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Diary of a Victorian Lady: Scenes from Her Daily Life by Adelaide Pountney, 1864-5 [Hardcover]

Adelaide Pountney
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

15 Oct 1998
Discovered in an attic by her great niece, Poutney's diaries run from 1863 to 1870. A mine of information and superb illustrations, this edition covers two years while the family were living in Leamington Spa and Devon. Her daily tasks - shopping for curtains, visiting or churchgoing - provide a fascinating account of everyday life. Each diary entry is illustrated.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Excellent Press (15 Oct 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1900318059
  • ISBN-13: 978-1900318051
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 12.4 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 337,908 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Like all good diaries, Adelaide Pountney's The Diary of a Victorian Lady: Scenes from her Daily Life 1864-1865 gives its readers the chance to imagine the life of its author between the lines: the daily round of walks and shopping, "visiting"and churchgoing, home- making and charity work. In addition, Pountney's Diary invites us to dwell in the vivid sketches which illustrate her entries: tiny, but detailed, drawings conjuring the world of a well-to- do Victorian woman.

Recently discovered (in an attic) by her great niece, Pountney's diaries run from 1863 to 1870. A mine of information and images, this edition covers two years while the family was living in Leamington Spa and Devon. Whatever she's doing--shopping for curtains or having her hair cut, buying fish (or fruit or fowl) or having her photograph taken--Adelaide gives it a picture. "Made late by mad bulls," she notes, on March 7, 1864, sketching her flight from a commotion which threatens from the margins of the page. "A man Mama admired" is the (intriguing) caption to the drawing of a solitary figure on May 20: one example of the kind of detail which turns this book into a fascinating document of everyday life. --Vicky Lebeau


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This is truly a unique and wonderful book, I believe without compare. The illustrations alone are beautiful, but it is the insightful daily commentary which becomes increasingly captivating, as one is drawn inexorably into the charming life of the young Adelaide Pountney. Truly a remarkable find.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful replica of a Victorian diary 22 Jan 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This wonderful little book is excellent for those wishing to gain an authentic 'feel' for the life and daily activities of a Victorian upper-class woman. The diary has been reproduced in her original handwriting (this does mean that some of the entries are a little scribbled and difficult to read but on the whole it is clear, and the scribbles only add to the charm and authenticity) and with the beautifully detailed sketches that she drew of her friends, hobbies and general daily life. She did not lead a particularly exciting life and most of the entries are about mundane activities so don't expect tales of her exploits in London society and tales of balls, parties and love affairs, the subtitle is "Scenes from her Daily Life", but do expect an excellent insight into the life and times of a Victorian lady.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Victorian England as it really was 22 Nov 2010
Format:Hardcover
I bought this because I was fascinated by the take on everyday life in mid-Victorian England. Photographs of this period are very stiff and posed, but in this pictorial diary Adelaide sketched what she saw, just as it was, and her scenes are of everyday life. Hers was a gentle life: no great dramas are portrayed, and it is a diary, so there is no crafted plot. Some days were wet and nothing much happened, so she depicted scenes indoors. I'd always wondered how several ladies managed to sit in a small room wearing crinolines, or exactly what a mid-Victorian drawing room looked like. What were the curtains like? What ornaments lay around? Now I almost feel I have been there! The pictures are just a little bit small,but that, apparently, is how she did them.
A puzzle: her sister married the Reverend Purton, of Bridgnorth, and the same gentleman turns up in another diary of the time, 'Talking with Past Hours'. What a coincidence!Talking With Past Hours: The Victorian Diary of William Fletcher of Bridgnorth
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5.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting Reproduction of a Diary 4 Nov 2012
By A. Non
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful, decorative book for anyone interested in daily life in the Victorian period.

APPEARANCE: The pages are glossy and the rich, hardback cover is very attractive on any coffee-table or bookshelf. The book, however, is very small - much smaller than I expected, just bigger than A5, and anyone with visual difficulties (and most people without) will find it difficult to read the text inside without the assistance of a magnifying glass.

CONTENTS: The book covers two years in the life of an unmarried Victorian lady in all its monotony (the Pountneys lived a fairly quiet life) - visiting with other repectable ladies, walking with "Mama", Church attendances, and admiring gentlemen from afar. But what makes this diary so remarkable and beautiful (instead of the dusty curio it could have been) is the intricate sketches the Victorian Lady in question - Adelaide Pountney - sketched throughout, almost every day, to demonstate in better detail than she could describe, one aspect of her day, with little annotations in her own hand to demonstrate who every person in each sketch is and a little description.

THE DOWNSIDE: The diary has been reproduced in her original handwriting, resulting in some cramped or apparently-rushed entries that are difficult to read.

But, the difficulties of reading some handwriting doesn't marr the enjoyment or hamper the appreciation of this absolutely beautifully reproduced diary. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the Victorian period.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice Glimpse into the life of a Victorian Woman, but its hard to read 23 Sep 2007
By YA Librarian - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As the previous reviewer said, Ms. Pountney's entries are not very long and if someone is looking for an exciting daily account of a woman's life, this is not it. Ms. Pountney was a middle class woman, and her life was pretty mundane. It is, however, an interesting look into a woman's domestic sphere.

The drawings were wonderful and give great insight into daily activities. However, the writing looks as if it is done in Ms. Pountney's handwriting. This makes the book difficult to read at times and I was straining to read the small, messy print. There is not a lot of room for entries so Ms. Pountney crammed everything in a small space, then added pictures. Sometimes entries are clear, other times they are not. It would have been better if someone had taken the time to read the entries, type them up and then put them in fancy font or something that looked like handwriting.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and will keep it as a resource for my Victorian collection. Still, it is difficult to read.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Charming bit of Victoriana 16 Jan 2007
By Elizabeth A. Root - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Miss Adelaide Pountney is not a rival to Pepys. Her diaries were in the form similar to a modern day-planner, rather than a blank book. The seven days of the week are spread across two pages. Three sentences was a long entry in her diary; a typical entry is "Emy is coming this week. I wrote to Minnie Walker."

The delight in this book is most of the daily boxes are filled with lively, intimate, detailed little sketches of her activities, the ordinary doings of well-to-do clergyman's daughter. She shops, plays the piano, visits, walks, does housework. Some of the entries have clarifying notes at the back of the book. With its intricately embossed endpages, color frontispiece and ornate cover, it would make a good gift to someone interested in Victoriana.
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