Hock was a term used for a selection of high-quality white wines available in England during the Regency. These wines came from Germany and had been known and enjoyed by an exclusive number wine connoisseurs in Britain for well over a century by the time the Prince of Wales became Regent. However, after his niece became Queen, and developed a fondness for that type of wine on a visit to Germany, its popularity soared among the British middle classes. But all of that was in the future during the decade of the Regency.
Hock, from its origins through the Regency . . .
Anyone familiar with the life of Jane Austen will know that when she came to London in 1814, she stayed with her brother, Henry, in Henrietta Street. It was a very convenient location in Regency London, since it was situated close to the center of the metropolis. Though it was not in the much more fashionable area of Mayfair, Henrietta Street was considered a perfectly respectable residential street. There were also a number shops and a few public houses and taverns located along this street, so there was usually a bit of bustle there during the day. Regency authors might find that Henrietta Street would make an ideal setting for a London street scene, or even the residence of one or more of their characters.
A brief history of Henrietta Street through the Regency period . . .
Two hundred years ago, this coming Sunday, a man who came to be dubbed "the dandy-killer," spent the day at White’s gentlemen’s club, where he told everyone who would listen that Beau Brummell was deeply in debt and unable to pay his creditors. Making this news public put Brummell in an extremely precarious position and the Beau knew he could no longer remain in England. The following evening, Beau Brummell left his box at Covent Garden and stepped into a chaise which whisked him out of London. Early the following morning, he chartered a ship in Dover which took him across the English Channel to Calais. He would spend the rest of his life in northern France and would never set foot in his homeland again.
How the dandy-killer precipitated Beau Brummell’s flight to France . . .
What has become a spring tradition here at the Redingote is the posting of the schedule of appearances for the Dandy Chargers’ season. This year’s schedule is particularly special since two of the venues have very strong connections to the Regency. If you will be in Britain this spring or summer, you may want to treat yourself to the sight of a group of ladies and gentlemen in Regency dress, striding along on their hobby horses just as their Regency ancestors might have done.
The 2016 season of the Dandy Chargers . . .
This coming Monday marks the two-hundredth anniversary of the wedding of Princess Charlotte of Wales to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg. Though there had been many obstacles in their path to wedded bliss, the young couple had persevered and finally made their way to the altar in the spring of 1816. The grand wedding of the royal couple was certainly the social event of the season. In fact, everyone in Britain was looking forward to the wedding of their beloved young princess, the woman they expected would be their future queen.
The nuptials of Charlotte and Leopold . . .
Two hundred years ago, this coming Sunday, Lord Byron boarded a ship and sailed away from England for the Continent, leaving behind his wife and baby daughter. He would never see either of them, or England, ever again. It took a combination of events over the course of more than a year to finally drive Byron from England, a kind of perfect storm of issues which made him believe he had no choice but to flee his homeland.
When Byron left England for good . . .
There was a time when the ability to read and write was not widely held. And many of those who enjoyed those skills acquired various implements to aid their activities. Some of those specialized implements were beautifully made and richly ornamented, in particular, those of the bladed variety. But reference material on these objects has always been sparse and hard to find. Until now. Professor Emeritus Ian Spellerberg has spent the past couple of years researching these fascinating objects and has written the first book on the subject. Whether you are collector of antique desk accessories, or are simply beguiled by the creativity and craftsmanship which went into their design and production, you will enjoy perusing the pages of this new book. Though some antique dealers may wish it had never been published.
In the interests of full disclosure, I corresponded with Professor Spellerberg while he was conducting his research. I was also honored to be asked to write opening essays for a couple of sections in this book.
Some of my favorite parts of Reading & Writing Accessories . . .
Posted in Reviews
Tagged Books, Writing