Regency Bicentennial:   The Death of Queen Charlotte

Tomorrow marks the two-hundredth anniversary of the passing of Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III and mother of the Prince Regent. She had been ill for several months prior to her death and had hoped to retire to Windsor Castle to recover in her country retreat. Sadly, her next visit to Windsor Castle was not to come until she was laid to rest in the vault of the chapel there. Though the death of the Queen did not plunge the country into the deep mourning which had resulted after the death of her grand-daughter, it was still a significant event in Britain at that time. Regency authors may want to take note of the death of Queen Charlotte, should they set a story in mid-November of 1818.

The passing of Queen Charlotte . . .

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After "Cotton" Was Wool

Though cotton has been woven into textiles in some parts of the world since ancient times, it was just coming into its own in Regency England. By that time, new inventions had made it possible to mechanize many of the processes required to produce cotton thread and cloth. Therefore, fine cotton fabrics could be produced at a significantly lower cost. Though it had become fashionable for both clothing and furnishing fabrics by our favorite decade, there were still a few physicians who believed cotton could be harmful to the health of anyone who came into contact with it. Regency authors may wish to include one or more of these curious aspects of cotton history in an upcoming story.

Cotton through the Regency . . .

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The Country House Library by Mark Purcell

This book was a birthday gift from a friend, and I can say without doubt that it was the very best gift I received this year. I love books, I love libraries and I love country houses. How could I not love this book, when it is about three of my very favorite things in all the world? I suspect that many Regency authors and aficionados of the period will also enjoy this book, either as a source of information for an upcoming novel, or simply to better understand the place of books and libraries in the English country house in times past.

Just a little of what I love about The Country House Library . . .

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Of Corpse Roads and Corpse Lights

With the approach of Halloween, it seems a most propitious time to discuss an ancient set of British superstitions which relate to apparitions and phantoms associated with death and the dead. Corpse lights were most often seen along corpse roads, so it makes sense to address the two phenomena together. Regency authors may wish to use either, or both, of these superstitions to add a touch of the supernatural to a tale of romance set in our favorite decade.

Of corpse roads and corpse lights through the Regency . . .

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Of Tapping the Admiral And Sucking the Monkey

Both of these slang phrases had naval origins, and, perhaps not surprisingly, both were Regency slang for the illicit enjoyment of spiritous beverages, both at sea and on shore. To be more specific, the enjoyment of spiritous beverages which were stored in casks or barrels. During our favorite period, these slang terms did not apply to drinking from bottles, glasses or any other container, with the exception of a cask or barrel.

The origins of tapping the admiral or sucking the monkey . . .

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Chiswick House

Too small to live in, too big to hang on a watch.

Such was the characterization of Chiswick House offered by one Georgian wag, the famous, or infamous, Lord Hervey, soon after it was completed, in 1729. Though Chiswick House had been built nearly a century before the Regency began, it was still an important country house during our favorite decade. Even before the turn of the nineteenth century, it had become the property of the Duke of Devonshire. Soon thereafter, it became a popular retreat for many of the prominent members of the Whig party, and remained so for several years. Regency authors who include Whig politics in their stories may wish to set a meeting or two at Chiswick House.

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Compendiums:   When Egg Cups Met Toast Racks

Both of these useful table service pieces had been introduced in England long before the Regency. However, it was in our favorite decade that the two were combined to create an even more convenient breakfast serving dish. Made in a number of different materials, this new type of tableware could be found on a great many breakfast tables and sideboards across Britain nearly every morning during the Regency.

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