Napoleonic Prisoner of War Crafts

Before you reject the prospect out of hand, Dear Regency Authors, you might find that one of these unique objects could make an interesting prop for an upcoming tale of romance. Many prisoners of war held in England from the late eighteenth through the early nineteenth centuries made craft items which they sold or traded in order to acquire a few small necessities which would ease the spartan harshness of their lives. In this season of gift-giving, it seems an opportune moment to discuss the wide array of useful, charming, even beautiful, objects which these men were able to produce while they were incarcerated far away from their homes. It is quite possible that a significant number of these hand-made items were purchased and given as gifts during our favorite decade.

The craft production of Napoleonic prisoners of war in Britain . . .

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A Garland of Christmas Carols

With Christmas quickly approaching, it seems an appropriate time to review a book about the history of Christmas carols. Though this book was published forty years after the Regency came to an end, the gentlemen who prepared it were born either before or during the Regency. Just as important, the majority of the carols which can be found within the pages of this book significantly pre-date our favorite decade. Regency authors who plan to set a romance during the Christmas season will find this volume a valuable reference, particularly if they plan to have any of their characters celebrate by singing carols which were actually known during those years. Even better, a digital copy of this useful reference can be acquired at no cost.

A Garland of Christmas Carols . . .

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Of Ciphers and Monograms

Though the terms cipher and monogram are often used interchangeably today, they are, in fact, two distinct classes of alphabetic initial design and presentation. Few today know the difference between them, but most members of the Regency aristocracy, gentry and upper classes would have known the difference, as would have most printers, artists and craftsmen of that period. Regency authors may find it useful to know the difference should one or the other be needed in an upcoming tale of romance.

Ciphers and monograms in Regency England . . .

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Hasty Pudding, or Pudding in a Hurry

By the Regency, hasty pudding was not as widely popular as it had been in previous centuries. Nevertheless, it was still enjoyed by many people as comfort food or a special treat during our favorite period. It depended upon where one lived which ingredients were used to make it, but it was usually prepared in much the same way, regardless of the location in which it was made. One of the best things about this particular dish was the speed, or haste, with which it could be made, something which could not be said of any other pudding during the Regency.

Hasty pudding through the Regency . . .

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Regency Bicentennial:   Cleopatra’s Emerald Mine Rediscovered in Egypt

This coming Wednesday marks the two hundredth anniversary of the rediscovery of an ancient emerald mine in Egypt which is believed to have supplied emeralds to the legendary Egyptian queen, Cleopatra. This mine was completely abandoned in the early Middle Ages and by the Regency, had become the stuff of legend. Many people were of the opinion that Cleopatra’s emerald mine was nothing more than a myth. But in the autumn of 1817, a very determined French explorer and mineralogist, Frédéric Cailliaud, found that mine, just as it had been left when it was abandoned more than five hundred years before.

The rediscovery of Cleopatra’s Emerald Mine . . .

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Hall and Entranceway Lanterns

As winter approaches and the days grow shorter, it seems an appropriate time to discuss an important lighting fixture in most upper- and middle-class Regency homes, the lantern which illuminated the main entrance hall to the house. Though such lanterns had been in use in Spain, Italy and France from at least the seventeenth century, similar light fixtures did not become common in Britain until the middle of the eighteenth century. By the Regency, those large entranceway lanterns had become fairly common in most affluent homes. But they were not just simple light fixtures.

Entranceway lanterns through the Regency . . .

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Regency Bicentennial:   The Death of Princess Charlotte

This coming Monday marks a sad Regency bicentennial, for Princess Charlotte died on that day in 1817. But this tragic event was not just the heartbreaking loss of a young mother and her child in childbirth, it was also the loss of the hope of a nation. Everyone in Britain, with the probable exception of the Regent, was looking forward to the reign of this beloved princess. Certainly, she was the only legitimate heir produced by any of the thirteen adult children of King George III. Even more importantly, most people in Britain believed she would revive the honor and integrity of the monarchy, which had been significantly diminished during the regency of her self-indulgent and dissolute father.

The passing of Princess Charlotte and the hope of a nation . . .

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