Books by Liza Picard

Released: March 26, 2019

"An ideal companion volume for readers of the Tales and a useful stand-alone history of the period."
What was it like to live in 14th-century England? Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 2004

"The detail is rich and remarkable; the prose sometimes more pedestrian than one expects from Picard. (32 pp. color illustrations)"
From the Thames to witchcraft, from petty schools to bear-baiting, from Shakespeare to small beer—a succinct guide to the sights, sounds, and smells of the London of the Virgin Queen. Read full book review >
Released: July 1, 2001

"A delightful hodge-podge of social history."
An inventory of daily life in London circa 1755, when Samuel Johnson published his Dictionary of the English Language. Read full book review >
Released: May 27, 1998

An entertainingly over-stocked historical digest of life during London's liveliest decade of the 17th century, 1660—70. Picard, a lawyer at Gray's Inn and an amateur historian, is uninterested in writing a revisionist work of that most uncharacteristic era in English history, which takes in the post—Civil War return of the monarchy, the growth of Great Britain's mercantile empire, and the devastating Great Fire, out of which modern London arose. Picard's book is essentially lively social history with a materialist slant and skirts complicated politics to devote itself to a minute examination of mundane life from every angle. Picard gathers evidence and testimony to create something like the contemporary grab-bag almanacs, throwing in an exceptional range of information under headings for education, sex, clothing, housework, cooking, city planning, and entertainment, just to name a few. Sources naturally include the diary of Samuel Pepys, that of the underrated John Evelyn, and the eclectic biographical briefs of John Aubery. Picard also unearths small treasuries of first-hand data: the travelogue of Cosmo, the young grand duke of Tuscany, who took in London in a reverse of the Grand Tour; educator Hannah Wolley's "conduct" books like The Accomplish'd Lady's Delight, a Cooking Book, and Guide to the Female Sex; heraldic scholar Randle Holme's Academy of Armory, whose descriptions of anything appearing on a coat of arms reads like the era's Sears catalogue; and the Calendar of State Papers Domestic, a cornucopia of civil papers, e.g., rewards for stray cows, plans for waterworks, petitions on behalf of brothels, and requests to —Sam. Pepys— for naval supplies. Beyond her assiduous research, Picard displays remarkable sympathy for those who lived in the Restoration era, getting under the age's skin even to the extent of imagining wearing stays. Picard's engaging survey energetically rummages through the attic of London's colorful past. (24 pages b&w illustrations, not seen) Read full book review >