A Handbag?

The Importance of Being Ernest 1952 Oscar Wilde

Jack I don’t actually know who I am by birth. I was…well, I was found

Lady Bracknell Found?

Jack Yes. The late Mr Thomas Cardew, an old gentleman of a kindly disposition found me and gave me the name of Worthing because he happened to have a first class ticket to Worthing at the time. Worthing is a place in Sussex. It’s a seaside resort.

Lady Bracknell And where did this charitable gentleman with the first class ticket to the seaside resort find you?

Jack In a handbag.

Lady Bracknell [closes eyes briefly] A handbag?

Jack Yes Lady Bracknell, I was in a handbag. A somewhat large…black…leather handbag with handles..to it. [pause]

Lady Bracknell An ordinary handbag.

Lady Bracknell And where did this Mr James….or, Thomas Cardew come across this ordinary handbag?

Jack The cloak room at Victoria Station. It was given to him in mistake for his own…

Lady Bracknell [ shocked] The cloak room at Victoria Station?

Jack Yes. The Brighton Line

Lady Bracknell The line is immaterial. [begins tearing up notes]

Lady Bracknell Mr. Worthing. I must confess that I feel somewhat bewildered by what you have just told me. To be born, or at any rate bred in a handbag, whether it have handles or not, seems to me to display a contempt for the ordinary decencies of family life which reminds one of the worst excesses of the French revolution, and I presume you know what that unfortunate movement led to?….


You may wonder why I am reminded of those great lines in that wonderful play ‘ The Importance of Being Ernest’ by Oscar Wilde. I just couldn’t help re-reading them in my best Edith Sitwell voice to add the necessary comedic gravitas. The reason is the upcoming Auction at Christies in London of one of Margaret Thatcher’s Aspinal handbags. It may be remembered that she was famous for carrying and using to best powerful effect a smart handbag which she either carried slightly to the front of her like a shield or perhaps a weapon? or tucked under the crook of her arm. The term handbagging was coined {by a man of course} to describe the formidable weapon her cohorts and back benchers felt about Mrs Thatcher’s strategic and clever use of her bag which was pointedly placed upon the cabinet table to announce who was boss.

Has the role of the Handbag changed?, I don’t think so. It can still act as a shield or weapon, it can still be used as a power symbol and it carries a myriad of essentials. I don’t believe I have ever hit anyone with mine but I certainly would if I thought it necessary. I know that the carrying of a ‘good bag’ , one that with care will last a lifetime is one of the essentials of every woman’s wardrobe.

This Handbag to be Auctioned for Charity at Christies on June 27th is expected to make 100,000!


Aspinal of London make a quintessential ‘good handbag’ and any one of these would be wonderful to have in my wardrobe, ‘To Have and to Hold’ comes to mind and these are my choice from their current collection of Classic styles.


It's in the Bag

It’s in the Bag by nickysragtales featuring zip bags