top of page


Lizzy Arden

Altered Book:

19th Century Advice on “Marriage, or How to Make Home Happy”

The Marriage Ring: Or How to Make Home Happy, John Angell James (1842)

Small white acrylic book, marriage themed, threads coming out.

Artist Statement

19th Century Advice on “Marriage, or How to Make Home Happy" is an altered book intertwining text and found images of brides from the 1800s with the first edition pocket book, The Marriage Ring: Or How to Make Home Happy

This book was chosen for its historical significance because it discusses the norms and expectations of marriage during the late 1800s. Areas of particular significance are highlighted with red brackets and underlined as part of the altering process. By viewing these past expectations it is illustrating the journey women have made over the last 150 years. The photos were found “in the wild” over several years by sifting through items at local San Diego estate sales and swap meets and are from the same time period as the book. This is important to emphasize so that the viewer understands how common these types of expressions are in cabinet card photography. The photos were re-printed onto vellum paper and then hand sewn with white silk thread, intentionally left untied and dangling out of the book to represent the unraveling of the purity/submissive state women were expected to uphold during this era.

Short Bio

Lizzy Arden is a visual artist who works and lives in San Diego, California. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Book Arts + Printmaking (2019) from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. Her work is informed by a strong interest in women's relationships and their roles in society.

bottom of page