The Paragon, Blackheath

Regency authors in need of a respectable residence for any of their upper middle class characters might want to consider settling them in The Paragon, an elegant crescent of semi-detached Georgian town houses situated southeast of the center of London. It was a relatively new development, and had strict covenants in place to ensure that its respectable residents would not be troubled by unseemly activity on the property. Even so, there had been quite a scandal which had played out at No. 3 only a few years before the Regency began.

A brief survey of The Paragon, Blackheath . .

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Regency Bicentennial:   The Dog Follows the Cat of Sentiment

It was just two centuries ago that the children’s book, Cato, or Interesting Adventures of A Dog of Sentiment was published in London. And "Cato" the dog followed "Felissa," who happened to have been a "Kitten of Sentiment." Both books were in print during the Regency and they make a charming pair of stories with which a Regency author might like to furnish the bookshelves of a children’s nursery in an upcoming romance novel.

A brief sketch of Cato and Felissa . . .

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Regency Bicentennial:   "Antiquity Smith" Becomes Keeper

Two hundred years ago, this month, a man who came into the world in the back of a hackney carriage, and once had aspirations to become an actor, was appointed the Keeper of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum. "Antiquity Smith" would hold this prestigious position for the rest of his life. Despite his rather colorful background, an artist himself, Smith was well-connected within the British art world, which would stand him in good stead as he worked to organize and build the collections at the British Museum.

The curious career of Antiquity Smith . . .

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Regency Bicentennial:   The Royal Cockpit Looses Its Lease

Two centuries ago, the Royal Cockpit on Birdcage Walk, in London, which had been established by King Charles II, lost the lease for the ground on which the building stood. By the end of the year, the building had been demolished. With the exception of one set of steps, that is. Those steps survive on that very same site in London, to this day.

The rise and demise of the Royal Cockpit in London . . .

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Syllabub:   The Head Wins

It has been so terribly hot and humid here in Boston for the past few weeks that I have found myself longing for things that are cool and creamy, even for the topic of a blog article. And so, I hit upon the idea of writing about the syllabub, a cool and creamy dessert which was still enjoyed during the Regency. During the course of my research I discovered that this dessert has a long history, and even hides a curious myth within its lore.

Syllabubs in England through the Regency . . .

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Regency Bicentennial:   The British Museum Discovers Britain

Well, it was not exactly the country that the officials of the British Museum discovered. They had always known where it was. But for more than half a century, they had mostly ignored its stuff. The British Museum was founded in the mid-eighteenth century, just as Britain was embarking on a long period of world exploration. Much of the material which was acquired during those expeditions made its way to the British Museum. And so it was that for more than fifty years, familiarity was breeding contempt within the walls of Montague House when it came to the objects representing the natural history of Britain in the national musuem.

When the natural history of the British Isles caught the attention of the British Museum . . .

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Illegitimate Theatre in London, 1770 — 1840 by Jane Moody

This book came to my attention recently, in a footnote, while doing research on a completely different topic. But I am now most grateful to have discovered it, since it is very well-written and filled with fascinating details about the theatre in London during our favorite decade. I have learned so much about the world of both the illegitimate and the legitimate London theatre from this book that I simply had to let my fellow Regency authors know about it.

Some of the things I learned from Illegitimate Theatre in London, 1770 — 1840 . . .

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