Thursday, March 27, 2014

At Your Service - 19th Century Valet

The valet or gentleman’s gentleman is a gentleman’s male servant. Reports directly to the Master of the house. It is his responsibility to see that all areas in his master’s personal requirements are seen to.

Daily Routine:
Hands his master his hat and gloves and opens the door if his master is going out. He will receives his orders for the rest of the day.

While waiting for his master’s return, he will make sure that the master’s drawing room is in an acceptable state. That it has been dusted and swept by the maids, that th fire and candles are lit.

He makes sure his master’s dressing-room in order:
Cleaning combs and brushes
Folding his clothes and putting them in drawers.

In some cases he will select suitable clothes for his master and make sure they are clean, especially the collars, and that they are maintained in good repair.

He will consults with the tailor, perfumer, and linen-draper.

It is his duty to make sure a washing table is ready and the ewer and carafe are filled fresh water. He places basin towels, brushes, hot water, and shaving equipment are at hand to help his master shave.

He helps his master to get dressed for dinner.

He places boots and shoes cleaned by the under footman in the dressing room.

When his master preparing to go on a journey he will pack enough linen and other clothing for the trip.

If they stay overnight at an Inn, he performs all the duties he would at home to ensure his master’s comfort and assist his master in dressing and undressing.

In some cases if no footmen is available the valet maybe required to step in to help with the serving of meals.

The typical salary for a valet was 20-30 pound ($2,100-$3,00) per year

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