen is still vaguely dressed.  What's that all about?  Really, that's not in the spirit of it at all.  How did he get into a Tuke painting with his clothes on?  The water looks rather splendid behind them, all twinkling and clear, but they are too absorbed in each other. I do hope they are wearing suntan lotion.

Summer Morning Interior (1917) Ernest Townsend
This might win as my favourite image of summer as it is just beautiful.  It is awfully Vermeer-y, and also reminded me of some of William Paxton's pictures of this era, although Townsend is at the far end of it.  The parasol is delightfully furled against the wall, waiting to go out.  It is an image of summer which is joyous and sensible.  The woman looks happy as the sunlight streams on her face.  She is literally all lit up.  However, she is dressed sensibly, with a parasol to hand and is not venturing out in the heat, merely observing the glory of it from a window.  Sensible lady.

When Apples were Golden and Songs were Sweet but Summer had Passed Away
(1906) John Melhuish Strudwick
Strudwick's catchily titled ode to the passing of Summer is my endnote today. However hot and floppy I feel, it will soon be autumn.  I will endeavour to enjoy the sunshine, probably from indoors, while it lasts, liberally sprayed with my rum and clove mix to keep off the mosquitoes.

 Remember to take care in the sunshine, m'dears, and I will catch up with you at the end of the week...

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

The Romance of Fable: Cinderella

About the same time as we saw Maleficent in May, I saw a trailer for a new Disney film, due out next year.  See if you can guess what it is...


Okay, it's not exactly a toughie, even if I hadn't given it away in the title, but no shoe is so iconic (save possibly the ruby slippers of Oz) as the glass slipper of Cinderella.  I have questions about comfort and practicality, but that is a very beautiful shoe.  The Victorians agreed it seems, as the images of Cinderella were widespread and plentiful...

Cinderella J E Millais
Unlike yesterday's Sleeping Beauty images, there are many, many moments in the Cinderella story that are ripe for illustration.  I was especially intrigued to see the images of the young girl pushed into her life of drudgery after her father's death.  Millais' little girl is pocket-sized elegance in her grubbiness.  I love the strange juxtaposition of the broom and the peacock feather and the little mouse on the floor (is that the same little mouse that appeared in Mariana?), all foreshadowing her future.

Cinderella (1899) Valentine Prinsep
Similarly, Valentine Prinsep goes for the grubby girl in the kitchen vibe, and throws in a pumpkin for good measure.  There is a quality of being forgotten, hidden in the kitchen as she is tucked around the corner keeping the fire alight.  Who is she looking for?  Is she being summoned by the ugly sisters or is her fairy godmother twinkling down from wherever fairy godmothers come from?  Where do fairy godmothers come from?  Is it Vegas?  I never really thought about it before but they have to hang out somewhere when they are not granting wishes.

The Sisters of Cinderella (1905) Walford Robertson
Talking of the ugly sisters, check out these two.  Remarkably un-ugly on the whole, but then ugly isn't always on the face, just to come over all deep for a moment.  In fact Cinderella's sisters are very beautiful indeed and she is merely in the background, holding the mirror.  Without the title, the edge would be lost because they are just pretty, slightly vain young women.  By knowing they are Cinderella's sisters, another layer is added.  Exactly how vile are they, considering they are so lovely to look at?  Terrifying stuff if you start to think about it.

Cinderella (1854) George Cruikshank
Right then, trotting along with the story, here we have the Fairy Godmother.  I was expecting someone taller but that might be rude and the sort of thing that doesn't get your mice turned into horses.  I don't mean to nitpick but I'm hoping that Tiny Godmother doesn't pouf up a carriage and horses in the kitchen. Look at the doorway and then look at the pumpkin. Take it outside, Tiny Godmother, take it outside.

The Slippers of Cinderella (1894) Aubrey Beardsley
So, Fairy Godmother has been and we have a lovely new frock.  I love this illustration by Beardsley, partly because Cinderella seems to be rocking the New Look fifty years early.  It almost seems to be a picture from Alice in Wonderland, it has a very 'Red Queen' feel about it.  Also, the slippers aren't exactly eye-catching, but possibly if they are glass then they would look like that. They are rather too 'ballet pump' for my tastes and we all that I can't wear a ballet pump, I'm only two generations away from the plough for heaven's sake. Mind you, if they have a heel you risk the whole 'clear heels' vibe and that is entirely another way of attracting men.  Either way, she did enough to pull a prince...

Cinderella About to Try on the Glass Slipper (1842) Richard Redgrave
So, you've worn the frock, you've gone to the party in a vegetable driven by rodents and pulled royalty.  Then disaster!  Midnight and it all goes back to being mice and rags and stuff.  Oh well, one night was pretty good.  But you left behind a shoe which inexplicably didn't disappear or turn into a rodent or vegetable!  Let's not over-examine the plot hole because this is where the magic happens.  The prince can't forget you, mainly because you are a chick in glass shoes, and he brings the shoe house-to-house in order to find you.  Redgrave gives us the exciting moment when Cinders comes forward to try on the shoe in front of an audience of her nasty family and assorted townspeople.  Lovely.  Plus Cinderella appears to be wearing a quilt.  Ho hum.

King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid (detail) Edward Burne-Jones
In some ways the Victorian's love of Cinderella is an interesting contradiction.  She is a social climber who uses magical deception in order to disrupt the status quo and snare a prince, but let's just ignore all that and concentrate on the romance.  I suppose they liked the themes of hard work and goodness being rewarded, of evil deeds not paying off and nice people ending up on the throne.  The idea that the lowest in society can be the most worthy and therefore the most desirable is also played out in stories like King Cophetua and his Beggar Maid, but how well the Victorians took to women who married so far above them is another story for another day...