The Secret Cave of the Sisterhood at Windsor Castle

Lest you think that what follows is a tale of a feminine version of the Hellfire Clubhouse, please disabuse yourself of that notion immediately. "The Sisterhood" to be discussed here was about as far distant from that lecherous league as it was possible to be. This was a very exclusive sisterhood in Regency England, the surviving unmarried daughters of King George III and Queen Charlotte. Unfortunately for these sisters, the very circumstances of their birth consigned them to loneliness and boredom for much of their lives. But from time to time, they did find ways to escape, if only briefly, from the onerous restrictions which were placed upon them by their mother. One of those escapes was their secret "cave" on the grounds of Windsor Castle.

The cave of the Sisterhood through the Regency . . .

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Regency Bicentennial:   The Disafforestation of Exmoor Forest

Two hundred years ago, this coming Monday, the disafforestation of the Royal Forest of Exmoor culminated in the sale of large tracts of Crown land to a private citizen. However, due to the ideosyncracies of English law, this did not mean that Exmoor, which had never had many trees, was completely logged off and the land left bare. Rather, it was a change in the designation of the property which allowed the new owner to put it to uses which had not been attempted there in several centuries. This significant change in the status of the land was to have various ramifications for both people and animals living in the vicinity of Exmoor, any of which might serve the plot of a Regency romance set in the area at that time.

The disafforestion of the Royal Forest of Exmoor . . .

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John Crace & Sons

Though this firm is not widely known today, it was the most important interior decorating firm in England through the nineteenth century. The Crace family was a favorite of the British Royal Family, particularly the Prince of Wales. They were commissioned to decorate a number of notable rooms at both Carlton House and the Royal Pavilion at Brighton, among other royal residences. In addition, several noble families regularly commissioned work from John Crace and his sons. However, many other clients during the Regency also commissioned the Crace firm to provide them with fashionable furnishings and interior decor. Regency authors who have affluent and/or pretentious characters who want the most fashionable decor in their London town house or country home may want to allow those characters to commission the Crace family firm to do the work.

The firm of John Crace & Sons through the Regency . . .

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Regency Bicentennial:   The Stothards and the Bayeux Tapestry

Two hundred years ago, this week, Charles Stothard was making plans for his third trip to France, at the direction of the Council of the Society of Antiquaries. He would travel to the French town of Bayeux in order to complete his series of detailed drawings of the famous tapestry depicting the Norman Conquest of Britain. Though the tapestry was more than seven centuries old, it was only in the second half of the eighteenth century that British scholars had begun to take an interest in it. Stothard’s drawings would be crucial to further study of this remarkable textile. Unlike his previous trips, this time he would be accompanied by his new bride, whom he had married only months before. Unbeknownst to her, a half century later, she would be accused of vandalizing the extraordinary tapestry her husband was there to record, since most people thought she had already passed away.

Mr. and Mrs. Stothard and the Bayeux Tapestry . . .

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Liquid Magic:   Lavender Water Through the Regency

Last month, I posted an article here about rose water, which, like orange flower water, was a popular ingredient in a plethora of concoctions created through the centuries, including during the Regency. Another popular, and even more ancient flower water, which was widely used during the Regency, was lavender water. Like the other flower waters, lavender water was an essential element in a number of foods, medicines and cosmetics during our favorite decade. In addition, even during the Regency, lavender was believed to have a flock of powerful magical properties.

Lavender and lavender water through the Regency . . .

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Of Darning and Darning Notions

Though the stitching technique of darning is no longer practiced as widely today as it was in centuries past, there are still a number of needlewomen who employ that skill in the twenty-first century. Darning has both utilitarian and decorative applications in modern times, just as it did during the Regency. However, since our favorite decade, the sewing notions used for darning have evolved and changed. Authors of tales of romance may be interested in the details of darning and the implements used to do it during the Regency, should one or more of their characters employ that skill during the course of the story.

Of darning and darning notions . . .

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The Evolution of the Clerk of Works

The Clerk of Works was an important position on most construction sites in Regency England, just as it had begun to be in the Middle Ages. But like so many things in this transitional decade at the beginning of the late modern period, that position and the responsibilities which appertained to it were gradually changing, to eventually become standard as the nineteenth century came to a close. But during the Regency, there was a wide latitude in the circumstances of those who held the position, their duties and even their clients, which could vary from project to project. Regency Authors may find the position of Clerk of Works just the thing to suit a character in an upcoming story.

Clerks of Works in Regency England . . .

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