What did our Regency ancestors do in the month of May? Today, Regina Scott, Regency romance author, and Beau Monde Chapter past president, tells us about some of the various activities which took place during the month of May in Regency England. Not all of them may have been the type of activities to which the ton flocked, but there seems little doubt they amused a great many people across Britain during the merry month of May.
A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:
One of my favorite signs of Spring is the arrival in my email box of the Dandy Chargers annual schedule of appearances. For those of you who may not know, the Dandy Chargers are a group of gentlemen, and ladies, in Britain, who are aficionados of that particularly Regency vehicle, the velocipede. Readers of the works of Georgette Heyer may also know this vehicle as the pedestrian curricle which wreaked such havoc in her novel Frederica. These two-wheeled, pedal-less vehicles were also known as hobby-horses, draisiennes, or dandy-horses, and were very popular for a short period during the Regency.
Each year, the Dandy Chargers make appearances through the spring and summer at various venues across Britain, in full Regency costume, riding their hobby-horses. For those of you who live in Britain, or will be spending time there during the next few months, I offer the 2013 schedule of the Dandy Chargers appearances for your perusal and edification.
In today’s article, Regency romance author, and Beau Monde past President, Regina Scott, muses on the importance of music to the young ladies of the Regency. As a musician herself, she can easily empathize with the musical trials and tribulations which might have been experienced by these young women who were expected to be accomplished musicians, among the other skills society required of them once they went on the marriage mart.
Regina also shares information on some of the instruments which were available to these young musicians during the Regency. Which one of them would you choose to play?
A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:
Coursing was a field sport popular with many gentlemen during the Regency, though it is not often mentioned in novels set during that time. And when it is part of the story, the details noted are often incorrect. The practices and rules of coursing have changed over the years, such that those which obtained during the Regency were not the same as those observed at other times in the history of the sport.
A bit of coursing history, with details on how it was practised in England during the years of the Regency …
Many modern newspapers carry a column titled News of the Weird. But weird behavior is not just a modern phenomenon. Below are some of my favorite Regency oddities:
A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:
Well, not the whole ballroom, just the sound of the music which was heard there as elegantly attired couples danced the night away. Have you ever wondered what it might have sounded like to attend a ball in Regency England? Not the overly orchestrated dance numbers which embellish films of the Regency era, particularly those from the pen of Jane Austen, such as Pride and Prejudice, Emma, or Sense and Sensibility. Would you like to hear the dance music of the Regency as Jane Austen herself might have heard it? Then, you might like to treat yourself to a privately released CD, entitled The Regency Ballroom, from a group of musicians who specialize in historic dance music.
I recently ordered a copy of this CD for myself and I am so pleased with it that I want to let others in on the "secret."
A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:
to be danced out before morning!
And so they would be danced out, never to be seen again. But while they lasted, they enhanced the ballroom decorations for the evening, amused and/or charmed those who would soon dance across the surface of those ballroom floors, even as those same dancers consigned the lovely images to oblivion while they enjoyed themselves.
While researching the details of the grand Carlton House Fête which the Prince Regent hosted in June 1811, I finally stumbled upon the truth of the use of chalk in ballrooms. On the handful of previous occasions on which I had encountered a reference to the practice, it was stated that the doors of the ballroom were chalked. It was not until, during the course of this last round of research, that I finally discovered that those references could all be traced back to one incorrect source. In actual fact, it was the floors of the ballroom which were chalked. As I pursued that very thin line of inquiry, I was eventually able to piece together enough details about this delightfully ephemeral art form to realize that it was a frequent practice for notable Regency balls. And now, the chalk on the floor …
How We Got to Where We Are Today
Modern Historical Romance Over the Last Several Decades.
Or, A Recommended Reading List for the Uninitiated
It occurred to me that as lovers of a genre it might be helpful to read some of the classics to see where we’ve come from and to enjoy the greats who have contributed so much to the craft.
I’m not going as far back as Ivanhoe, Pride and Prejudice or Jane Eyre.
I’m not even reaching back to the seminal novels of Georgette Heyer in the early 20th century.
No, I’m starting in the 1970s when the bedroom door was flung open never to close again. And while I may not have included your favorite author, by reading the romances on this list, you’ll have a good idea of our beginnings and what so many wonderful authors have done for the genre.
Think of it as an education in modern historical romance. Where an author has written many novels (some early ones are still writing best sellers today), I tried to use their earliest work that influenced the genre.
So, here’s the list of the historical romances I recommend you read. Each has something to show you. Some may require you to shop online for a used book, though many are available as eBooks. I’m not saying they will all be your favorites, or that they are all mine. And I realize some readers will think I left off one I should have included.
This is a sampling meant to give you a picture of how the genre has developed over time. Most are novels I’ve rated 5 stars, so I promise you won’t be bored.
Included because of its significance…
• Bond of Blood by Roberta Gellis (1965)
The 1970s: The Pioneering Years
• The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss (1972)
• Sweet Savage Love by Rosemary Rogers (1974)
• Devil’s Desire by Laurie McBain (1975)
• Love’s Tender Fury by Jennifer Wilde (aka Tom Huff) (1976)
• Captive Bride by Johanna Lindsey (1977)
• Caroline by Cynthia Wright (1977)
• This Loving Torment by Valerie Sherwood (1977)
• The Rainbow Season by Lisa Gregory (1979)
The 1980s: The Explosive Years
• Lady Vixen by Shirlee Busbee (1980)
• Skye O’Malley by Bertrice Small (1981)
• Devil’s Embrace by Catherine Coulter (1982)
• Rose of Rapture by Rebecca Brandewyne (1984)
• Whitney, My Love by Judith McNaught (1985)
• The Wind and the Sea by Marsha Canham (1986)
• The Hawk and the Dove by Virginia Henley (1988)
• Capture the Sun by Shirl Henke (1988)
• Edin’s Embrace by Nadine Crenshaw (1989)
• Sweet Savage Eden by Heather Graham (1989)
• Heartstorm by Elizabeth Stuart (1989)
The 1990s: The Developing Years
• Dark Fires by Brenda Joyce (1991)
• Flowers From the Storm by Laura Kinsale (1992)
• Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (1992)
• Enchanted by Elizabeth Lowell (1994)
• The Passions of Emma by Penelope Williamson (1997)
• Kilgannon by Kathleen Givens (1999)
The 2000s: The “Standing On The Shoulders of Giants” Years
• By Possession by Madeline Hunter (2000)
• Beyond the Cliffs of Kerry by Amanda Hughes (2002)
• The Captain of All Pleasures by Kresley Cole (2003)
• Laird of the Mist by Paula Quinn (2007)
• Broken Wing by Judith James (2008)
• My Lord and Spymaster by Joanna Bourne (2008)
• The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran (2008)
• Raeliksen by Renee Vincent (2008)
Reposted on The Beau Monde with the kind permission of member and author, Regan Walker, from Regan’s Romance Reviews.
A blog for lovers of romance novels, particularly historical romance–a forum where we can share great novels and our views about those we have read.
In addition to authors guest blogging, I will share my reviews, my favorite authors and my “best” lists. Come join us!
In today’s article, Cheryl Bolen gives us a glimpse of the extent of the rage for all forms of gambling in the late Georgian era, which includes the Regency. Some of the tales she tells would probably be rejected by today’s Regency romance editors as completely unbelievable and yet, they are all true.
How the chips fell in Georgian times …
What I Learned About Love From Reading Romance Novels
by Regan Walker.
Traveling to the UK – What to Know Before You Go
It’s that time of year to think about a vacation/research trip to the UK.
Okay, any time of year is good, but many trips to the UK are in the late spring, summer, or early fall.
2012 is a very exciting year for the UK. With the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Summer Olympics, make sure you’re up to date on what is happening where. My husband and I are heading to the northeast this spring, and we are keeping an eye on where the Olympic torch will be traveling. We hope to see it, but we also want to be aware of possible traffic restrictions. For information on events occurring in conjunction with the Jubilee, check sites such as http://www.2012queensdiamondjubilee.com/ or http://www.thediamondjubilee.org/
Information on the Olympic events as well as route of the Olympic torch can be found at:
Please click the “Details” button for all the helpful details …
A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:
The English wake during the Regency had nothing to do with the ceremony which many people in westernized nations today observe in honor and memory of someone recently departed. In fact, wakes in England by the early nineteenth century were considered by many such profane and unruly events that there were many efforts being made to suppress them completely. By the time the former Prince Regent, George IV, died in 1830, at least a third of the wakes in England had been abolished or severely curtailed. Few survived past the end of the reign of his niece, Queen Victoria.
The origins and history of the English wake …
Horse racing can be an exciting aspect of a Regency romance novel. In today’s article, Cheryl Bolen gives us a brief overview of the origins of the sport and some historical details about some of the most prominent racing venues in England.
Laughing Gas at Landsdowne House by Angelyn Schmid
The third Marquess of Lansdowne was no stranger to the rich and famous that came to the great London house. His father had hosted Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790) when the latter came to negotiate the terms for American independence.
One who was credited with the discovery of oxygen, Joseph Priestley (1733 – 1804) ran tame at Lansdowne House as well, living off the largess of the first marquess when he was still Lord Shelburne.
A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:
The theatres of the Regency did not only glitter with the talents of the great actors who trod their boards. They also glittered with the presence of the many members of the beau monde who flocked to the nightly performances during the season. But more germane to the subject of this article, they glittered with light, all the time. The house lights were never dimmed during a performance in any theatre auditorium in Regency England.
Despite the many instances in scores of Regency romance novels I have read over the years in which the theatre house lights dim and some form of seduction ensues in the darkness, it could not have happened. It was physically and technically impossible to dim the house lights of any theatre auditorium during the years of the Regency. And theatre-goers would have been appalled at the very notion. They came to the theatre to see and be seen. The play itself was secondary to the performances going on in the stalls and private boxes.
Sense & Sensibility is 200 Years Old
Did you know that Jane Austen’s first book is 200years old?
Originally published in 1811, Jane Austen’s first published novel is now 200 years old and has been revered as a classic romance of manners. Becca from our friends at The Jane Austen Gift Shop in Bath, UK, has news about the book and a beautiful Special Leatherbound Edition.
An amazing announcement from the Bath Chronicle and read more of their article….
An unfinished novel which Jane Austen started writing when she was living in Bath has been sold at auction for £993,000.
“One theory is that the storyline was too close to home, too autobiographical. Also, she wasn’t particularly settled or happy when living in Bath. There were financial problems, her father died when she was living here, so it has been suggested that she had a lull in her writing when she was here because she wasn’t settled.”
The only surviving manuscripts of Austen’s completed novels are two draft chapters of Persuasion, which are kept at the British Library, her younger work Lady Susan, which is at the Morgan Library in New York, and Sanditon, which is at King’s College, Cambridge.
Ms Newton added that she was not surprised The Watsons had sold for such a large sum of money. She said: “Original Jane Austen-related artefacts would always go for a lot of money. There has been a recent surge in popularity and there is so much interest in her life and work. ……There aren’t many artefacts from her life, so these kind of pieces give us a real insight into how she worked.”
Experts believe Emma – the headstrong and independent-minded heroine of the novel – is based on the author herself.
Oooh, anyone who loves Regency history will want to go to Drury Lane Theatre and go
by Kristine Hughes and Victoria Hinshaw
Through the Stage Door is the UK’s first Interactive Theatre Tour at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Directed by Andrea Brooks with three professional actors, the history of The Theatre Royal Drury Lane is brought to vivid life as key characters, writers and actors from the theatre’s 300 year old past take you back through time as you look around this famous theatre. Since its construction in 1663 the theatre has triumphed over tragedy, fire, bankruptcy and even murder.
The Theatre Royal in Drury Lane opened in 1663, soon after the Restoration when Charles II returned to the throne. This ended Parliament’s puritanical rule which had seen all theatres in England closed, and the destruction of Shakespeare’s Globe. Now in a new and more fun loving age, Thomas Killigrew formed the Kings Company and built the first Theatre Royal Drury Lane, an important symbol of Britain’s theatrical reinvigoration following the barren years of puritan rule.
Since that first theatre there have been three more theatres built on the site of the original, in 1674, 1794 and 1812. The 1794 theatre was built by dramatist and radical MP Richard Sheridan. This was the biggest of all the Drury Lane theatres. It was in this theatre that an assassination attempt was made against George III . James Hadfield fired two shots at King George who was sitting in the royal box. Both missed their target. The would-be assassin was arrested, and George ordered the performance to continue. The 1794 theatre burned down in February 1809, a disaster which ruined Sheridan. There is a well known and oft told anecdote regarding Sheridan and the night of the fire, the following account is from The Lives of Wits and Humourists by John Timbs:
“On the night of the 24th of February, 1809, while the House of Commons was occupied with Mr. Ponsonby’s motion on the conduct of the War in Spain, and Mr. Sheridan was in attendance, with the intention, no doubt, of speaking, the House was suddenly illuminated by a blaze of light; and the debate being interrupted, it was ascertained that Drurylane Theatre was on fire. A motion was made to adjourn; but Mr. Sheridan said, with much calmness, that “whatever might be the extent of the private calamity, he hoped it would not interfere with the public business of the country.” He then left the House, and proceeding to Drury-lane, witnessed, with a fortitude which strongly interested all who observed him, the entire destruction of his property. . . It is said that as he sat at the Piazza coffee-house, during the fire, taking some refreshment, a friend of his having remarked on the philosophical calmness with which he bore his misfortune, Sheridan answered, `A man may surely be allowed to take a glass of wine by his own fireside.’
“Among his losses on the occasion there was one which, from being associated with feelings of other times, may have affected him, perhaps, more deeply than any that were far more serious. A harpsichord that had belonged to his first wife, and had long survived her sweet voice in silent widowhood, was, with other articles of furniture that had been removed from Somerset House, (Sheridan’s official apartments,) to the theatre, lost in the flames. The cost of building of this vast theatre had exceeded 150,000 pounds; and the entire loss by the fire, including that of the performers, musicians, etc., was estimated at 300.000 pounds.”
Theatre Royal Drury Lane is now owned by Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Company, and is used to stage musical theatre. The tour lasts approximately one hour, during which participants will meet characters such as the playwright Richard Sheridan, the great clown Grimaldi, the celebrated actress/mistress Nell Gwynne and many others who played an important role in the theatre’s history.
Tour Times: 10.15am and 11.45am – Wednesday and Saturday
2.15pm and 4.15pm – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday
The Beau Monde invites you into the Regency World of author Lesley-Anne McLeod, one of our original chapter members, as she talks about dance instructions from Button and Whitaker, St. Paul’s Churchyard, London.
Please stay and share a few dances at the Beau Monde.
In The Ladies’ Fashionable Repository for 1811, I found a few weeks ago a page titled “Button and Whitaker’s New Country Dances, for 1811″. It included some twenty-four dances, listing titles and brief instructions on the new movements.
The Spanish Cloak–Turn your partner round with the right hand, the second couple do the same, lead down the middle, up again, turn rouSt. Paul’s Churchyard had been throughout the 1700′s and into the mid 1800′s a center of musical retailing, along with its bookshops and book publishing. The reason for this, according to Sir John Hawkins (in his book The History of Music) was that “the service at the Cathedral drew together, twice a day, all the lovers of music in London..”
Button and Whitaker frequently published such collections of new dances. They also published booklets such as New Instructions for the German Flute, containing the easiest & most modern methods for learning to play, etc.; Pocket Collection of Favourite Marches; and Dr. Clarke’s Arrangement of Handel. Other of their titles included: 1816 Companion to the Ballroom; “Selection of dances, reels, and waltzes for the Pfte., Harpsichord, Violin, or German Flute”, No. 8,; and Opera of THE LORD OF THE MANOR, Written by C. Dibdin, Jun. It seems to have been a sizable operation, with a wide and voluminous production of sheet music.
Button and Whitaker also published a version of Thomas Moore’s Celebrated Irish Melodies, arranged for the Harp or Pianoforte; with introductionry, intermediate, and concluding Symphonies, composed by John Whitaker.
It appears Mr. Whitaker did a considerable amount of composing; one advertisment mentioned: “Paddy Carey; a celebrated Air; composed by Whitaker. Arranged as a Rondo for the Piano-forte…”
They also sold instruments. One mention of a boxwood clarinet by Button and Whitaker is still current on the internet. I’ve not been able to discover more information about their instrument sales as yet.nd.
Cheltenham Waltz–Turn three with the first lady, the same with the first gentleman, lead down the middle, four couple up again, and swing corners.
The dances and their names were charming but who, I wondered, were Button and Whitaker? Research was required–I never find it a hardship!
Button and Whitaker, I discovered, were among the premier music publishers and musical instrument sellers of Regency England. They were located in St. Paul’s Churchyard, according to Frank Kidson, author of the article Handel’s Publisher from Oxford University Press:
“At the North West corner, …was in 1731 located Peter Thompson at the “Violin and Hautboy.” The Thompson family with their successors, Button and Whitaker, held the business here until about 1830.”