Regency Bicentennial:   When Napoleon Made Wellington Dance the Flamenco

Two hundred years ago, yesterday, General, the Marquess of Wellington, led his troops into a battle which all his military knowledge and experience demanded he fight. That same knowledge warned him victory would be hard-won, if it came at all. But he knew he could not wait. Though there were vague reports trickling in from the north that Napoleon’s empire was crumbling, Wellington had no confirmation of that fact. Intelligence of advancing French troops was more reliable and required his immediate action.

Yet, a few days later, the news of an action taken by Napoleon would cause Wellington to dance …

Continue reading

Posted in On-Dits | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Culpeper’s Color Herbal, edited by David Potterton

A most pleasant and serendipitous discovery has provided the topic for this week’s article. While perusing the stacks at the library seeking a book for research on an upcoming article, I happened upon this book, mis-shelved so that it was next to the book I actually wanted. While browsing through it, I realized that not only is it lovely, it is a treasure trove of information for Regency authors. I knew I must share this charming find so that authors with an interest in herbal remedies will be aware of this useful reference.

And so, some of the delights of a colorful Culpeper …

Continue reading

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , , , , | 17 Comments

Dumb-Waiters:   Keepers of Secrets

The dumb-waiters which will be discussed today are the free-standing furniture pieces which originated in England in the early eighteenth century. [Author's Note:   The small box-like manual elevators used in many upscale homes are known in America as dumb-waiters, but in England they were known as service lifts.] The free-standing dumb-waiters were often delicate pieces which had their origins in the lavish dessert banquets of the upper classes in the early eighteenth century. By the turn of the nineteenth century, dumb-waiters could be found in the majority of the homes of the upper and middle classes, where many of them not only served wines and tasty treats but some also protected both ladies’ delicate complexions and their secrets.

From glass to wood, how dumb-waiters evolved to keep secrets …

Continue reading

Posted in Furnishings | Tagged , , , , | 13 Comments

The Tooth Mouse — Regency Tooth Fairy

Or Tooth Rat, or even Tooth Squirrel.     Depending upon where you lived.

Should a child loose one of their baby teeth during the Regency, there was as yet no tooth fairy to whisk it from under their pillow during the night, leaving a coin behind, in payment for the tooth. In fact, when it came to the milk teeth of children during the Regency, the concerns which occupied parents were much less mercenary and were focused on the health and well-being of their children.

Continue reading

Posted in Oddments | Tagged | 9 Comments

A Lock-Keeper’s Cottage

There were a whole host of cottages situated along the banks of the rivers and canals of England during the Regency, as they had been for decades before. These charming, often isolated cottages were the homes of the keepers of the locks on the waterways. One of these cottages might be the ideal setting for all or part of a Regency romance. Such a cottage would be a nice change of pace from a small house in a rural village or a secluded cottage in the country.

The lore of lock-keepers’ cottages …

Continue reading

Posted in Places | Tagged , , | 19 Comments

Frostiana by George Davis

Last month, I posted a pair of articles on the last Frost Fair ever to be held on the River Thames in London. During that fair, a number of printers set up on the frozen river to print and sell souvenirs of the event to fair-goers. One of those printers, George Davis, wrote, or had written, a small book which he entitled Frostiana. Some believe that he printed and sold many copies of that book at the Frost Fair of 1814. For several years, I sought a copy of Frostiana, both in local libraries and on the Internet, with no success. Then, only a few days ago, I happened upon a copy of it, in the most unlikely place.

Speculation on the true origins and a brief review of Frostiana, as well as how to get your own digital copy …

Continue reading

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , | 9 Comments

A "Timely" Tool for Regency Authors

Moonlight can be an important aspect of a romantic scene in a Regency novel. Moonlight was also critical during the Regency for night-time travel in the countryside. Few people would have ventured out on a journey of any length on a night without at least a partial moon. Most people preferred to travel long distances only by the light of a full moon. Of course, an author of fiction has the power to make the moon shine on command. But for those authors who are writing a story within a specific historical event or set of events, the more accuracy they can incorporate into their story, the better. Though most authors avoid using the names of the days of the week, again, those little touches can add additional realism to their story. And at the web site, all of that information, and more, is at your finger-tips.

A review of some of the most useful features of

Continue reading

Posted in Reviews | Tagged , , , | 15 Comments