Mar 312015

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

Today, when most of us have some kind of furnace or other form of central heating in our homes, a fireplace is a luxury. Often, a luxury we typically enjoy only on special occasions. For our Regency ancestors, during the winter months their fireplace might literally be the difference between life and death. Though the Romans had had a type of central heating which was used to heat their public baths and the homes of the wealthy, the principles were lost for centuries with the fall of the Empire. From the Middle Ages right through the Regency, the only way by which people were able to heat their homes was by a fire in the fireplace, until the second half of the nineteenth century.

As the source of the comfort of both heat and light, the fireplace was the focal point of a room. Over the centuries, a number of objects had been invented to maximize the heat it produced, while consuming the least amount of fuel. Other objects were developed to manage the fire itself, or to take advantage of its power. Some of these items are nearly unknown today and would most likely be overlooked by someone from the twenty-first century. Many of these fireplace furnishings would have been in use with the various fireplaces in a Regency building. In modern times, a grouping of some of these objects has often provided a valuable marker for cultural historians who study household furnishings. And so, some fascinating facts of fireplace furnishings …

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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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Jan 152015

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

Glorious Gothic:

Strawberry Hill by Paul Sandby, courtesy Wikipedia

Strawberry Hill by Paul Sandby, courtesy Wikipedia

An impressive display of carriages: Continue reading »

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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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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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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Aug 082012

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

In the opinion of many art historians, myself included, it was during the decade of the Regency that the sideboard reached the pinnacle of its design and craftsmanship. Regency sideboards were elegant, graceful, but highly functional furniture forms, not equaled before or since.

But this board at the side of the table had been in use for centuries before the decade of Regency and would continue in use right up to the present day. What was so special about the sideboard in the Regency?

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Jan 192012
George IV Mahogany Canterbury

Regency Furniture can be a real puzzle. What did they do with it?

Can you answer The Beau Monde’s  questions about furniture? eg  What is a Canterbury? What does it do?

Have you ever begun to research one thing and curiosity leads you to other places, people, or objects? How good is your Regency era knowledge?

Bonhams Auction is selling a Mahogany Canterbury, plus lots of other intriguing items sure to stir the imagination of all Regency romance authors. Some items could certainly be used to provide comic relief.

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May 302011

We hope you enjoy Part 2 of Thomas Hope & the Regency style, as the Beau Monde continues to discover parts of the Victoria and Albert Museum all Regency era fans will love.
Thomas Hope’s startling juxtaposition of styles included Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Indian elements, as well as his own version of the French Empire style. Classical sculpture and vases were displayed alongside modern paintings and sculpture. Most striking of all was the inventive and exotic furniture that Hope designed specifically for the house.

Greek krater-style copper vase patinated to imitate bronze, designed by Thomas Hope, England, 1802-03. Museum no. M.33-1983

Greek krater-style copper vase patinated to imitate bronze, designed by Thomas Hope, England, 1802-03. Museum no. M.33-1983





‘The Statue Gallery’, Plate 1, ‘Household Furniture & Interior Decoration’, by Thomas Hope, London, 1807. NAL Pressmark 57.Q.1'The Statue Gallery', Plate 1, 'Household Furniture & Interior Decoration', by Thomas Hope, London, 1807. NAL Pressmark 57.Q.1




‘The Vase Room’, Plate 4, ‘Household Furniture & Interior Decoration’, by Thomas Hope, London, UK, 1807. NAL Pressmark 57.Q.1'The Vase Room', Plate 1, 'Household Furniture & Interior Decoration', by Thomas Hope, London, UK, 1807. NAL Pressmark 57.Q.1





'The Aurora Room', Plate 7, 'Household Furniture & Interior Decoration', by Thomas Hope, London, UK, 1807. NAL Pressmark 57.Q.1

‘The Aurora Room’, Plate 7, ‘Household Furniture & Interior Decoration’, by Thomas Hope, London, UK, 1807. NAL Pressmark 57.Q.1





The Egyptian Room
The Egyptian Room was one of the most inventive interiors of its date in Europe. Here Hope displayed his belief in the importance of the ancient Egyptians to the origins of western culture.Mingling genuine pieces of Egyptian sculpture with exotic furniture designed by himself in an Egyptian manner, he also exploited his novel colour theories. The walls and furniture, he explained, were in the ‘pale yellow and bluish green of the Egyptian pigments, relieved by masses of black and of gold.’

The Statue Gallery
In the Statue Gallery, Hope placed his finest pieces of antique sculpture. The design was austere, with top-lighting, a coffered ceiling and yellow-painted walls. To avoid ‘interfering’ with the contour and purity of the white marble statues, Hope left the walls ‘perfectly plain’. Although Hope believed that many of the sculptures were Greek, they are now recognised as later Roman versions. In the past, critics decried these works as copies, but today Roman sculpture is seen as having value in its own right, as do the interventions of 18th century restorers. These restorations, seen in many of Hope’s antique statues, were the work of dealers catering for the Grand Tour market.

The Vase Room
There were four Vase Rooms at Duchess Street, in which Hope displayed his vast collection of Greek figured vases. The vases, he wrote, ‘relate chiefly to the Bacchanalian rites connected with the representations of mystic death and regeneration’. He therefore designed shelves and cabinets decorated with carved heads of the bearded Bacchus. Also, since many vases had been discovered in tombs near Naples, one room had ‘recesses, imitating the ancient Columbaria, or receptacles of Cinerary urns’. The exhibition features an interior that evokes the Vase Rooms at Duchess Street. The bronze lamp and mahogany display cupboard in this recreated interior came from the Third Vase Room, where furnishings ‘of a quiet hue and of a sepulchral cast’ matched the vases.

The Aurora Room
This theatrical interior was one of Hope’s most inventive and colourful creations at Duchess Street. Mirrors reflected the central feature – the statue of Aurora, goddess of dawn. The walls were hung with ‘satin curtains … of the fiery hue which fringes the clouds just before sunrise’, below ‘a ceiling of cooler sky blue.’ The colours used in the display are an attempt to reproduce faithfully the original decorative scheme. They are also based on surviving contemporary rooms, including those created by Sir John Soane, who visited Duchess Street in 1802.

Mar 132011


Regency Gaming Table

Here is a thing of beauty! This Regency gaming table went on sale as part of the contents of Ashdown House, auctioned off at Sothebys last year. As you can see from the chequerboard top, it was designed for games such as chess or draughts but could also be used for cards games like faro, piquet and whist. If you click on the picture on the left you will see that the squares contain pictures of country scenes and that the surround also shows leaves and rosettes and flowers. It’s exquisite!

Many gaming tables I have seen are made of wood, mahogany being the most popular choice, with brass decoration and rosewood veneers. They could double up to serve as a tea table, a writing desk or even a needlework table. Some of them open up so that the cards – or needlework – can be stored in the space beneath. I’ve seldom seen any as pretty as this one, though, and would gladly give it house room. I hope you like it too!