The Regency Redingote Is Retired

Eleven years and one day ago, I posted the first article for The Regency Redingote here. Earlier this year, I retired and I have decided that this is an auspicious day on which to retire The Regency Redingote. This will be the last post for this blog, it is now permanently closed and no more articles will be posted. However, The Regency Redingote will be left online as a reference archive for anyone who might find the articles here of value as they pursue their own research into our favorite decade. Or wish to peruse them for their own edification.

The option to comment on articles posted here will remain available through the end of this month. I will respond to any comments posted during that period, as time permits, though it may not be daily. After 1 September 2019, commenting for all articles here will be turned off permanently.

I would like to thank all of you who have visited here over the years to add your courteous comments to the discussions of the various snippets of Regency history about which I have written. I wish you all many happy hours reading Regency romances, and/or the history of our favorite decade.

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Rundell, Bridge and Company, by George Fox

This document flitted across my research radar nearly ten years ago, mentioned in a footnote in one of those superior books on the history of jewelery written by Diana Scarisbrick. She very kindly noted where the document was archived, and I was delighted to discover that it was held in an academic library in the greater Boston area, only a few miles from my home. However, due to a number of circumstances beyond my control, it was only recently that I finally had the opportunity to visit the special collections room of that library and view this fascinating piece of first-hand Regency history.

When George Fox worked at Rundell, Bridge and Rundell . . .

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Of Vinaigrettes: Necessities or Toys?

Even before the Regency began, these redolent objects were carried by a great many ladies, and even a few gentlemen. Fortunately, by the beginning of our favorite decade, they had become much smaller than had been necessary in previous centuries. Even better, a number of clever craftsmen had also developed the skill to create some truly unique and distinctive objects which often hid other delightful and charming features, beyond the obvious purpose of these little boxes. There are many ways in which a Regency author might use a vinaigrette to add a hint of sweetness or spice to a story of romance set in our favorite decade.

Vinaigrettes though the Regency . . .

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After Furniture Escaped the Walls

It was the English who first liberated furniture from the walls of their rooms. However, by the time the Prince of Wales became Regent, most people in other countries, both on the Continent and in America, had done the same. Nevertheless, there were at least a few people who lived in Britain during our favorite period who preferred the old way of furniture arrangement. In fact, one of Jane Austen’s most memorable, if least likable, characters held to the old way of furniture arrangement in her home, much to the discomfiture of the majority of her guests. An author of a romance set in the Regency may wish to employ this old-fashioned custom in a scene or two between a few of their characters.

When furniture moved into the middle of the room . . .

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Fore-Edge Painting:   The Very Best Book Secret, Ever!

The first time I saw a fore-edge painting was as a freshman, on an orientation tour of the rare book collection of my college library. I love books and art, so I was thoroughly entranced by the combination, particularly since the paintings I saw were hidden and could be revealed only to those who knew the secret. In the years since I learned of the existence of fore-edge painting, I have continued to seek them in most of the libraries and book shops I have had occasion to visit. What might be called the golden age of the art of fore-edge painting occurred in Britain in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and thus was in full swing during our favorite decade. That is why this delightful art form merits discussion here. Once they know about fore-edge paintings, will any Regency author be able to resist gifting at least one of her characters with one, or more, books which are so adorned?

Fore-edge paintings through the Regency . . .

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Of Work or "Pouch" Tables for Ladies

Women have been doing various kinds of needlework for millenia. Initially, most of that work was utilitarian, primarily making and mending clothing and household textiles. But as the centuries progressed, more and more women, particularly ladies of the upper classes, began to enjoy a number of different needlework techniques as a form of recreation and a means of creative expression. It was only natural that those ladies would want a place to keep their needlework safe, clean and readily at hand. By the Regency, most avid needleworkers had acquired a special table in which they could secure and protect their current needlework project. Such tables might offer a number of different options by which to embroider a tale of romance set in our favorite decade.

Of work and "pouch" tables through the Regency . . .

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Regency Bicentennial:   Trial By Combat Abolished

There is no mistake in the title of this article. Trial by combat was quite legal in Britain, until the last full year of the Regency. Essentially, trial by combat was a type of duel which was sanctioned by the courts, as had been the case since the Middle Ages. In Britain, this practice was not officially abolished until two hundred years ago, this month, when Parliament took up the issue, at the request of the Attorney General for England and Wales. A Regency author might find inspiration in any or all of the aspects of this situation for an upcoming story of romance.

The abolition of trial by combat . . .

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When Walls, Ceilings and Even Floors Got Mirrors

Though many people assume that the idea of putting a mirror on the walls and/or ceiling of a room originated in the twentieth century, they would by off by more than two centuries. The French, who had first invented plate glass, had begun using large mirrors to decorate their chambers long before the eighteenth century came to an end. Regency authors who like to include some rather naughty scenes in their stories of romance might like to know that they can write of a room with a mirrored ceiling or walls, if it will enhance the scene, and be quite historically accurate.

A brief history of mirrored rooms . . .

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Of Riding Houses

Though this specialty form of luxury equine architecture was falling out of fashion in England by the turn of the nineteenth century, there were still several in place across Britain. In addition, the Prince of Wales had commissioned more than one of them to be built on his properties at the beginning of the new century. Regency authors who include horses and/or extensive stable complexes in their tales of romance may want to take advantage of one of these grand structures for a few scenes in some of their stories.

Riding houses in England through the Regency . . .

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Morgan and Sanders:   Patent Furniture Manufactory

Despite the fact that the firm of Morgan and Sanders was considered the leading patent furniture-maker in London during the Regency, neither partner ever actually never filed for a single patent for any of the unique furniture pieces they produced. As it happens, the fashion for that type of furniture reached its peak in Britain during our favorite decade and a great deal of it was supplied by the firm of Morgan and Sanders. They were also one of the first London furniture-making firms to regularly advertize their wares in the periodicals of the time. The firm of Morgan and Sanders, and/or the patent furniture they produced, might offer some unique and historically accurate opportunities by which to furnish the plot of a Regency romance.

Morgan and Sanders, patent furniture-makers of the Regency . . .

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The King’s England

The most complete picture of a country ever presented to its people.

From the first edition dust jackets

The King’s England series was described as modern-day Domesday Book when it was first published. Though it was compiled more than a century after the end of the Regency, many authors of books set in our favorite decade may still find the information in this series of books will provide them with a plethora of historical anecdotes and detailed topographical descriptions of places for every county in England. Such detail may provide richly authentic embellishment for a tale set in the Regency.

How The King’s England came to be . . .

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The Naked Duel

This is one of those tales which falls into the truth-is-stranger-than-fiction category. Though, in the end, there is some suggestion that this duel did not come off, and it happened almost five years before the Regency began, it really did take place in England. In addition, it took place publicly enough that quite a few sporting gentlemen were aware of the particulars and would have remembered it during our favorite decade. Regency Authors may, or may not, choose to take inspiration from that curious event for a duel they may be planning in an upcoming story of romance.

The particulars of the Naked Duel . . .

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Of Lucets and Chain Forks

The lucet, also known as the chain fork, is an ancient needlework tool which was still in use during the Regency. Though the lucet was not considered a particularly fashionable device by that time, it enabled those who knew how to manipulate it to produce all manner of sturdy braid and cording which had a wide range of uses. The lucet was a small implement which was easily portable, making it possible to use it nearly anywhere. Regency authors might find a place for this deceptively simple gadget in a tale of romance set during out favorite period.

The lucet through the Regency . . .

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Regency Bicentennial:   Travellers Club Founded

Two hundred years ago, this coming Sunday, the Travellers Club was founded. This was the only one of the fashionable and exclusive London gentlemen’s clubs to be founded during our favorite decade. However, the purpose of this club differed from the previously founded gentlemen’s clubs in several notable ways. It will be important for Regency authors to be aware of the purpose and principles of this club, should they choose to allow any of their fictional male characters to become a member of the "new" gentlemen’s club which opened its doors in the last months of the Regency.

The origins and early months of the Travellers Club . . .

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Jib-Doors Through the Regency

Though you may not know the term, many of you may have seen a jib-door in a historic house, even if you did not know its proper name. You may have also seen a jib-door without even knowing it was a door. However, though jib-doors are sometimes difficult to see, they are not actually hidden or secret doors. Rather, they were usually installed for aesthetic, or sometimes, snobbish purposes. Regency authors will want to know the difference between the two types of doors, should they choose to make use of a jib-door in an upcoming story.

Jib-doors through the Regency . . .

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The Spanish vs. The English Guitar

During the Regency, two different types of guitar were known in England. Authors, and readers, of Regency romances, may wish to know something of the differences between the two, should they feature in a story sent in our favorite period. Today, music is available to most of us in many forms. However, during the Regency, like so many other things, those who lived at that time had to make their own music, typically by playing an instrument. A guitar was a convenient, and relatively inexpensive, instrument which enabled quite a number of our Regency ancestors, mostly women, to enjoy music nearly any time they wanted it.

The differences between the Spanish and the English guitar . . .

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The Dandy Chargers — The 2019 Riding Schedule

As regular visitors here know, one of the pleasures of spring is the arrival of the schedule for the Dandy Chargers riding season. I suspect that, like me and many other Regency aficionados, Georgette Heyer would be pleased to know that the vehicle she called the pedestrian curricle, which brought such trouble to Jessamy in her delightful novel, Frederica, has not been forgotten in the twenty-first century. Thanks to the Dandy Chargers, a dedicated group of ladies and gentlemen who don Regency period costume and make several appearances each year, riding replicas of the hobby horse, it is possible to get a glimpse into the past, when fashionable people enjoyed riding their velocipedes.

The 2019 Dandy Chargers riding season schedule . . .

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