Ackermann’s Repository:   Patterns of British Manufacture

One of the most popular publications intended for ladies of the upper classes during the Regency was familiarly known as Ackermann’s Repository. Those who have perused copies of this publication today may have noted that some of the issues include real samples of various materials affixed to an ornate wood-cut image. Though many people regularly call them "fabric" swatches, and many also assume they were included in every issue of the Repository, neither is true. These samples included more than just fabric, and they were more regularly included in the issues published in the early years of the periodical. It must also be noted that they were never known as "swatches" at any time during publication of the this popular journal. By the time the Regency came to a close, these special wood-cuts were no longer to be found in the pages of Ackermann’s Repository, but those that still exist have been, and remain, a treasure trove for scholars and researchers in many fields.

A look at the "real Patterns of British Manufacture" (swatches) in Ackermann’s Repository . . .

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Posted in Apparel & Grooming, Furnishings | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Regency Bicentennial:   The Passing of Jane Austen

This coming Tuesday, 18 July 2017, will be the two-hundredth anniversary of the death of Jane Austen. Certainly not something to be celebrated, but it should be noted by all of those who love the Regency and/or Miss Austen’s delightful novels, for it marks the loss of one of the most important authors of all time. This post is my attempt to mark that loss and remember her last days.

The passing of Miss Jane Austen . .

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The Magnificent Swan Service

It is unlikely that any set of dishes today would be described as "magnificent," but the grand Swan Service certainly merits that adjective. Though it was not the first porcelain service ever produced in Europe, when it was created, it held the record for being the largest and most lavish dinner service ever manufactured on the Continent. Despite the fact that the Swan Service was commissioned and created several decades before the Regency began in England, it was still in existence at that time, and remained in the hands of the family of the man for whom it had originally been made. That service, or a fictional one similar to it, might make a uniquely luxurious prop for a Regency novel.

A brief history of the magnificent Swan Service . . .

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Regency Bicentennial:   Reintroduction of the Gold Sovereign

This coming Wednesday marks the bicentennial of the reintroduction of the gold sovereign coin into the coinage of Great Britain. This was part of the government’s effort to update and stabilize the national currency after the Napoleonic Wars. The last version of the English gold sovereign had been struck over a century before, during the reign of King Charles II. This new coin would also be the first sovereign struck by steam power at the new Royal Mint. Despite the fact that gold sovereigns to the value of nearly four and a half million pounds were struck that first year, curiously, very few of them made it into regular circulation.

The strange story of the sovereign in the Regency . . .

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Shinty:   Game or Brawl?

In the Regency, it could be both, depending upon where and how it was played. Shinty is an ancient game, so old that no one really knows where or who played the first game. But it was certainly played in many places across the British Isles during the early nineteenth century. Shinty is a rowdy team sport which might be put to good use by the author of a Regency story.

The game of shinty through the Regency . . .

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Regency Bicentennial:   The Dedication of the Waterloo Bridge

Called the most beautiful bridge in Europe when it was built, this magnificent new bridge actually had another name when it was first planned. However, it was renamed by order of Parliament after the Allied victory over Napoleon at Waterloo in order to commemorate that decisive battle. The dedication of that new bridge took place two hundred years ago this coming Sunday, on what was the second anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. The ceremony was attended by a glittering array of important personages and it was also captured on canvas by one of the most famous artists of the time. A Regency author might find any number of uses for this bridge or the public celebration of its opening in a romance set during that period.

A brief history of the first Waterloo Bridge . . .

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Regency Bicentennial:  The First Ride on the Laufmaschine

Two hundred years ago, this coming Monday, Karl von Drais, the man who invented the proto-type of the bicycle, took his first ride on his new invention. He rode his wooden, two-wheeled vehicle a distance of about five miles, out from Mannheim, to the outskirts of the city. Though his intent had been to provide an inexpensive and economical vehicle for the masses, within eighteen months, this vehicle would become all the rage among the dandies of Regency London.

The first ride of the Laufmaschine . . .

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