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 082015
 

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

Today, paper hats are most often worn for a bit of fun at parties, or are made for a child by parent or grandparent for some make-believe playtime. But during the Regency, paper hats were regularly worn by working men in a number of trades. In fact, the wearing of such hats had only begun a few years before the Prince of Wales became Regent. It was during that second decade of the nineteenth century that the use of these hats became much more widespread among an expanding number of craftsmen and tradesmen. But these hats were not worn for fun, they had a much more serious purpose. It should be noted that the wearing of these hats seem to have been confined to English working men.

When paper hats were for work, not play …

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Apr 122015
 

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

Last month I catalogued the different types of fireplace equipment which might have been found alongside Regency fireplaces in all the rooms of a house, except the kitchen. This week, I shall focus on kitchen fireplaces and the many unique devices and gadgets which had been invented to customize those fireplaces for the preparation of food in times past. Though you may not think so, most of these devices were considered the latest thing in labor-saving cooking when they were first introduced, regardless of the fact that a number of them look like instruments of torture, better suited to a dungeon than a kitchen.

And now, the sometimes confounding cooking contraptions with which Regency cooks could contend …

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Mar 232015
 

Regina Jeffers is the author of a number of Regency romances and Austen-inspired novels. She was moved to write this article due to a power outage. There’s nothing like doing without electricity to give one a feel for what light–or the lack of it–was like in the Regency era.

~ * ~

Today, I have dealt with another power outage in my area, and I have privately cursed how dark my home is without the power of electricity. I have had to go without lights, TV, the internet, phone service, etc., and this modern-day “deprivation” has set me to thinking about the days of the Regency era when the almighty CANDLE ruled the home.

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Sep 192014
 

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

Though I have not yet read a Regency novel in which an orrery has been introduced, these complex and often exquisite objects were very popular during that decade. Many cultured gentlemen, or gentlemen with pretensions to culture, would have had an orrery on display in their library or book room, often alongside a terrestrial globe, usually paired with a celestial globe.

A brief history of the orrery and some personal recollections of these elegant devices …

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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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Jun 232014
 

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

Last week I wrote about Chinese paper-hangings in the Regency, and mentioned that one set of these very expensive papers may have had special significance in the life of a young girl. In 1806, the Prince of Wales made a gift of a full set of Chinese paper-hangings to the mother of a woman who would later become his mistress. However, the facts seem to suggest this gift was actually made in an effort to gain custody of a child in order to please his current inamorata.

How a set of Chinese paper-hangings may have been an attempt to sway the choice of who had custody of the little girl who gave the Prince his nickname …

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Jun 172014
 

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

Last month I wrote a general article about paper-hangings in the Regency. That was the first in a series of articles I have planned on various aspects of paper-hangings. In this article, I am going to focus on one of the more expensive and fanciful genres of paper-hangings, those imported from China, and the imitations of those papers made in Europe.

The Prince Regent was very fond of Chinese papers, and used them lavishly in his residences. And, of course, only the very best, and therefore the most expensive, papers would do for him. It was one of the reasons he was so heavily in debt for all of his various building and decorating projects. Following the Prince’s lead, Chinese papers began to appear in a number of great houses across England, and retained a certain popularity even into the Regency.

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Jun 092014
 

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

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 …

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May 192014
 

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

Certainly not during the years of the English Regency. And yet, in the past couple of years, I have read perhaps a dozen novels set during the Regency in which characters select a decanter containing their alcoholic beverage of choice from a tantalus. And never once did any of these characters use a key to liberate their preferred libation from this devious device.

So, what is a tantalus, and when did it make its debut on the stage of English domestic furnishings?

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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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Apr 132014
 

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

Well, by now, it might be. But there were no grandfather clocks anywhere during the Regency because the song by which they acquired their name had yet to be written. However, by the beginning of the Regency, nearly every affluent household, and some more prosperous middle-class households, were in possession of a very expensive, free-standing clock in a tall wooden case resembling a coffin.

This symbol of prosperity would begin to loose its status even before the debut of the song which changed its name. By the beginning of the reign of William IV, brother of the erstwhile Prince Regent, the Industrial Revolution had set its sights on that most complicated device, the clock. From about 1830, most clocks were no longer made by hand, they were made by machine. Other technological factors had also come into play which reduced the consequence of these once purposeful clocks.

The development and importance of the long-case clock during the Regency and how its name was changed …

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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 302014
 

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

Which is not to say that there were not many walls in many buildings throughout the Regency which were not covered with decorative paper. But not one scrap of that paper was called "wallpaper" during the Regency for the simple reason that the word "wallpaper" did not come into use until 1827, long after the Regent had become King George IV.

What were these papers called, who made them, how were they made, how were they used and where were they sold?

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Nov 232013
 

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

Though it is seldom, if ever, done today, there was a time when grand rooms in fine homes were designed so that the carpet on the floor mirrored the design painted or carved on the ceiling. This practice had begun in Europe by the mid-seventeenth century, but it reached its peak in England in the late eighteenth century. However, the practice did continue during the Regency, which is, of course, why it finds mention here.

The whys and hows of matching ceilings and carpets …

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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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Sep 202013
 

Do you have a home office where you do most of your writing? Do you sometimes wonder how other authors set up their home offices? Then, today, you are in luck. Cheryl Bolen, award-winning Regency romance author, tells us how she has set up her home office. Those of you who are not committed technophiles will find some very clever, but functional, low-tech solutions in Cheryl’s article.

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Sep 122013
 

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

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 …

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