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The Regency Redingote has relocated.
I hope you will bookmark this new location and will stop by the new home of The Regency Redingote
from time to time to discover still more snippets of Regency history.
Or not? Mostly, not.
This past weekend, I read the fourth or fifth Regency novel in the last few years in which a scratching or rustling noise intrudes upon a clandestine meeting or stealthy activity in which the hero and heroine are engaged. The sounds come from the ground, in the dark of night, and in each case this disturbance is ascribed to squirrels. Impossible!
The facts about squirrels in Regency England ...
This past week, the fellow who reports on sport for the local public radio station did a tongue-in-cheek piece on the recent cheese rolling event
which took place in Gloucestershire, England. His intent was to remind his listeners there were sporting activities abroad in the world beyond the upcoming basketball playoffs. However, his report also reminded me that this was an ancient country sport which had been enjoyed in England for several centuries, including during the years of the Regency.
A slice of cheese rolling lore ...
Stones and dust hardly seem the things of romance. And yet the behaviour of these particular stones and this special "dust" is frequently used as a metaphor for the power of romantic attraction. However, that may not be immediately obvious to those of us living in the twenty-first century, because these are the names which would have been used in the Regency for naturally occuring elements. Today's romance authors tend to use the modern-day names for similar, but man-made, versions of these objects.
Of lodestones and smith's dust ...
"Miss Bennet, there seemed to be a prettyish kind of a little wilderness on one side of your lawn. I should be glad to take a turn in it, if you will favor me with your company."
Lady Catherine de Bourgh to Elizabeth Bennet
from Chapter LVI
of Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen
There are those who believe that Lady Catherine was yet again being condescending when she referred to the "wilderness" at one side of the lawn at Longbourn. But in actual fact, her condescension was in the use of the word "little" and the implication that the Bennet's lawn was not as grand as her own estate at Rosings.
The enclosed wilderness at Mr. Rushworth's estate of Sotherton Court is a point of discussion and the setting for some interesting interchanges between various characters in Chapters IX and X of Mansfield Park
. The author of both these novels, Jane Austen
, was well aware that a garden wilderness was not open country when she wrote these novels. She knew that a wilderness was a common feature of many of the larger English gardens during the Regency, just as it had been for at least a century prior to the publication of her books.
Many of these garden wildernesses were related to the evolution of the garden maze. For that reason, this article takes its place as another in my series on mazes
. And now, a wilderness adventure ...
Coursing was a field sport popular with many gentlemen during the Regency, though it is not often mentioned in novels set during that time. And when it is part of the story, the details noted are often incorrect. The practices and rules of coursing have changed over the years, such that those which obtained during the Regency were not the same as those observed at other times in the history of the sport.
A bit of coursing history, with details on how it was practised in England during the years of the Regency ...
In recent months I have embarked upon a series of articles here about both the London Panorama
and various aspects of paper-hangings
. In the French scenic papers these two topics intersect. Though Robert Barker's London Panorama pre-dates by more than a decade the scenic papers produced with such style in France, they share the same antecedents. And Mr. Barker's name for his unique invention supplied the alternate adjective for these elegant paper-hangings, as they also came to be known as "panoramic" papers.
A little history about how the outside came inside the English home ...
By the name, one can be excused for thinking that a Royal Hanoverian Cream might be a rich, frothy, luscious dessert. But in actual fact, they were a breed of horse, now extinct, who pulled the royal carriages for many of the English kings and queens, including all the Georges. Napoleon nearly destroyed the breed in Hanover, but our very own Prince Regent came to the rescue, only to have the last George abandon them primarily because of their origins.
The parade of the Royal Hanoverian Cream horse through history ...
Over the years, I have read dozens of Regency romances which include a scene in the bath. The hero may or may not be present while the heroine bathes, but one thing which is always close at hand is a bar of soap. Yet during the Regency, bar soap was extremely expensive, used only by the affluent classes. Bar soap, something so ubiquitous today we take it for granted. Yet, it was only in the last decade of the eighteenth century that a French chemist patented a method of making bar soap which should have helped to reduce the cost, making it available to more people. Before that time, those of modest means were more likely to use the less expensive soft soap.
A brief history of how soap lathered its way to the Regency ...
Perhaps not exactly a death-trap, but the side-saddles in use during the Regency were nowhere near as safe as the side-saddles now ridden by modern-day equestriennes. All of those intrepid heroines of Regency romance novels who have ridden their horses astride may have been flaunting convention, but they were also much safer riding in that style than they would have been on a Regency-era side-saddle.
A brief account of the development of the side-saddle
and how it was used during the Regency ...
Or, perhaps the panorama
can be considered the Regency version of the IMAX
or even the holodeck
. The panorama was first introduced in London in the late eighteenth century and quickly spread across Europe. These enormous paintings became a popular form of entertainment throughout England and the Continent during the Regency. Yet I have never read a Regency novel in which a panorama plays any part.
A brief history of the origin of the panorama ...
Posted on 04/09/10 at 07:09:00 by Kathryn Kane
As much as I love Regencies, I cannot justify the expense of hard cover editions. I stick to paperbacks. But I can still find some of the old traditionals at Biblio and Alibris for reasonable prices.
I have gotten a couple of Regencies from Cerridwen and Wild Rose, but so many of them are eBook only, and I am a dyed-in-the-wool booklover. No eBooks for me! I have also found so many egregious historical errors in some of them that they were very disappointing. I sometimes wish I was not a historian, then I might not notice. ;-)
I don't think Sandra Heath is still writing, although some of her books are being reissued in harcover and a few are available at regencyreads.com
Traditional Regencies are no longer available in mass-market format. Try the e-pubs--The Wild Rose Press and Cerridwen Cotillion. Depending on the length, the books may be available in paper.
Thanks for the tip about Sandra Heath. I did read one of her traditional Regencies years ago, but did not realize she was still writing. I will make it a point to look for her books the next time I am at the bookstore.
I have to admit, I am finding it harder and harder to find novels with a Regency setting. I am hopeful that there might be more next year, with the upcoming bicentennial of the beginning of the Regency. One can but hope.
Sandra Heath writes Regencies--wonderful, detailed, accurate, and page-turners, too. If you haven't read any of her stories, give them a try. I think you'll like them.
And 99% of what I read is Regencies, too.
That would explain why I did not know about them. I very seldom read anything but Regencies.
Thanks for the heads up. Maybe I will force myself to read them.
I can't quite remember, but I can think of two romances that had panoramas.
SECRETS OF A SUMMER NIGHT, a Victorian by Lisa Kleypas, starts with one.
Also, a Sandra Heath book, I think it's WINTER DREAMS, contains one, where the villain chases the heroine up and down the stairs the customers had to climb to see the various levels of the panorama.
Again, I may be wrong.
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Earlier this year I wrote a brief history of the maze
. I promised to write in more detail about the two most prominent forms of the maze during the English Regency. This week I will concentrate on a maze form which certainly existed during the Regency, though I have yet to see one mentioned in a novel set during that time.
The English turf maze, its origins, its construction and its uses up to and during the Regency ...
The decade of the English Regency is my favorite period in history, bar none. Period. It is a tiny slice of time between the rougher, cruder eighteenth century and the repressively straight-laced Victorian age. England was still mainly rural, most of the technology we take for granted today was still decades away and the pace of life was slower and certainly more graceful than our own time. Plus, the art, the architecture, the furnishings and the clothes of that time were certainly more elegant those of the present day.
Next year, 2011, is the bicentennial of the beginning of the Regency in England. It was on Wednesday, 6 February 1811, at Carlton House, that the Prince of Wales took the oath which made him Regent. As a lover of novels set in the Regency, I certainly hope that something will be done to mark this auspicious anniversary.
In recent weeks I have written about both paper-hangings
and the private display of art
during the Regency. Those divergent topics intersected during the second half of the eighteenth century and through the decade of the Regency to produce a unique phenomenon which occurred in the decoration of rooms in many private houses. However, this phenomenon was restricted primarily to England, though there were some instances of it in Ireland and America at about the same time.
The phenomenon of the English Print Room ...
Last week I wrote about the rapid rise of the craze for the velocipede
in Regency England. Introduced first in London, early in 1819, by the enterprising coachmaker, Denis Johnson, the velocipede was all the rage by the early spring of that year. It quickly spread to other cities and towns across the country, and was particularly popular with young men of leisure.
Yet, by the end of that same year, 1819, the craze for the velocipede was over. How did this near mania for a human-powered two-wheeled vehicle fall nearly as quickly as it rose?