A Victorian governess would have trained the girls of the household in the skills required for them to hold their own in the drawing room and attract a suitable husband, but would have taught the boys only until they were sent to boarding school at the tender age of eight. Evie Grace, author of Half a Sixpence and the upcoming saga Her Mother's Daughter, shares what life was like for a Victorian governess and how she found inspiration for the character of Miss Treen. Agnes Berry-Clay might have been born into rags but she is growing up with riches. Every day her governess would prepare her to meet her parents for the allotted hour, then take her away again. The role of a governess often challenged the ideal stereotype of a woman because she was employed and self-sufficient (even though she had to send money home). What was role of Victorian governess? The girls were between the ages of five and eighteen. the Victorian governess was often circumscribed, or even propelled, by heightened interest in, what historian Karen Halttunen calls ‘scenarios of pain.’ 3 Whether depicted in the mainstream press or in nefarious erotica, the governess was contextualized by a wide spectrum of corporal violence and misfortune. I hope you enjoy reading about her in Her Mother’s Daughter. Towards the end of the 19th century, the role of the governess started to be noticed in literature.

If a particular governess was young and attractive, the lady of the house might well perceive a potential threat to her marriage, and enforce the governess's social exclusion more rigorously. As a way to put a stop to the Governesses’ Benevolent Institution was set up in 1841 to help them with pensions. A governess is a women employed in a private household to educate pupils (usually girls) in a range of “accomplishments” ranging from reading to drawing. Generally, governesses would live in the household and receive a salary along with their room and board.

In contrast to a nanny (formerly called a nurse), she concentrates on teaching children, rather than caring for their physical needs. A Governess For Richard - Part 2 - Richard's Examination: 2007.09.25 23120 3 : A Governess For Richard - Part 3- At the Manor House: 2007.09.25 16549 4 : A Governess For Richard - Part 4 - Richard Begins His Therapy: 2007.09.25 19707 5 : A Governess For Richard - Part 5 - Jane Gets a Job: 2007.09.25 35160 I’d read stories about governesses by other writers, for example Jane Eyre in which the heroine marries her employer, and Vanity Fair about the conniving Becky Sharp, but I found some of the true accounts of real governesses equally fascinating. Victorian governess dress Dress was formalized by around 1880, which dress included a long, plain skirt, usually grey or black, boots and a wide belt, a blouse buttoned up to the neck, along with a shawl and bonnet for outside wear. Children who have reached school age come under the care of the governess, babies don’t. There were few options for ladies required to work, and the majority of the situations were often uncomfortable. But as times goes on, her life at Windmarsh Court changes.

Idealised depiction of a governess teaching her three pupils, including a young boy, from fictional story The Governess, or the Missing Pencil-Case, estimated 1875. It was difficult for a governess to find a suitable husband because most of the eligible men she encountered were her social superiors, who preferred a bride from within their own social class, particularly since such women generally had better financial resources. It was also possible for other teachers (usually male) with specialist knowledge and skills to be brought in, such as, a drawing master or dancing master. When Victorian authors wanted to write a novel about a young woman, it made sense for her to be a governess. The presence of a governess in the house to teach the children freed the lady of the house from her having to teach her children and gave her more time for philanthropy. She sometimes even taught young boys until they are old enough to attend school. Governesses are rarer now, except within large and wealthy households or royal families such as the Saudi royal family[2] and in remote regions such as outback Australia. Has women’s place in society changed from Elizabethan and Victorian Eras. Many well-off families employed governesses to teach children. By definition, a governess was an unmarried woman who lived in someone else's home, which meant that she was subject to their rules. She may not be a perfect or particularly splendid character, but a protagonist on whom the story is centred and with whom the reader sympathises with.

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