Of Lucets and Chain Forks

The lucet, also known as the chain fork, is an ancient needlework tool which was still in use during the Regency. Though the lucet was not considered a particularly fashionable device by that time, it enabled those who knew how to manipulate it to produce all manner of sturdy braid and cording which had a wide range of uses. The lucet was a small implement which was easily portable, making it possible to use it nearly anywhere. Regency authors might find a place for this deceptively simple gadget in a tale of romance set during out favorite period.

The lucet through the Regency . . .

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Posted in Household Maintenance | 2 Comments

Regency Bicentennial:   Travellers Club Founded

Two hundred years ago, this coming Sunday, the Travellers Club was founded. This was the only one of the fashionable and exclusive London gentlemen’s clubs to be founded during our favorite decade. However, the purpose of this club differed from the previously founded gentlemen’s clubs in several notable ways. It will be important for Regency authors to be aware of the purpose and principles of this club, should they choose to allow any of their fictional male characters to become a member of the "new" gentlemen’s club which opened its doors in the last months of the Regency.

The origins and early months of the Travellers Club . . .

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Jib-Doors Through the Regency

Though you may not know the term, many of you may have seen a jib-door in a historic house, even if you did not know its proper name. You may have also seen a jib-door without even knowing it was a door. However, though jib-doors are sometimes difficult to see, they are not actually hidden or secret doors. Rather, they were usually installed for aesthetic, or sometimes, snobbish purposes. Regency authors will want to know the difference between the two types of doors, should they choose to make use of a jib-door in an upcoming story.

Jib-doors through the Regency . . .

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The Spanish vs. The English Guitar

During the Regency, two different types of guitar were known in England. Authors, and readers, of Regency romances, may wish to know something of the differences between the two, should they feature in a story sent in our favorite period. Today, music is available to most of us in many forms. However, during the Regency, like so many other things, those who lived at that time had to make their own music, typically by playing an instrument. A guitar was a convenient, and relatively inexpensive, instrument which enabled quite a number of our Regency ancestors, mostly women, to enjoy music nearly any time they wanted it.

The differences between the Spanish and the English guitar . . .

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The Dandy Chargers — The 2019 Riding Schedule

As regular visitors here know, one of the pleasures of spring is the arrival of the schedule for the Dandy Chargers riding season. I suspect that, like me and many other Regency aficionados, Georgette Heyer would be pleased to know that the vehicle she called the pedestrian curricle, which brought such trouble to Jessamy in her delightful novel, Frederica, has not been forgotten in the twenty-first century. Thanks to the Dandy Chargers, a dedicated group of ladies and gentlemen who don Regency period costume and make several appearances each year, riding replicas of the hobby horse, it is possible to get a glimpse into the past, when fashionable people enjoyed riding their velocipedes.

The 2019 Dandy Chargers riding season schedule . . .

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Cary’s New Itinerary . . . 

In 1819, Cary’s New Itinerary was indeed "new" again, for the publication of the eighth edition of his compendium of the roads of Britain contained a number of significant updates. This volume was very useful to nearly every traveller in the British Isles during the Regency. It may still be of great use to authors of romances set in our favorite decade, should they have occasion to plan trips though Britain for their fictional characters.

The 1819 edition of Cary’s New Itinerary . . .

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A Regency Furniture Wood Primer

Recently, I read a Regency romance which included a scene in what was supposed to be an elegant and luxurious room in a London townhouse. Unfortunately, the entire effect was spoiled for me when the author described the supposedly very sophisticated and fashionable furniture in this room as being made of oak. Oak?! I nearly dropped the book. The author then went on to describe this oak furniture as having been finely carved and gilded. Completely impossible! In actual fact, during the Regency, oak was the least fashionable of the furniture woods, and due to the properties of that wood, it could not be finely carved, nor would its surface take gilding well. No one with any pretension to elegance, or even good taste, would have had a room filled with oak furniture during the years in which the Prince of Wales was Regent. During the Regency, as it had been for nearly a century, oak was considered suitable primarily for the making of house frames, floor boards, barrels and ships.

With any luck, the majority of the readers of that romance will not tumble to the glaring error the author made in her choice of wood for the furniture in that fictional room. I did only because I spent years studying the history of furniture and the woods of which that furniture was made. However, I suspect that most Regency authors have neither the time nor the inclination to spend years, months, or even a few days, studying the fine furniture woods which were used during the Regency, or in the decades before. Nor do they need to, since I realized that I could outline the basic information that any author would need to know in order to use the correct furniture woods in their stories. And so, a furniture wood primer for Regency authors …

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Posted in Furnishings | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments