Lucia:   A Venetian Life in the Age of Napoleon

This book, as have been so many which I have reviewed here over the years, was a serendipitous find while I was doing flower research for my debut novel, Deflowering Daisy. I actually read its quasi-sequel first, the search for one of this lady’s roses. More of that anon. But it was the search for a single rose over the course of two centuries which is what made me want to read Lucia’s story. The majority of my Regency research has been very much focused on England during that time. Lucia’s biography was incredibly enlightening for me, since it is the life of a young woman from a patrician Venetian family who lived during the decade of the English Regency, on the Continent, from Italy to Austria to France.

Why I found Lucia’s biography so rich and so compelling . . .

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Some Charming Abcedariums of the Regency

For those of you who may not be familiar with the term, abcedarium is taken from Latin, and by the last decades of the eighteenth century in England, was certainly the most highbrow of the words which denoted a book or list of the letters of the alphabet. These alphabetical word books or lists were also known as abcee, abcie or absey books, and were, in most cases, an elementary primer for the teaching of the basics of spelling, reading, and in some cases, even writing. There are versions of these letter books and lists which date back to the medieval era, but some of the most charming and engaging of these books were published just prior to or during the Regency.

Some options for teaching a young child their letters in Regency England . . .

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Regency Bicentennial:   Wellington Moves Into Pauline’s Palace

Two hundred years ago, today, the Duke of Wellington moved in to the Palais Borghese in Paris. It was the opulent Paris town home of Princess Pauline Borghese, the youngest sister of the recently deposed French Emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte. As was his practice, Wellington had not commandeered the property of the conquered nation as other leaders might have done. He had directed that the magnificent property be purchased from its notably notorious owner, for use as the British Embassy in Paris. A few days after final negotiations were completed, the Duke moved into Pauline’s palace. Though Wellington spent little time there as ambassador, the grand mansion once known as the Hôtel de Charost became, and remains to this day, the heart of the British Embassy in France.

A brief history of the Palais Borghese and its second incarnation as the British Embassy in Paris . . .

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Posted in On-Dits | Tagged , , , , , | 11 Comments

Announcing Kathryn Kane — Romance

Today, I am pleased to announce the debut of my new blog, Kathryn Kane — Romance. This new blog will be devoted to all aspects of my favorite recreational activity, romance novels. Many of you may be wondering why I need another blog when I already have The Regency Redingote, which I have been publishing for more that six years. But the Redingote was created to focus primarily on historical snippets of the English Regency for the edification of Regency romance authors and their readers. I have come to the conclusion that I want to keep it that way.

For more details, please visit Kathryn Kane — Romance.

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Fireplaces During Regency Summers

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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Posted in Garniture | Tagged , | 12 Comments

Shakespeare’s King Lear Banned in the Regency

No one who lived in Great Britain during the Regency would have been able to attend a performance of the play considered by many to be William Shakespeare’s finest tragedy, King Lear. Curiously, even if they had been able to enjoy a performance of that play during the Regency, they would not have seen a tragedy, for as it had for over a century, the play would have had a happy ending. Perhaps adding insult to injury, those who read the version of the play in Thomas Bowdler’s The Family Shakespeare, would have found it stripped of many of the words and phrases which were considered inappropriate by its editors.

Why very few in Regency England knew King Lear as Shakespeare wrote it . . .

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Teapoys:   Their Regency Evolution

Despite the fact that the Regency lasted less than ten years, there were some unique objects developed during the space of that decade. Sadly, like the harp-lute and the toy panorama, the teapoy is now almost completely lost to history. Today, very few people are even aware of the existence of this very useful piece of furniture. Yet, during the Regency and well into the Victorian era, few ladies in the best households would have ever considered hosting a tea party without a teapoy by their side.

How smouch forced the teapoy out of the garden and into the drawing room . . .

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Posted in Furnishings | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments