Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Scent of Sandalwood

From English Historical Fiction Authors:
I have always loved the scent of sandalwood. It’s a warm, woody, sweet and sensual scent that is delightful on its own and forms a wonderful base note for some of my favourite perfumes, such as Samsara by Guerlain.

I was browsing a back issue of Jane Austen’s Regency World magazine and ran across this news item from 1805: “The value of the produce brought by the last fleet from India, consisting of teas, gold bars etc amounts, it is said to upwards of 16 million sterling, including the private trade.” (1) Trade items at the time would have included raw cotton as well as printed fabrics, tea, and other items, including sandalwood. This item made me think about sandalwood as a trade item during the Regency era, and wonder just what Sandalwood as an import took many forms at that time.

Boxes were especially popular. Glove boxes, sewing boxes and other items were made of sandalwood and inlaid with ivory, quills and other decorative finishes. In my list of references, you will find some links to sites with some wonderful photographs of beautiful boxes from this era. Sandalwood was also used to frame mirrors, tables and gentlemen’s clothes presses. I can only imagine how delicious a pair of gloves or a suit of clothes stored in a sandalwood receptacle must have smelled.

Another popular use for sandalwood was for construction of fans. During the 18th century sandalwood fans became very popular. Sometimes it was just the sticks, or mounts, that were sandalwood with fabric or other materials attached to the sticks of the fan to form the blades. In other cases, the entire fan was sandalwood; an open-work design for the blades called brise’ was very popular in ivory as well as sandalwood. (Read more.)

1 comment:

julygirl said...

I remember having a Sandalwood fan which imparted its sweet scent as one fanned oneself on a hot summer afternoon before the days of in-home A/C.