Octavia Thistledown wishes to announce the first of her events for this year; upon the evening of Saturday, the 9th day of March, 1811, she will host a small salon, major theme or themes to be decided. It will commence at 4 of the o'clock in the afternoon, include an informal supper, and continue. If you are interested in suggesting a theme, please respond to this invitation. The theme(s) will be announced during the week prior to the salon and you may decide at that time whether you wish to attend.
A salon is a gathering of people held by an inspiring host. During the gathering they amuse one another and increase their knowledge through conversation. These gatherings often consciously followed Horace's definition of the aims of poetry, "either to please or to educate" (Latin: aut delectare aut prodesse).
The salon was an Italian invention of the 16th century, which flourished in France throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. The salon continued to flourish in Italy throughout the 19th century. In 16th-century Italy, some brilliant circles formed in the smaller courts which resembled salons, often galvanized by the presence of a beautiful and educated patroness such as Isabella d'Este or Elisabetta Gonzaga.
Salons were an important place for the exchange of ideas.
Before the end of the 17th century, these gatherings were frequently held in the bedroom (treated as a more private form of drawing room): a lady, reclining on her bed, would receive close friends who would sit on chairs or stools drawn around. This practice may be contrasted with the greater formalities of Louis XIV's petit lever, where all stood. Ruelle, literally meaning "narrow street" or "lane", designates the space between a bed and the wall in a bedroom; it was used commonly to designate the gatherings of the "précieuses", the intellectual and literary circles that formed around women in the first half of the 17th century.