Jul 062016

This post originally appeared on Anna Bradley‘s blog on November 23, 2014. Reposted with permission from the author.

Historical Romance and the English Country Home

Montisfont Abbey, Hampshire, England.

Montisfont Abbey, Hampshire, England

Rolling greens lawns, formal gardens and sultry conservatories—is it any wonder so many Regency romance novelists choose the English country house as the backdrop for their love story? There are few settings more romantic, and, given the strict rules of propriety between gentlemen and ladies in Regency England, even fewer where a hero and heroine can pursue their lusts and loves with such freedom.

It’s tempting to believe, Continue reading »

Jul 172015

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

In the damp cold of a Regency winter, a fire burning cheerily in the grate was a most welcome sight. But in the warm months of the summer, when no fire was wanted, the empty, dark cavern of a fireplace was considered quite an eyesore. Even more so because, for centuries, the focal point of most rooms was the hearth, filled with fire, essential to life in cold climates. Our Regency ancestors had several techniques which they employed to maintain an attractive appearance around the focal point of their rooms during the months when a fire was not needed.

How fire was replaced on the hearth in Regency summers . . .

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Jun 302015

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

Well, not in the same bed, but she did spend some years in his bedroom. She probably didn’t mind, since she had also spent a number of years in the royal bath of a French king three hundred years previously. But neither of her highly-placed gentlemen friends were able to save her from many years of obscurity, including right through the decade of the Regency. And yet, it was her association with Bonaparte which triggered an event a hundred years after she left his bedroom which catapulted her to the great fame she enjoys today.

A few pieces of the puzzle which is the enigma of the Mona Lisa

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May 192015

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

In the West Riding of Yorkshire, about four and a half miles east of the city of Leeds, stands a Jacobean-era country house which has an important link to the Regency. The house, called Temple Newsam, stands on a large estate which has a history stretching back to Roman times. A Roman road connecting Castelford with Adel ran across the property, and the mound which remains of this ancient "street" can still be seen on the north side of the estate. In the early middle ages it was on this property that the Knights Templar built a preceptory, or complex of buildings, which housed a provincial community of their order. It was this preceptory which gave Temple Newsam its name. Here the members of the community worked the land to sustain themselves and to contribute to the support of the Templars. The preceptory is now gone, as is the original manor house, built by Thomas, Baron Darcy, a nobleman beheaded by Henry VIII in 1538, when he rebelled against the dissolution of the monasteries. The property was seized by the Crown after Darcy’s death, and Henry gave it to his niece, Margaret, Countess of Lennox. Thus it became the property of the Earls of Lennox. In that same manor house was born Lord Darnley, who became the ill-fated husband of Mary Queen of Scots, and father of James I of England.

After the death of Lord Darnley, who was the eldest son of the Earl of Lennox, the property passed to his only son, King James I. In the first year of his reign in England, James granted the property to Ludovic Stewart, the second Duke of Lennox. In 1622, the Duke sold the property to Sir Arthur Ingram. In about 1630, with the exception of the part of the house which contained the room in which Lord Darnley had been born, the old manor house was mostly pulled down and rebuilt in red brick. That is the core of the Temple Newsam House which stands today. In 1661, Sir Arthur’s grandson, Henry Ingram, was created Viscount Irwin, (sometimes listed as Irvine), in the Scottish peerage, for his loyalty to King Charles I. There were nine Viscounts Irwin, the last, Charles, died in 1778, leaving five daughters, but no sons.

So, what is the Regency connection to this historic property?

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May 122015

So many articles this month! I hope you find some of them to be of interest.

Gillray-very slippy weatherThe prodigiously talented Gillray: http://18thcand19thc.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/james-gillray-prince-of-caricaturists.html

The care and upbringing of foundlings: http://www.thehistoryoflondon.co.uk/thomas-coram-and-the-foundling-hospital/

A London walk: https://londonhistorians.wordpress.com/2015/03/30/footsteps-of-soane-ii/

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Jan 152015

Assembly Rooms is a collection of links to blogs and articles of interest to lovers of the Regency Era.

Glorious Gothic: http://www.regencyhistory.net/2015/01/strawberry-hill-horace-walpoles-gothic.html

Strawberry Hill by Paul Sandby, courtesy Wikipedia

Strawberry Hill by Paul Sandby, courtesy Wikipedia

An impressive display of carriages: http://www.regencyhistory.net/2014/10/the-national-trust-carriage-museum-at.html Continue reading »

Jul 182014

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

Over the course of many years, I have had occasion to visit and/or study a number of historic buildings. Many of these structures were built prior to or during the English Regency, and thus the design and construction of their windows would have been known during that decade. Most buildings today incorporate windows which are downright dull and boring when compared with the complexity of windows to be found in Regency buildings. In the hope that one or another of these idiosyncratic window treatments might one day feature in a novel with a Regency setting, I offer some of the more interesting here.

And so, secrets of sash windows for the edification Regency authors and their readers …

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Apr 212014

On 1 April 2014, Regina Scott released her most recent Regency romance, The Husband Campaign. Today, she shares her research into the art education which was considered proper for young ladies, including the future queen of England, in the early nineteenth century. As Regina explains, options for expressing themselves in painting were very limited for the young women of the Regency, and continued to be for many decades thereafter.

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Feb 252014

Though it no longer stands, during the Regency, Grosvenor House held one of the finest collections of paintings in all of England. In today’s article, Regency romance author, Angelyn Schmid, shares her research into this remarkable house and the extraordinarily wealthy family that owned it, and the surrounding property. The question is, once you have read Angelyn’s article, would you want to live in this house?

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Jan 192014

Regency romance author, Ann Lethbridge, whose most recent book, Falling for the Highland Rogue, won the Romantic Times Knight in Shining Silver (KISS) Award, today tells us about Sir John Soane, a prominent Regency architect. She shares important information about Soane’s working style and provides images of some of his more significant buildings.

Might Sir John Soane or his buildings figure in one of your next novels?

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Nov 192013

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

How many of us would notice the proportions of any room we might walk into today? Even if the room shouted out its dimensions as we crossed the threshold? If it did, would we care? Yet, many people in the Regency, especially those among the beau monde, would have been well-aware of the proportions of a certain type of room, typically found only in the grand town houses and the great houses on country estates.

The axioms and arithmetic of cube rooms …

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Nov 112013

The whole point of a romance novel is the happily-ever-after, which, of course, culminates in the marriage of the hero and the heroine. Today, Regina Scott, Regency romance author and Beau Monde past President, tells us about some of the churches in London which would have been available during the Regency for that joyous ceremony.

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Jul 242013

One of the most elegant of the eighteenth-century private mansions in London was Spencer House. Built by one of the richest men in the realm, Spencer House was more palace than house, with interior decor which must have roused the envy of many who passed through its doors. Though the house is more than two centuries old, it has been purchased and restored by a wealthy organization which now makes it open to the public. Today, Cheryl Bolen, best-selling Regency romance author, takes us on a tour of this grand London home.

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Apr 152013

A Regency Bicentennial cross-post from The Regency Redingote, originally published in April 2011:

For Henry Bone, 15 April 1811 was a red letter day. But for the bank of Marsh, Sibbald, Stracey & Fauntleroy, it was a black day indeed. Over £2,000 shifted from one end of Berners Street to the other that day, and very nearly shuttered the bank forever. It is possible the events of this day also led one of the bank’s officers into a life of clandestine crime which, when it was exposed, would ultimately end with his execution.

How an artist from Cornwall rocked the foundations of a London bank, two hundred years ago, today.

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Feb 102013

Today, Angelyn Schmid, author of Notorious Match, discusses garden rotundas similar to the Temple of Diana, which is situated on the grounds of the fictional estate in her story. Regency gardens are always such wonderful settings for romantic encounters between the hero and heroine. Angelyn explains how these gardens were laid out and enjoyed by those lucky enough to have access to such "natural" beauty.

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Nov 212012

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

At leisure, then, I viewed, from day to day,
The spectacles within doors, — birds and beasts
Of every nature, and strange plants convened
From every clime; and, next, those sights that ape
The absolute presence of reality,
Expressing, as in mirror, sea and land,
And what earth is, and what she has to show.

William Wordsworth
The Prelude
1805 — Book 7, Lines 245 -251

The "mirror" to which Wordsworth refers was the Claude mirror, an optical device used by many artists and devotees of the picturesque during the Romantic period, which includes the decade of the Regency.

Wordsworth did not approve of the use of either the Claude mirror or the Claude glass, both of which rendered views of the natural world in a manner he considered unnatural. But both of these devices had been popular in the later part of the eighteenth century and continued to be so in the first decades of the nineteenth century.

So just what are Claude glasses and mirrors?

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Nov 132012

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

For nearly two and a half centuries, the stunning achievement of the Amber Room stood as one of the world’s most exquisite works of art. Conceived and originally constructed in Prussia, it was soon thereafter presented to one of the most enlightened and forward-thinking of the Russian Tsars. There it was expanded and enhanced by his successors until it ranked as one of the wonders of the world and a powerful symbol of the glory of Mother Russia. It reached the apotheosis of its design and ornamentation scant decades before the Regency, and was famous across the Continent, indeed, the world, as a treasure beyond price. It survived Bonaparte and his invasion of Russia, yet like the Royal Hanoverian Creams, what Napoleon could not destroy, the Nazis ultimately did. But during the Regency, visitors to Russia with entrée into royal circles would have had the opportunity to behold this magnificent masterpiece.

The Amber Room, from its conception to the Regency …

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