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:

The care and upbringing of foundlings:

A London walk:

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Nov 102014

Regency romance author, Ann Lethbridge, whose new book, Captured Countess, will be released in December, often writes about Regency fashions at her blog. During the course of her research, she discovered that in the fall of 1813, there were gowns named for a grand fete which had been held that summer at Vauxhall Gardens. The fete was given to celebrate the great victory in Spain which had been won by General, the Marquis of Wellington over the French forces in the Peninsula.

In today’s article, Ann tells us about the grand fete given to celebrate Wellington’s victory at Vittoria. It sounds like quite a crush, at least for some of those in attendance. Perhaps the event might be just the setting for a few scenes in one of your upcoming Regency romances.

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May 032014

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

It is during the years of the Regency that the popularity of these two musical instruments intersect, one rising, the other waning. In fact, many of the more affluent homes during this period had both keyboard instruments. But though they are somewhat similar in appearance, they are very different in terms of their construction, their "touch" when being played, and the quality and volume of the sounds which they can produce.

A number of musical instrument makers produced both types of instruments during these years. Many notable composers composed music for both instruments, including Bach, Mozart, Handel, Haydn, Beethoven, and Scarlatti. Yet, by the time the Regency was over, the pianoforte had won out over the harpsichord. The victory was so complete that vast numbers of harpsichords were destroyed all over Europe. In the Paris Conservatory, for example, they were smashed and used as firewood.

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Mar 252014

In today’s article, Susanna Ives, most recently author of Wicked Little Secrets, gives us some insights into the education of young women two centuries ago. Compare the usual course of study which was typically provided to these young ladies to the education of young gentlemen which was shared with us earlier this month by Cheryl Bolen.

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Dec 072013

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

Over the years, I have read many Regency novels set in Scotland, or which included Scottish characters. And yet, I have not found any mention of cairngorms in the pages of those novels, despite the fact that they are the very rock of Scotland itself. What happened to the cairngorms?

The stony story of the cairngorms of Scotland …

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Jun 072013

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

The Glass Armonica.   Franklin always said that of all of his many inventions, this musical instrument, which could produce the pure dulcet tones of an angelic choir, was his very favorite. He got the idea while in London, as a representative of the Pennsylvania Legislature to Parliament in the late 1750s. He attended a concert at which music was played on a set of water-tuned wine glasses. He was captivated by the sound, but having an inventive turn of mind, he sought a more efficient and convenient method by which to produce it

Franklin introduced his invention in England in 1762, less than two years after George III had become king. Though he had originally dubbed it the "glassychord," he later changed the name of this instrument to the "glass armonica." In England it was also known as the "glass harp" or "musical glasses." Like Franklin himself, this instrument was very well received and it is estimated that more than four hundred musical works were composed for it. Over the course of the next seventy years at least five thousand instruments were constructed and played throughout Europe and America. Yet, by the death of George IV, it had almost completely disappeared from the musical scene.

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Apr 112013

Regina Scott, Regency romance author, spent some time in Washington, D. C. during a cold snap. The sudden appearance of a plethora of hats in the city prompted her to think about the hats and bonnets worn by so many of those who lived during the Regency. In today’s article, Regina shares her thoughts about Regency hats.

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Aug 172012

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

Well, not the whole ballroom, just the sound of the music which was heard there as elegantly attired couples danced the night away. Have you ever wondered what it might have sounded like to attend a ball in Regency England? Not the overly orchestrated dance numbers which embellish films of the Regency era, particularly those from the pen of Jane Austen, such as Pride and Prejudice, Emma, or Sense and Sensibility. Would you like to hear the dance music of the Regency as Jane Austen herself might have heard it? Then, you might like to treat yourself to a privately released CD, entitled The Regency Ballroom, from a group of musicians who specialize in historic dance music.

I recently ordered a copy of this CD for myself and I am so pleased with it that I want to let others in on the "secret."

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Jul 182012

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

… like chalk-figures drawn on ballroom floors
to be danced out before morning!

And so they would be danced out, never to be seen again. But while they lasted, they enhanced the ballroom decorations for the evening, amused and/or charmed those who would soon dance across the surface of those ballroom floors, even as those same dancers consigned the lovely images to oblivion while they enjoyed themselves.

While researching the details of the grand Carlton House Fête which the Prince Regent hosted in June 1811, I finally stumbled upon the truth of the use of chalk in ballrooms. On the handful of previous occasions on which I had encountered a reference to the practice, it was stated that the doors of the ballroom were chalked. It was not until, during the course of this last round of research, that I finally discovered that those references could all be traced back to one incorrect source. In actual fact, it was the floors of the ballroom which were chalked. As I pursued that very thin line of inquiry, I was eventually able to piece together enough details about this delightfully ephemeral art form to realize that it was a frequent practice for notable Regency balls. And now, the chalk on the floor …

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Mar 212012

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

The English wake during the Regency had nothing to do with the ceremony which many people in westernized nations today observe in honor and memory of someone recently departed. In fact, wakes in England by the early nineteenth century were considered by many such profane and unruly events that there were many efforts being made to suppress them completely. By the time the former Prince Regent, George IV, died in 1830, at least a third of the wakes in England had been abolished or severely curtailed. Few survived past the end of the reign of his niece, Queen Victoria.

The origins and history of the English wake …

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Dec 172011

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

No, this book is not about Jane Austen’s Mrs. Hurst from Pride and Prejudice. The Mrs. Hurst who lent her name to the title of this delightful volume was a real woman, who lived during the Regency. Her home was in a small English village in Buckinghamshire called Newport Pagnell, and she loved to dance. She was captured in full swing one evening at her home in a charming watercolor by a young friend, Diana Sperling.

The full title of this book is Mrs Hurst Dancing & Other Scenes from Regency Life 1812 – 1823. I stumbled across it in my local library and was immediately enchanted. This volume contains full-size reproductions of a number of watercolor sketches made by a young woman called Diana Sperling during the years of the Regency and just beyond. Miss Sperling also wrote witty explanatory captions for most of these watercolors which gives a real flavor of the daily life of a family of the minor gentry during the Regency.

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Mar 142011

The Beau Monde invites you into the Regency World of author Lesley-Anne McLeod, one of our original chapter members, as she talks about dance instructions from Button and Whitaker, St. Paul’s Churchyard, London.

Please stay and share a few dances at the Beau Monde.

In The Ladies’ Fashionable Repository for 1811, I found a few weeks ago a page titled “Button and Whitaker’s New Country Dances, for 1811”. It included some twenty-four dances, listing titles and brief instructions on the new movements.

The Spanish Cloak–Turn your partner round with the right hand, the second couple do the same, lead down the middle, up again, turn rouSt. Paul’s Churchyard had been throughout the 1700’s and into the mid 1800’s a center of musical retailing, along with its bookshops and book publishing. The reason for this, according to Sir John Hawkins (in his book The History of Music) was that “the service at the Cathedral drew together, twice a day, all the lovers of music in London..”

Button and Whitaker frequently published such collections of new dances. They also published booklets such as New Instructions for the German Flute, containing the easiest & most modern methods for learning to play, etc.; Pocket Collection of Favourite Marches; and Dr. Clarke’s Arrangement of Handel. Other of their titles included: 1816 Companion to the Ballroom; “Selection of dances, reels, and waltzes for the Pfte., Harpsichord, Violin, or German Flute”, No. 8,; and Opera of THE LORD OF THE MANOR, Written by C. Dibdin, Jun. It seems to have been a sizable operation, with a wide and voluminous production of sheet music.

Button and Whitaker also published a version of Thomas Moore’s Celebrated Irish Melodies, arranged for the Harp or Pianoforte; with introductionry, intermediate, and concluding Symphonies, composed by John Whitaker.

It appears Mr. Whitaker did a considerable amount of composing; one advertisment mentioned: “Paddy Carey; a celebrated Air; composed by Whitaker. Arranged as a Rondo for the Piano-forte…”

They also sold instruments. One mention of a boxwood clarinet by Button and Whitaker is still current on the internet. I’ve not been able to discover more information about their instrument sales as yet.nd.

Cheltenham Waltz–Turn three with the first lady, the same with the first gentleman, lead down the middle, four couple up again, and swing corners.

The dances and their names were charming but who, I wondered, were Button and Whitaker? Research was required–I never find it a hardship!

Button and Whitaker, I discovered, were among the premier music publishers and musical instrument sellers of Regency England. They were located in St. Paul’s Churchyard, according to Frank Kidson, author of the article Handel’s Publisher from Oxford University Press:

“At the North West corner, …was in 1731 located Peter Thompson at the “Violin and Hautboy.” The Thompson family with their successors, Button and Whitaker, held the business here until about 1830.”