Aigrettes Through the Regency

Aigrettes were delicate and elegant tufted ornaments which had been in use in multiple forms in various parts of the world from at least the Middle Ages. They went in and out of fashion over the centuries, as they came to the attention of different cultures. During the Regency, they were back in fashion, though they were made of different materials than had been the earliest aigrettes, and they were worn by different people and for different purposes. There are any number of ways in which an aigrette might provide a decorative embellishment or a plot point for a Regency romance.

Aigrettes through the Regency . . .

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Donington Hall & Park

Today, though Donington Hall is still standing and part of its once extensive park survives, it is no longer the grand private country home it was during the Regency. But the house has an interesting history and, though its owner was away from the estate for much of our favorite period, that circumstance in itself might add an interesting wrinkle to a story plotline. A Regency author seeking a fine country manor house with extensive grounds situated roughly in the middle of England might find Donington Hall, or a fictional version of it, just the setting they need for their next romance.

Donington Hall and its park, through the Regency . . .

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Mary Moser:   Grande Dame of the Royal Academy

Though she is barely remembered today, Mary Moser was one of the most renowned artists in Britain in the second half of the eighteenth century. By the Regency, Mary Moser was the only surviving female founder of the Royal Academy. She was also a friend of Queen Charlotte, the royal princesses and many prominent members of society. Yet, she was also a woman with a rather scandalous past. Though Mary Moser’s most prolific years as a painter were behind her by the time the Prince of Wales became Regent, she was occasionally painting during the latter part of our favorite period and was still an active participant in the Royal Academy and the artistic community of London.

A brief sketch of the life of Mary Moser, near-sighted paintress . . .

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Mayonnaise In the Regency:   A Luxury Sauce

Despite some apocryphal tales to the contrary, most food scholars agree that the version of this creamy sauce which we enjoy today originated in the early years of the nineteenth century, probably in France. There were also multiple versions of the name, but it is believed by many that it was given its final name by the first celebrity chef, based on the effort needed to make it. However, during the Regency, this now ubiquitous cold condiment was barely known in England, and where it was, it was considered the height of luxury. The middle and lower classes of the Regency were certainly not slathering this elegant dressing on their sandwiches or salads.

Mayonnaise in the Regency . . .

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English Green-Glaze Ware

This unique form of ceramic ware was developed in Britain in the mid-eighteenth century. However, even after the first phase of its popularity, it continued to be made and used well into the Victorian period. Its introduction may very well have prevented illness to some people and may even have saved at least a few lives, since this particular type of ceramic ware provided a convenient and attractive substitute for a more dangerous method of decorating the plates of the dessert course in many homes.

Green-glazed ware in England through the Regency . . .

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Coppicing and Pollarding

Coppicing and pollarding are essentially two different methods of pruning trees and large shrubs, both of which have been practiced across Europe for millenia. And both were practiced regularly in Regency Britain, though for slightly different purposes. Most people who lived in or near woodlands or forests during the Regency, or depended upon the products of such tracts of land, would have been aware of the differences, though that knowledge had been nearly lost by the Victorian period. Knowing something about both of these pruning practices and their purposes might prove useful to Regency authors who wish to develop knowledgeable, or ignorant, characters who are involved in woodland or forested property management and maintenance during our favorite period.

Coppicing and pollarding through the Regency . . .

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Venetian Blinds Are Not Really Venetian

And yet, hundreds of them were in use in Venice and across the Continent several decades before the Prince of Wales became Regent. Even before the Regency, these sophisticated window coverings had taken on certain political and economic meanings in one of Britain’s former colonies. Which may be one of the reasons that Venetian blinds were not used as widely in homes in Britain as they were on the Continent during the early nineteenth century. Wherever they were installed, most of the Venetian blinds used during the Regency were much more elegant and stylish than those we use today.

Venetian blinds through the Regency . . .

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