Regency England: recent mail

November 30, 2020 at 10:24 am (books, entertainment) (, , )

A bit of a surprise arrived last week, just in time for Thanksgiving: Ian Mortimer’s book, The Time Traveller’s Guide to Regency Britain.

I had ordered TWO items via eBay — a Christmas Stollen and a book (old; used) that documents the history of a Vermont family in the 19th century. The stollen was there, on the stoop. The book, I assumed, was the cardboard box in the mailbox.

Imagine my disbelief when the book within turned out to be hardcover (not paperback) and BRAND NEW, just released in November/December 2020!

From time to time I _do_ get review copies. One received last year won’t have its review published until 2021 – for JASNA News agreed to host it (with one other “fashion” book). Usually review copies are sent from the publisher, and usually they have marketing paperwork tucked inside. This one came from Amazon — so I asked a couple of friends: “Did you send me…?” (they know I hate them to spend money on me – but they also know my To-Be-Read piles grow, nearly weekly).
Their responses: “Not Me.”

So, logical conclusion: the book came as a review copy, perhaps from a stash sent to Amazon, in order not to clog the Christmas mails.

With Regency Britain, author Ian Mortimer adds to his ranks of Time Traveller’s Guides. Earlier entries are: The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England (2008); The Time Traveller’s Guide to Elizabethan England (2010); and The Time Traveller’s Guide to Restoration England (2017).

Mortimer’s early entries make sense when seeing the other books on his roster. In a blog post about his earliest, entitled, The Greatest Traitor: the Life of Sir Roger Mortimer, Ruler of England, 1327-1330 (2003), Mortimer spins a tale that began with the “similar name” game and ended with a revelatory concluding chapter.

For Regency Britain, Mortimer extends the actual period of “the Regency” in order to discuss the period 1789 through 1830, thereby touching on the French Revolution through to the end of George IV’s reign.

“And like all periods in history, it was an age of many contradictions – where Beethoven’s thundering Fifth Symphony could have its UK premier in the same year that saw Jane Austen craft the delicate sensitivities of Persuasion.”

A book on the larger side (perfect for covid lockdowns as well as gift-giving), it boasts 432 pages; color illustrations; an index; chapter endnotes. Getting some good reviews in the UK press.

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Regency Spode

September 24, 2013 at 7:43 am (entertainment, history, research) (, , , , , )

Ever wonder about finding something that evokes “life back then”?

Spode historian Pam Woolliscroft informs her audience that she “stopped dead” when she spotted this trio – bread & butter plate, tea-cup and saucer – on the bottom shelf in an antique market….

spode trio

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Regency with Worsley

December 4, 2012 at 11:07 pm (british royalty, fashion, history, jane austen, london's landscape, people, places, travel) (, , , , , , , )

Worsley_EleganceLucy Worsley in a three-part BBC production.

The series is Elegance & Decadence: The Age of the Regency.

*Warts and All: Portrait of A Prince

*Developing the Regency Brand

*The Many and the Few: A Divided Decade

Join Worsley at Kew – Devizes – the Dulwich Picture Gallery – Beau Brummel’s dressing room – Brighton – Waterloo. A real “look” at Regency people, places, and things.

Including, a bird’s eye view of All Souls, Langham Place — extremely important to the history of the Smiths & Goslings:

all souls_langham place

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Mrs William Gosling’s Concert

October 9, 2012 at 9:29 pm (a day in the life, british royalty, entertainment, news, people, research) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Anyone reading Two Teens in the Time of Austen will know that I LOVE classical music. Mrs William Gosling, Mary’s stepmother was an inveterate “party, ball, concert” giver during the London season.

Thanks to Craig in Australia, I found the following newspaper announcement of a tremendous party given in 1821. It was reported in The Morning Post, Wednesday 6 June 1821:

“In Portland-place, on Monday evening, was attended by 300 fashionables. The music commenced at half-past ten, with an instrumental Septetto, the composition of HAYDN. An Aria, by Madame CAMPORESE, from Don Giovanni, accompanied by Mr. LINLEY, on the violoncello [sic], was a delightful treat. A duetto, by Madam CAMPORESE and Signor AMBROGETTI, from Il Turco in Italia, was followed by an air by Miss STEPHENS. ‘Hush, ye pretty warbling choir.’ Selections from HANDEL, ROSSINI, ROMBERG, MAYER, BISHOP, and BEETHOVEN. Leader of the Band, Mr KIESEWETTER; at the pianoforte, Sir George SMART.

Among the audience were —-
His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester, the Duke and Duchess de Frias and suite, Bavarian Envoy, Marchioness of Salisbury and Lady Georgiana Wellesley, Sir William Abdy, Mr. and Lady Drummond, Miss Nugent, Lady Elizabeth Talbot, Mrs. Malcolm and Miss Macleod, Lady Robert and Miss Fitzgerald, Marchioness of Winchester and Lady Mary Paulet, Sir Eyre Coote, Mrs. and Misses Blackshaw, Earl and Countess Verulam, Countess of Westmeath, Mrs. Hope.”

What fun! though could _I_ ever envision a party for three hundred people?! Yow! Love the term “fashionables”! In a letter I have, from the Two Augustas (Mamma and her eldest daughter), they speak of Rossini being in London: did Mrs Gosling open her purse (as Augusta intimated would NOT be the case with another grand lady) and invite him to her home?

Do you think they served any Syllabub??

Because this 1824 article describes the layout of the house, I include this brief notice about Mrs Gosling’s “excellent quadrille Party” :

“The three drawing rooms were appropriated to dancing.

The supper was set out in the large bow banquetting-room, on the ground floor. There was an abundance of sparkling champaigne [sic], and fruits peculiar to the season…”

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Supersizers Go Regency

October 4, 2012 at 8:56 pm (entertainment, history, jane austen) (, , , , , , )

From their Country Estate, Giles Coren and Sue Perkins will teach us about life and living during the Regency.

Giles is a self-confessed “dandy”; Sue is his unattached sister.

The FOOD is the focus of the show.

One of the “receipt books” used: the Experienced English House-Keeper

A view of one of the rooms in this lovely Country Manor House.

And another view of another room.

Giles is channeling his inner Prince. (Note the pink hair curlers!)

The twosome visit the Georgian City of Bath.

And the pump rooms.

Yummy…

Back home, Sue is enjoying her latest acquisition: a piano forte piece composed by Herr Beethoven.

But she sure pines for a beau…

Giles, in London, gets into much trouble while hoping to find a husband for his sister.

Sue gets a day out…

and tonight an intimate dinner party; tomorrow a dance!

Although I’m a fan of the first two episodes I had seen — a Victorian era episode, and a Restoration era episode — I was a bit disappointed in their Regency Romp. A little too much channeling of Austen sequels? They’d have been less ‘campy’ if they’d read my Smith&Gosling diaries and letters!

Still, if you tune in you get to see how Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding fared – what White Soup looked like (not very white…) – and how tasty Syllabub could be after all the meat and cheese.

Supersizers Go… aired over three years (2007-2009) and features many different eras of cookery and costumes.

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British Art Research web

June 7, 2012 at 7:51 pm (fashion, history, research) (, , , , )

Have only recently visited this EXCEPTIONALLY useful website, but what a plethora of information. How I envy anyone in this field for having this resource!

See, for instance this upcoming conference on The Consumption and Dissemination of Dress, 1750-1850. Or Fashioning the Early Modern – at the V&A.

If anyone is interested in “pooling talents” and doing something similar for Regency England History Research, do let me know.

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Such a pretty picture

May 12, 2012 at 11:10 am (fashion, jane austen, people, portraits and paintings) (, , , , , )

A reader of Two Teens in the Time of Austen, SUSAN, has sent this photo. She adores this print — and who wouldn’t?! But she’s also curious to learn MORE about the picture.

Can other Two Teens readers help??

Of great interest is the Spencer jacket; the curled hair; the delicate gloves – one on, one off.

I am convinced — since it’s a print — that it must be based on some portrait or miniature. But by whom? Of whom?

Susan and I are all ears to hear more!

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Some “Jane Austen” Fans

October 20, 2011 at 7:47 am (fashion, history, jane austen, jasna, portraits and paintings, research) (, , , , , , , , , )

In my paper for the JASNA AGM (the Annual General Meeting of the Jane Austen Society of North America), I made mention of the FIRE SCREENS passed around the London household of the Ferrars family. They had been gifts — painted by Elinor Dashwood for her sister-in-law Fanny — and were now under scrutiny by the formidable Mrs Ferrars!

My comment, too, was under scrutiny, for I of course concluded that Elinor’s fire screens were painted and probably wood — though the more I thought about the 183os Princeton letter, with a trip up North for the Smiths (and Caroline Austen!), I considered a good bet also that the material was papier mâché. The Smiths had toured just such a factory (and Maria, the letter’s author, so wished to buy something for Mamma – but the price was evidently beyond her pocketbook that day).

My questioner insisted the screens were embroidered. I said I would look into it, though we settled then and there — thanks to an audience member with the book in hand — that Elinor’s was “painted” and therefore embroidery was quite doubtful. I have a feeling the annotated edition of S&S makes mention of embroidery, but I’d not looked for a copy of the book yet. Chapman makes no mention.

Now, my assumption was of a small pole screen:

These were made so that the “shield” could slide up and down the “shaft”, turn a bit left or right. The back has a “ring” that you tighten — so I assume they come off their pole. Lifted off the “screen” itself could easily be passed around the room, until it lands in the hands of Mrs Ferrars.

The clue may lie in the fact that they had to be “mounted”; if that does not indicate the pole — which usually was nicely turned, and showed an inventive base and feet, “mounted” may indicate being placed within a frame and having a handle attached. For my JASNA roommate Sally believes Elinor’s fire screens to have been hand-held, fan-style FACE SCREENS, as seen below.

Click on the image to visit the website — this 1809 fan is FASCINATING!

NB: I will say I don’t quite believe in their “wax-based” cosmetics theory for the prevalence of face screens. Try sitting near a ROARING, BLAZING fire: you face feels the effects rapidly – dries out the eyes and mouth. You, too, would be happy to have a “screen”. But how prevalent cosmetics were within the Smith/Gosling circle is another question for another blog post!

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Dress for Excess, Brighton

May 11, 2011 at 8:12 pm (british royalty, entertainment, fashion, news) (, , , , , , , , )

Author Charlotte Frost (see posts on her biography of Sir William Knighton) mentioned her hope of seeing this wonderful Regency-era exhibition of clothing at Brighton Pavilion: Dress for Excess. We await news from Charlotte on her visit!

In the meantime, looking for more information, a link was found at A Fashionable Frolick leading readers to Jennifer Rothrock‘s delightful behind-the-scenes look at this very exhibit (which runs until February 2012).

With my passport newly expired I feel exceptionally “homebound” now… Luckily are those within striking distance of Brighton!

(Hopefully) More later —

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Jane Austen Fashion: What Emma & Mary Wore?

February 23, 2011 at 10:26 pm (books, fashion, research) (, , , , , , )

When working on a book about the period 1815-17 — the teen years of a woman who ultimately marries into the Austen family — an important concern is to envision not only what my girls looked like but also the fashions they might have been wearing. The most extensive description Emma provides is of the court dress her mother and eldest sister wear when young Augusta was presented in 1817. Yet these girls undoubtedly were interested in fashion, and I like to think of them as looking over the very same Fashion Plates I find in Ackermann’s:

Described as an “Evening Dress,” this delicate creation is a design of Mrs. Bean of Albemarle-street. “This lady, since her visit to Paris, has incorporated in her dresses, in the style of French costume, all that is to be admired in the exuberant varieties which that country produces; and has moderated the same by a fancy governed by a chaste feeling peculiar to herself.”

The fashion plate’s original description is tantalizing: “A celestial blue crape frock, over a white satin slip, ornamented round the bottom with a deep border of tull or net lace, embroidered with shaded blue silks and chenille; short full sleeve, trimmed with tull or net lace; the dress trimmed entirely round the top, to correspond…. Slippers of blue satin or kid. White gloves of French kid.” Her jewelry is “Necklace of pearl; ear-drops and bracelets to correspond.”

The girl herself comes under discussion: “Hair parted in the centre of the forehead, confined in the Grecian style, and blended with flowers.”

Young Augusta was attending concerts and plays in 1815; I can imagine her in just such a dress. Will have to look through the letters and diaries to see if anyone made any mention of Mrs. Bean. Will update if I find anything!!

I’m interested in anything anyone might be able to tell about Mrs. Bean!

The Jane Austen Centre (Bath, England) has a nice description of another Mrs. Bean creation, written by Candice Hern.

Find all Ackermann’s Repository of Art volumes (from Internet Archive) on this blog.

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