Meet Lucy Worsley: my current favourite person on television.
She is the Chief Curator of the Royal Historical Palaces, an author and TV presenter. You might have seen her presenting Elegance and Decadence: The Age of the Regency or the wonderfully titled Harlots, Housewives and Heroines: A 17th Century History for Girls, both on BBC4.
Here are four good reasons why Lucy Worsley should be your next culture crush :
1. She knows her stuff: Lucy is clever. She got a first class degree in Ancient and Modern History at New College, Oxford before gaining her PhD in Art History. She can talk and write about seemingly dull stuff like the history of domestic lighting and make it really interesting. She brings together odd and intriguing historical sources and breathes new life into them. History: Worsley Style is fun and accessible. Leading onto my next point…
2. She looks like she’d be bloody good fun to have a drink with: Whilst she is very clever, it appears that Lucy isn’t above having a laugh. She’ll dress up as a Dandy, lounge in bed like a decadent flapper or don a bonnet and go all Pride and Prejudice. She’s not afraid of looking silly. She also has a knack for finding the juicy and amusing parts of history and making them relevant to life in 2011. I love fact that she finds herself unable to talk about Samuel Pepys and his "emissions", along with other 17th century sexual shenanigans, without bursting into laughter
3. She isn’t afraid to speak her mind: Lucy recently landed herself in hot water after declaring that had been “educated out of the reproductive function”. She weathered the following media storm with poise and eloquence, calmly explaining that she had been misinterpreted and had great respect for mothers, though also taking the opportunity to highlight society’s “significant fear of a woman who chooses to remain childless”.
She has also annoyed the (predominantly male) academic establishment with her unashamedly populist approach to history. Personally, I have great respect for anyone who irritates the misogynistic dinosaur that is David Starkey.
4. She has great style: The lady owns contemporary “bluestocking” chic. And she sometimes even wears actual blue stockings! I’m not talking about the trendy “eccentric geek chic” that is plastered all over Vogue lately. I mean proper “I love a good cardigan with a knee length skirt” style. It isn’t edgy, but her style works. Take a bright cardi, team it with a simple yet colourful dress, add some quirky details (a bow here, some rouching there), opaque tights and some clumpy wedge shoes and there you have trademark Lucy style. Her hair is pretty cool too.
Here's a clip of Lucy in full dress up action in Harlots, Housewives and Heroines:
Jen Evans is a historian and journalist specialising in culture. She wouldn't mind her own BBC documentary series. You can read more of her writing on her blog, Bookish Brunette.
Image via www.bbc.co.uk