We have just started to enjoy our Advent Calendar, a splendid fabric one made by Helen, with little pockets in which sweets can be inserted.
I realised as I was filling it that it is some time since I have written a blog about curious links and connections, so here is one now.
Take another look at the calendar and answer these questions;
How is this picture linked to Peter Pan?
And can you work out the very tangential link to Jane Austen.
Now have a chocolate and think about it.
Right, now for the answer.
You will see from the picture that the sweets we chose to use were Quality Street. If you go back a few years the packaging always included a picture of a Napoleonic soldier and a late Georgian Lady (1830’s ish) who were informally known as Major Quality and Miss Sweetness.
In 1936, when the sweet maker Harold Mackintosh decided to produce a selection of individually wrapped toffees (the range soon expanded to include other types of sweet as well) he looked around for a name for his new collection. He found it in the title of a popular comedy, Quality Street. This had been written by J. M. Barrie, hence the Peter Pan connection.
The story has a suitably comedic plot, set during and after the Napoleonic war, which involves the heroine, delightfully named Phoebe Throssel, pretending to have a flirty niece, played by herself, leading to misunderstandings and rapid costume changes.
As well as being popular on stage, there was a beautiful illustrated edition published.
The illustrations by Hugh Thompson, helped give rise to the images on the packaging of the sweets. While Hugh Thompson is generally considered one of the greatest illustrators of Jane Austen.
So there you are!