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Period dramas and historical fiction shows are popular for a reason. They have dope costumes, great characters, and they offer the opportunity to take a peek at a usually glitzed-up version of the past. Some can even teach people a thing or two about history.
Most people have at least one friend who won’t shut up about them (which is fine!), so here’s what to get that friend when the gifting season approaches.
Very few people live like the Crawleys of Downton do, what with their army of servants and personal cook Mrs. Patmore whipping up all of their meals. Considering that level of wealth is borderline unethical, that’s probably a good thing. Still, it’s hard to watch a show like Downton Abbey and not crave a perfectly baked scone or chilled bowl of…idk, rich people soup. The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook is perfect for those who want a taste of the good life but are also willing to put in the work for it.
Price: $6.98 on Amazon
What the hell is this thing? It’s awesome, that’s what it is. You put the beer in it and it looks like the kind of thing a kooky Victorian inventor would have in his workshop when a violently proficient lady detective and her bumbling sidekick burst in to misidentify him as the murderer in a quirky Australian mystery series. It looks dope and it will get you drunk.
Price: $149.00 at GrowlerWerks
It is a truth universally acknowledged that if a period drama is set in the Italian Renaissance, Leonardo Da Vinci will show up. Sometimes he’s a shirtless hottie with long hair, sometimes he’s a crazy old dude who looks like he lives in a cave, but he’s always there to design a death machine for Cesare Borgia, or have some of his art show up as a wink towards some rich character’s exquisite taste in art. Remind your Period Drama friend of all the Leonardos they’ve seen before. Get them a Da Vinci print.
Price: $69.99 on Wayfair
Come on, this one is easy. For those who like their period dramas set during the time when sad couples put a dancin’ tune on the vitrola and did a little waltz in the parlor to see if they still loved each other after all the trials they’ve been through together — get ‘em a record player. Bonus points if you throw in a couple of old timey records so they can live out their sadness waltz dreams.
Price: $69.99 at Bloomingdales
Let me be clear: do not put razor blades in these hats. Yes, it’s what Cillian Murphy does on Peaky Blinders, but don’t do it. That’s concealing a weapon and it’s illegal. It’s better to lean on the sheer aesthetic of the Blinders’s old school cool and just buy this hat that says “Do I have a razor blade in here? No, but you don’t know that and you’ll fear me accordingly.” Also don’t fix any horse races.
Price: about $26.24 (price is converted from pounds sterling) on Peaky Blinders
Rococo may be a roco-no in modern design circles, but there’s something to be said for a very fancy mirror inspired by the court of Versailles. I mean most of the people involved in the systems that allowed for the accumulation of wealth at the top of the social pyramid at the expense of the lower and working classes were guillotined in the French Revolution, but look! It’s so shiny and gold!
Price: $131.03 on Houzz
Period dramas are incredible because they remind people that previous generations were just as dramatic and complicated as we are today. It Ended Badly is a hilarious book by Jennifer Wright about the worst breakups in history — from Lucrezia Borgia’s disastrous first marriage to Giovanni Sforza to Emperor Nero going…just really, super overboard. All of these monster couples deserve their own TV show, and some of them already have one.
Price: $9.42 on Amazon
There’s always a scene in a period drama where, like, the lady of the house or the daughter or whatever is sat at her vanity brushing her wig with one of those silvery paddle brushes and wondering if Sir will come to call again or if she’s lost him forever to that temptress Victoria. Anyway, the silvery paddle brush/comb is super important. This vanity set has the brush, the comb, and a few other fancy trinkets that will make any dressertop fit to serve for anyone’s brooding haircare sessions.
Price: $38.01 on Amazon
Whether they stole it from a country their government thoroughly colonized or threw it in a harbor, period drama friggin’ love tea. Drinking it, offering it, making their plans around it — teatime is all the time when your only job is to wear a corset and snap at your social and political rivals. This lovely tea tin invokes the leisured class and their complete obsession with hot leaf juice. Just remember — tea before milk.
Price: $8.14 at Harrod’s