About

History, particularly English history, has fascinated me since I first saw The Six Wives of Henry VIII and Elizabeth R on PBS’s Masterpiece Theatre, many years ago. So long ago, in fact, that Alistair Cooke was the host and the theme music was still Mouret’s Rondeau, performed by Collegium Musicum de Paris.

Shortly after my exposure to Tudor times on Masterpiece Theater, I ran across my first Georgette Heyer novel, Beauvallet, set in the Elizabethan era. I soon sought out more of her novels, and discovered the English Regency. Without doubt, a much more civilized age, even if fewer buckles were swashed! It was through reading Heyer that I ultimately encountered Jane Austen, and was thoroughly enchanted.

My undergraduate and post-graduate studies focused on English social and cultural history with a concentration on the period of the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries. I did also study Tudor and Stuart English history, only to be convinced those were times in which I most definitely did not want to live. The Regency will do very nicely for me, thank you very much!

After completing my graduate studies, I spent time as a both a museum and historic house curator. I thoroughly enjoyed my work, but it was extremely demanding and time consuming, leaving little time for a social, or any other kind of life. I also soon discovered the field did not pay well and there were few opportunities for advancement. Fortunately, I was able to shift gears and I now manage testing of educational software for an international publishing company.

However, I have not abandoned my historical studies, now they are simply self-directed, and at my own pace. I focus primarily on the social and cultural history of life in Regency England, particularly those esoteric topics which are ignored by historians of the "big issues" of history. You will find the results of my research in the articles posted here. Reading of novels with a Regency setting is intermingled with my historical study. Since I am periodically irritated by the blatant historical inaccuracies in those novels, this is also my venue to attempt to set the record straight. I like to think that Georgette Heyer, a most meticulous researcher, would appreciate my efforts. I hope you will, as well.


© 2008 – 2014
Kathryn Kane, Kalligraph

Complete Copyright Statement

36 Responses to About

  1. Hi Kathryn,
    I see you have placed a link to my ‘Prinny’s Taylor’ blog on your site.
    Many thanks!
    I will be pleased to link back to your site from mine in return.
    Yr Humble & Obdt Servt,
    Charles

    • Kathryn Kane says:

      Thank you for your link, but more importantly, thank you for all your hard work in researching and writing about the life your ancestor, Louis Bazalgette, who was also tailor to the Prince of Wales.

      I was happy to add a link to your blog in my blogroll, since the whole point of The Regency Redingote is to share information on life in Regency England. Your blog is a great resource for those want to know more about both fashion and the business of tailoring at that time.

      I am sure all of us who are interested in the social history of the Regency are eagerly awaiting the publication of your book. I will be watching for the publication date to be posted at your blog. Good Luck!

      • athabascastation says:

        Just asking, Kathryn, but if you would like to read a draft, if only to check it for historical accuracy, please let me know. It not fully finished but I’d really like some feedback. I’m just asking but don’t feel any obligation!

  2. Dear Ms. Kane,

    I have taken the liberty of adding a link to Regency Redingote at my website, which you may find at http://www.myparticularfriend.com/links/austen/blogs.html.

    If you would like the link removed, I shall promptly do so.

    And may I add what a useful site this is. I found it while looking into the matter of Regency soap. And then I was lost for a very long time before I got back to writing.

    Jennifer Petkus

    • Kathryn Kane says:

      I am honored that you have added a link to the Redingote at your site. I am also pleased to know you have found it useful, as that is my intent for the articles which I post here.

      I hope, in turn, that you have no objection to my having added My Particular Friend to my blog roll. I am thoroughly intrigued by the idea of the “collision” of the worlds of Jane Austen and Sherlock Holmes, as I am a devotee of both.

      I wish you much success with your writing!

      Regards,

      Kat

  3. Kathryn Kane says:

    Dear Athabasca Station:

    Charles, is that you? If so, and you are asking if I will read a draft of your book about Prinny’s Taylor, yes, I would be honored to do so. But I must warn you, I was a proof-reader in college, and I will not be able to resist calling out the typos, too, if there might be any. ;-)

    You can get my email address from my very first post, in the last paragraph. I do not post a fully distinguished email address, as I wish to defeat spam harvesters, but I am sure you can figure it out.

    =^..^=

  4. Briony Spandler says:

    Dear Kathryn
    I am a graphic designer and illustrator. I am working on an exciting new project for a range of ‘posh’ chocolate! My client is an importer of fine foods in Hull.

    I have read your pages about the drinking and making of chocolate in the Regency Period and found them extremely inspiring!

    I am researching the history of the origins of chocolate in the North of England, and particularly the import of Cocoa into Hull, as a commodity in the 18th and early 19th centuries. I am pretty sure that cocoa beans (cacao nuts as they were referred to, I believe) were imported into Hull from South America.

    I need to find out more about specific MERCHANTS who were particularly IMPORTING COCOA to HULL. And where they lived, whether any illustrations or portraits of them exist, and their properties and influences, lifestyles etc.

    Can you help at all?

    Many thanks in anticipation!

    • Kathryn Kane says:

      Unfortunately, I live on the other side of the pond, so I can only offer you ideas, but no research results. There is no doubt that “cacao nuts” were imported into England by the 18th century, probably into most port towns. Hull seems a likely place for both the importation of cacao nuts and their conversion into chocolate, as it was a central location for the region. However, you must keep in mind that very few merchants or businessmen of the eighteenth century, or even the early nineteenth century, handled only chocolate. There simply was not enough demand for them to carry on the business year-round. Most of these merchants would deal in chocolate, as well as tea, coffee and even tobacco, as well as other commodities, in order to make a living. And there were many aspects to the chocolate business, so there would have been the hard, unglamorous work of unloading and storing the cacao nuts once the ships arrived in port, then the back-breaking and grimy work of roasting and grinding the beans and the making of the chocolate “tablets.” You might be more interested in either the wealthy ship owners whose ships carried the cacao or in the up-scale provisions merchants who sold the expensive and stylish commodity of chocolate to their aristocratic customers. That would probably most appeal to your current client, and it might give you more latitude in finding appealing period images.

      The kind of business information you are seeking would be most likely found in local records, such as local newspaper archives and court records. Advertisements by merchants, or their various legal issues related to their business would be recorded. Your best bet is to contact any local historical societies or museums in the Hull area. It is possible they may have old business records which were donated to them, and their records might include merchants who dealt with chocolate in that collection. You might also get lucky and connect with someone who is doing research on local merchants and they may be able to provide you with names and other details on those merchants, in addition to period images. I have found most local historians are always willing to share their knowledge.

      Another useful, though limited, source would be old city directories. It was common for merchants to pay for inclusion in those directories to enable their customers to find them. They typically included their name, address and whatever profession or trade they were following. The practice of publishing such directories originated in the eighteenth century, so you might well find some chocolate makers listed in the pages of the old Hull directories, if they still exist. However, you will have to be familiar with the various descriptions of such activities at that time. I would recommend the book, Chocolate: History, Culture, and Heritage by Louis E. Grivetti and Howard-Yana Shapiro, as the most readily available source for such details. You will also get an idea of the chocolate trade overall, which might help you frame your campaign for your client. Many city libraries keep copies of their old directories, either hard copy or microform. They might also have deposits of old business records. Definitely visit the main branch of the Hull library and chat up the reference librarians. Again, they will probably be happy to help you.

      Another thing to keep in mind is that the chocolate trade, by the late eighteenth century, was heavily populated with Quakers. There is a chance that you might find details about any Hull Quakers who engaged in the trade if Hull has a Society of Friends library or historical society. Though it is a long shot, you might find Hull connections if you contact some of the larger chocolate companies in England, such as Cadbury, whose roots go back to the eighteenth century. Many of those companies have an archivist or librarian on staff who manages their old records, often doing research and aiding fellow scholars in the study of the business. It may be worth contacting some of those companies for more information. I worked in advertising many years ago, and you just never know where the information which sparks that great idea might be found.

      I wish you luck with your project!

      Regards,

      Kat

  5. stella says:

    The Jane Austen Forum would like to invite you Ms Kane to be a valued member on our forum as well as any other members of this lovely blog.

    http://www.janeausten.co.uk/forum/

    • Kathryn Kane says:

      I am honored by your invitation and have added a link to the Jane Austen Forum home page to the forum links here at the Redingote.

      I find the timing of your invitation most appropriate, as I am planning to celebrate the bicentennial of the publication of Sense & Sensibility this month with a series of articles on various aspects of books, culminating in an article on the story of the publication of S&S. I look forward to celebrating this momentous anniversary at the Jane Austen Forum as well.

      Thank you for your kind invitation.

      Regards,

      Kat

  6. Simone Zammit Endrich says:

    I would like to thank you for the detailed and interesting historical information you have on this blog. It was of great assistance to me in my own research. Of particular interest to me were your lighting and art sections, which contained valuable details that I had found no where else for the timeline I required. At least, not in as concise a form that greatly helped reduce excessive hours of painstaking reading. I am truly obliged to you and I congratulate you. I love your blog and it is certain that I will return to it. :-)

    Many thanks and kind regards,
    SIMONE ZAMMIT ENDRICH
    MALTA, EUROPE.

    • Kathryn Kane says:

      Thank you very much! I am so glad that you found the information here useful, that was my reason for starting the Redingote in the first place. “Knowledge is nothing unless it is shared,” is a concept which I learned many years ago and I try to share what I know, as so many have shared so much with me.

      And, there is some element of selfishness in this. Not only do I love studying the kind of history I was seldom allowed to study in college, my hope is that some of the information which I provide here will be used by Regency authors to add even more historic detail to their stories. As an avid reader of Regencies, I will benefit from that myself.

      I hope you will continue to find enlightening and entertaining articles on your return visits. Thank you again for your kind words.

      Regards,

      Kat

  7. Jodi says:

    Like you, I got into the Regency era majorly through Georgette Heyer. I first got a book on her Regency world, not realizing it wasn’t a general reference. The story descriptions intrigued me, and so I bought False Colours. After that, I was hooked! Glad to see another Heyer fan.

    • Kathryn Kane says:

      False Colours is a good one, but if you have not yet read them, I highly recommend The Nonesuch, Faro’s Daughter and The Corinthian. Of course, I have never read one of her books that I did not like.

      I am so glad that her books are being reprinted in better quality, more modern editions. My collection of mass market paperback copies went missing during a move sometime ago, and I have keenly felt the loss for years. I am delighted to be able to rebuild my Heyer library. The next time I move, I will be riding shotgun on those boxes! ;-)

      Regards,
      Kat

  8. Nicole says:

    I just found your posts a few days ago and have spent the past few nights reading post after post after post. I really am fascinated by the information you’ve shared, much of which I had never even considered, like snow in the Regency, mutant Regency squirrels, toasting, and so much more.

    I do have a bone to pick with you though. I picked up one of my favorite Regency novels this afternoon, and before the first four chapters were out I had counted three errors that your posts had exposed for me.

    Ignorance is bliss, they say, but they don’t say how annoying being enlightened can be. :D

    I am going to have to try very hard to ignore buttons on mens shirts, mentions of parchment instead of paper, inappropriate teas, sparkly diamonds, and so many other little things that hadn’t bothered me in the least until I read all of your posts and learned how wrong they are.

    Oh well- I’ll just categorize them in the “fun to read but don’t take seriously” pile, and suggest additional research when I write to the authors. :D

    I am really looking forward to reading more of your posts and learning more about the era, even if it does induce a little teeth grinding when I read future novels and notice errors. :)

    Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge!

    • Kathryn Kane says:

      Thank you, very much, for your kind words! I am glad you have found the information posted here useful, if occasionally reducing your blissful ignorance! ;-)

      I do hope you will give those Regency authors who have made some historical errors the benefit of the doubt. None of us can know everything, and though I may be accused of heresy for pointing it out, even Georgette Heyer made the occasional historical error. But she always tells such a good tale that I overlook those little hiccups when I come across them. If the authors you are reading tell a good story, I hope you will overlook their random mistakes, too.

      I am a member of the Beau Monde, a specialty chapter of the Romance Writers of America, and I can tell you that all those authors work very hard to get their historical facts straight. But short of time travel, it is nearly impossible to be completely accurate. Even so, they do strive for that goal, and my articles here are just another way to add to the knowledge of the period.

      I hope you will find future posts as interesting as those you have already read.

      Regards,

      Kat

      • Nicole says:

        Oh, no worries, I’ll give them a break. I enjoy reading too much to get fussy. And I skipped a couple years ahead in the author I was reading and noticed she’d picked up on some of the errors she’d made, and was more apparently more carefully researched later on.
        So, live and learn. :)
        Thanks again for the great info!

  9. Will Pearson says:

    Dear Kathryn, your site is consistently fascinating, even for someone who had no great prior interest in the period. I wonder if I could email you privately about an idea?
    Kind regards
    Will

    • Kathryn Kane says:

      Certainly. My email address is near the bottom of the right navigation panel. It is an image, so the spam harvesters cannot get it, but it should be no problem for a human.

      Regards,

      Kat

  10. HJ says:

    I just came across some fascinating information on the East End of London in the eighteenth century which I think would also interest you! http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/untoldlives/2014/01/east-london-stereotypes-challenged.html

  11. Good afternoon Kathryn

    I am not sure whether this is appropriate or not, with WordPress etiquette, but here goes! (Please feel free to delete me if this is not the place to ask this.)

    I have self-published a novel set in the Regency era, and it is a little different in that it is not a romance but rather a crime novel. It is called “Fatal Forgery” and is being well reviewed on Amazon (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1489587403/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creative=6738&creativeASIN=1489587403&linkCode=as2&tag=thinaboucriml-21), Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18195411-fatal-forgery?from_search=true) and the “Law Society Gazette” (http://www.lawgazette.co.uk/analysis/reviews/book-review-fatal-forgery/5039322.article). So I was wondering if it would be possible to mention it on your blog…

    As a self-published author, I am finding that by far the hardest part of the process is not the research and writing, but the marketing! So please forgive me for approaching you.

    (And I am working on the second book in the series, set a year later in 1825 – I made the mistake of falling in love with my hero and now I just can’t leave him alone.)

    Best wishes from Susan

    • Kathryn Kane says:

      From what I understand from other self-published authors, like you, marketing is their greatest challenge. It is very difficult to bring self-published books to the attention of the reading public.

      I have approved your comment, making the links you provided available, but I am not sure how much it will help you. The Redingote is focused on Regency romance, which is the interest of most of those who visit here. However, some visitors may enjoy mysteries, even those set after the Regency, and will be glad to find your book(s).

      I wish you luck.

      Regards,

      Kat

  12. Thank you so much for this, Kat – I am quite sure that every little bit of publicity helps. It is very kind of you to help, and thank you also for your encouragement.
    Best wishes from Susan

  13. Susan St. john says:

    I read with interest the article you wrote and the Napoleon phobia of cats…I have cats and I like bees. Would you, if you can, direct me where I can find the names of linguists of the court of Napoleon? I am researching my genealogy and have found a quote by an aunt. The quote said that her grandfather was a linguist in the court. Indeed, her mother was born in Paris in about 1832 (that event was stated on a USA census). I tried to contact a linguist society where I was put in my place when one of the linguists responded that theirs was a membership only and they do not answer inquiries from the common folk. Somehow, after reading your posts I feel you might take a bit of pity on such interloper! If possible for you to give me direction as to where I might be able to find the missing linguist, I will be appropriately delighted! I love, love, love finding a resolution to my genealogical puzzles. When the research bug bites it does not easily let go.

    Susan

    • Kathryn Kane says:

      I am glad you enjoyed the articles. I do not know how much help I can be to you, since my focus is England during the Regency and I do not spend much time researching French history. However, I have some friends who are more knowledgeable about nineteenth-century France. I will ask them and see what I can find out for you.

      Regards,

      Kat

  14. Kate says:

    Your site has been very helpful in researching the Regency for the purposes of world building in a story I’ve been writing. Clicking through your tabs, I haven’t seen anything much in terms of medicine. I’m specifically interested in how serious injuries might be handled and where someone might go for that sort of thing?

    • Kathryn Kane says:

      I am glad you have found some of the articles useful. And, I am sorry I have to disappoint you on the topic of medicine at The Redingote. Anything to do with the field of medicine creeps me out in the extreme, so it is not an area in which I will ever be doing any research or writing.

      However, there are a few sources I can recommend which might be useful to you. Over the past few years, articles on various aspects of medicine during the Regency have been posted at the Beau Monde blog. You will find them in the Science & Pseudoscience category.

      For more detailed information, there are a few books I can suggest, though I have not read them. You will see that all of them are written or edited by Roy Porter. He is a noted English historian who has written on a wide range of subjects, including the history of medicine. I have read a number of his social and cultural history books, which have all been well-written and informative, so I have confidence in suggesting his books to you. He has always provided a substantial bibliography in all of his books which I have read, so I think Porter’s work is a good place to start any research into medicine of the Regency.

      The book titles are links to their respective Google Books pages, where you might find excerpts and the full bibliographic citations for each:


      Blood and Guts: A Short History of Medicine
      by Roy Porter

      The Cambridge History of Medicine edited by Roy Porter (There are several editions of this book, but I understand the more recent ones have more illustrations, which you may or may not find helpful.)

      Health for Sale: Quackery in England, 1660-1850 by Roy Porter

      Madness: A Brief History by Roy Porter

      Drugs and Narcotics in History by Roy Porter

      I hope this brief list of titles will be enough to get you started in researching whichever aspect of medicine is of interest to you.

      Regards,

      Kat

    • Tsu Dho Nimh says:

      Kate … it’s a late reply, but if you tell me what effect you want the injury to have on the plot, I can come up with the injury and treatment, or a suitable illness. It’s easier to work backwards from “need injury that will keep X from doing ___ for ___ days/weeks/months” or “need illness with prolonged convalescence so Y can be out of circulation, or so Z is sent home from boarding school” to a real condition than to try to force-fit something into the plot.

      How long do you want the victim to be sidelined, and how much suffering do you want them to endure? Do they need to be comatose for a while? Unlikely to survive? Left with a permanent disability … if so, how bad?

      I have a pile of old medical books of that era, and unlike Kathryn, medicine doesn’t squick me out. I find it fascinating.

  15. Tsu Dho Nimh says:

    A question … were dance cards in use during the Regency?

    The scene where the Duke of Seldane takes the meek heroine’s dance card and signs himself up for way too many dances … realistic or cliche? I read “Almacks”, the novel from the 1820s, and the main characters mentioned them, but derisively.

    • Kathryn Kane says:

      From what I can tell, dance cards became popular during the Victorian period, though there do seem to have been some used during the Regency. But I cannot find that their use was universal that early in the century.

      Regards,

      Kat

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