Did aristocrats work?

Jun 2008
14
In the 17th and 18th century there were aristocrats/noblemen/upper class citizens in the greater cities, like London, Copenhagen etc. Did they have a job? Or did they simply party all the time?
 
Aug 2008
208
Auckland
They were most likely land lords, and probably didn't work, just sat there all day collecting rent.

Although some aristocrats were also politicians and military officers, so some did work.
 
Sep 2008
268
Orkney, United Kingdom
Of course they worked hard, it's not easy to spend money and enjoy yourself at the same time!:D
 

Toltec

Ad Honorem
Apr 2008
7,923
Hyperborea
It really depends what genration of aristocrats they were. Aristocracy for the most part didn't last long in families. A merchant class man would be enobled for being rich, his wastrel children or granchildren would probably have squandered all the money within a century and meanwhile a new generation of merchants would be being enobled.
 
Jul 2008
1,271
In the 18 centuries the aristocracy of Britain was quite small and almost a closed shop to outsiders, these people would have owned large estates, retaining direct management in part and renting out the rest to middling farmers. A good aristocratic family would have been closely involved with estate management, and taken a pride in livestock and horse rearing, Remember this was an era of agricultural improvement, much of it initiated on the large estates of the upper classes, becourse the aristocracy had such large estates and resources, they had the capability to experiment with new innovations, and from them that it spread out to those down the chain This class would have been involved in national politics through the House of Lords, with younger sons entering politics in the House of Commons.
A little down the scale would have been the gentry who owned their own land and would have been much more involved in the running of county life, acting on town and local councils, as magistrates and in local administration.
The aristocracy was seen as setting the standard for fashion and manners, but there were many newspaper editorials attacking their excesses, and William Hogarth’s caricatures are priceless.
 
Sep 2008
268
Orkney, United Kingdom
This is not my particular area, but would not some of the bad press or gossip been to due to younger royals at the time, such as whoever was Prince of Wales? The were quite noted for the party and gambling scene amongst other things?
 

Nick

Historum Emeritas
Jul 2006
6,111
UK
Yep. George IV had a bad reputation as a glutton, gambler and womaniser
 

Pedro

Forum Staff
Mar 2008
17,151
On a mountain top in Costa Rica. yeah...I win!!
If I'm not over simplifying (which I am) the easiest approach is to divide people into managers and workers. Using your hands was not something an aristocrat would do. Musicians and painters were not allowed to be titled e.g. because they used their hands. Musicians, such as Mozart, were treated as human juke boxes. (For you young guys a juke box was the forerunner to the 'walkman'.:) which I suppose is the forerunner to something I am not aware of.) The great Spanish painter Velazquez desired membership in the upperclasses but was at first turned down because he was ' a mere common artisian'. He eventually made it by claiming that painting was only a past time and presented documents to prove that he had never made a living at art. (Humm...sounds familiar.:)) Aristocrats spent their time philosophizing about things such as 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of property'.
 

Nick

Historum Emeritas
Jul 2006
6,111
UK
For you young guys a juke box was the forerunner to the 'walkman'.:) which I suppose is the forerunner to something I am not aware of.
The Ipod, which is the forerunner to mp3 players that play films in addition to music.
 

Pedro

Forum Staff
Mar 2008
17,151
On a mountain top in Costa Rica. yeah...I win!!
The Ipod, which is the forerunner to mp3 players that play films in addition to music.
MP3 is the forerunner. Really Nick! Having a senior moment at your age! Please leave that to one who has more experience at it. :D