Dress for Excess: Fashion in Regency England, the fashion exhibition at the Brighton Pavilion this year, features a quilted printed (chintz) banyan, or men’s dressing robe worn over a shirt and knee breeches.
Susan reporting: A reader commenting on today’s post that featured the gentleman’s velvet breeches asked: “Everyone always wants to know where the pockets were in the garments. I have had people argue vehemently that there are no pockets in breeches.”
For the answer, I went back to Mark Hutter, Journeyman Tailor here at CW. His reply: there’s no definite right or wrong. Some breeches have pockets, and some don’t. Most likely the decision would be made according to the wearer’s personal taste.
Where are the pockets? They’re on the front of the breeches, never on the back.
On the pair of replica breeches, there is the front flap or fall, with buttons on the corners of the fall. On either side of the fall are button-through points, and the pockets are below that.
Mark says that he’s also seen a long, narrow pocket along one side seam called a purse pocket, with another button flap for security. For comparison, the boy’s breeches, right, don’t have pockets.
With the deadline looming for the Beau Monde’s Royal Ascot Contest, our amazing contest coordinator, Sarah Tormey, talks about MAKING CONTESTS WORK FOR YOU.
As an aspiring writer, I admit I have caught contest fever from time to time, and was always disappointed when my work did not final. I would stop entering and focus on submitting. After a year of this back and forth, I started to see the similarities between the judges’ comments and my rejection letters. Both pointed out similar flaws or problem areas.
This fall, after four months of spending every waking (and some not so awake moments) caring for my newborn son, I decided to enter a handful of contests to motivate me to keep writing. I needed something to me get back in writing mode and the deadlines helped.
But this time, I tried something different. I submitted one polished work and one first draft. And I also changed what I looked for in a contest. Instead of focusing on the final round judges, I looked for contests that featured trained first round judges (for the best feedback) and a reduced entry fee for subsequent submissions to avoid breaking the bank with contest fees.
Overall, I think my strategy worked. The polished manuscript chapters won one contest and I received a request for a full. In another, the same chapters did not even make the final rounds. But both offered great insights into how I could improve my writing. This was especially true for the first draft chapters.
I decided to enter the beginning of my first contemporary to see if I was on the right track. After all what could be better than a group of strangers sending me their honest opinions? Much to my surprise, I received an honorable mention and a request for a full from the final round judge. Going forward, I plan to submit all my working drafts to contests. The deadlines coupled with the stellar feedback have pushed me to write even on the days when I’ve been up all night with my teething baby.
In fact, I am so grateful for my contest experiences that I decided to return the favor by coordinating the 2011 Royal Ascot.
The Royal Ascot is a contest devoted to the promotion of Regency Romances by encouraging the development of authors who set stories in the Regency Period (and features both trained judges and a lower fee for subsequent entries). If you write Regencies (broadly defined as within the United Kingdom between 1780 and 1840) and are looking for stellar feedback from trained judges, this is the contest to enter. The deadline is April 1st and finalists will be announced the first week in May. If you do not write stories at least partially set in this time period, please help us spread the word to your friends, critique partners and writer’s groups.
For more information, please visit: http://www.thebeaumonde.com/royalascot/.
Sarah Tormey was a Mass Merchandise Sales Representative at Random House. Her job was to sell romances to chain stores like Target, Stop & Shop and Wal-Mart. Sarah is now pursuing her dream of writing romance novels. To read excerpts of her work and her blog, visit
Posted with permission of the author.
It’s the week we’ve all been waiting for! Doesn’t last November, when we cautiously and optimistically FedEx’d our bulging packages full of manuscript copies and binder clips goodbye on the crisp autumn breeze, seem SO long ago?On Friday, the calls go out from RWA to the winners of the Golden Heart Contest for unpublished writers. I’m very excited because this year, I know so many more people who are “going for the gold” thanks to Cyndi D’Alba setting up a loop for a bunch of us who entered. Plus, I have friends who are anxiously (or not so anxiously) holding their breath.
- Miranda Liasson
- I am a writer of Regency historical romance currently working on my third manuscript. Please join me as I blog about research, craft, community, and the road to publication. I am co-vice president of my local RWA chapter and a reviewer for The Season website and blog.
I’ll be following the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood all week. They are posting GH-related topics all week. Today’s was “T-minus Four and Counting to Golden Heart Day.” http://www.rubyslipperedsisterhood.com/
It was a great hoot to follow their blog last year where they celebrated with everyone’s announcements as they happened, and the winners often stopped in to say hi and give their reactions.
To the friends I know who entered, GOOD LUCK!!!
See you all on Friday–I am going to stock up on my secret chocolate stash for fortitude!
Posted with permission of the author.
The Jane Austen Centre is a permanent exhibition which tells the story of Jane’s Bath experience – the effect living there had on her and her writing.
Who wants to go? I do!
So come and have a look with me.
Jane Austen is perhaps the best known and best loved of Bath’s many famous residents and visitors. She paid two long visits here towards the end of the eighteenth century, and from 1801 to 1806 Bath was her home. Her intimate knowledge of the city is reflected in two of her novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, which are largely set in Bath.
The city is still very much as Jane Austen knew it, preserving in its streets, public buildings and townscapes the elegant well-ordered world that she portrays so brilliantly in her novels. Now the pleasure of exploring Jane Austen’s Bath can be enhanced by visiting the Jane Austen Centre in Gay Street. Here, in a Georgian town house in the heart of the city, the visitor can find out more about Bath in Jane Austen’s time and the importance of Bath in her life and work.
The Exhibition Information about the Centre’s permanent exhibition
The Regency Tea Rooms Award winning Tea Rooms up on the 2nd floor of the Centre
Jane Austen Walking tours Take a magical trip around the city with us
Jane Austen Quiz Test yourself with our online quiz
Free e-newsletter Keep up to date with the latest Jane Austen news.
A while ago on my ongoing series about nineteenth century heroines, we talked about Caroline Herschel, who learned astronomy from her famous brother, William Herschel (he discovered the planet Uranus, though he wanted to name it George), and went on to make many discoveries of her own. The nineteenth century was the time of the Grand Amateur—men and women who, by interest, ability, and fortune, made major contributions to the sciences like astronomy. There was something noble about discovering something new, whether it was a planet or the internal workings of a combustion engine.
Discovery wasn’t, however, easy.
In astronomy in particular, the tools were still plagued with difficulties. Many astronomers still studied the heavens through little more than spy glasses. Most available telescopes involved refracting light through carefully crafted glass lenses rather than reflecting it through mirrors. These lenses sometimes gave their images a colored glow about the edges, making it hard to observe some celestial phenomena. Telescopes that did reflect the light used speculum, metal made from bronze and silver to create a mirror-like substance. Unfortunately, it tarnished easily and distorted the image.
In his quest for better viewing equipment, William Herschel learned to grind his own lenses, coat his own mirrors, and make his own telescopes. He started with smaller scopes, like this 7-footer . . .
then graduated to larger ones like this 20-foot goliath.
His skill was so great that other amateurs, including the King of Spain, commissioned scopes from him. Through a grant from King George III, he built a 40-foot-long telescope with a 49-inch mirror at his home in Slough, near Windsor, in what would be called Observatory House. It was the largest telescope in the world at the time, and a source of many visitors, until the Earl of Roth, an Irish peer, build a larger scope in 1845.
But even these mammoth scopes had problems. They were often mounted in such a way that turning them was difficult. If you were lucky, the dais on which they were built could be hand-cranked to swivel the telescope both horizontally and vertically, but this positioning could take hours or days. So basically you could watch a single slice of sky on a given night with a larger scope, which was not conducive to scanning the skies for anomalies or hunting comets.
And why would you want to hunt comets, you ask? That was one of the most exciting aspects of astronomy, your chance to make a name for yourself, to go down in history. All comets discovered during the early nineteenth century were first sighted with the naked eye, so anyone could get into the game.
Posted with permission of the author.
I love peeking into Jane Austen’s World to see the latest on Regency Fashion. Whenever there is an opening, I’ll post another fascinating item.
Todays is a Banyan. Enjoy!
Regency Fashion: Banyan, a man’s dressing gown
When at home, a gentleman would change into an informal knee-length dressing gown known as a banyan, and wear it around his family at breakfast, playing games, such as cards or backgammon, and while reading in his library or writing letters. One can readily imagine Mr. Bennet wearing a banyan in his study, and most definitely Mr. Woodhouse (image below), as he sat by the fire reading a newspaper.
The banyan was a loose, full kimono style in the early 18th century, but later evolved into a more fitted style with set-in sleeves, similar to a man’s coat. It was known as an Indian gown, nightgown, morning gown, or dressing gown. First used as a type of robe, it was originally worn for leisure and in at-home situations; but came to be worn as a coat out-of-doors, in the street, or for business. Many gentlemen had their portraits made while wearing banyans. They were made from all types of fabrics in cotton, silk, or wool (Cunningham, 1984).
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.”
Here is a thing of beauty! This Regency gaming table went on sale as part of the contents of Ashdown House, auctioned off at Sothebys last year. As you can see from the chequerboard top, it was designed for games such as chess or draughts but could also be used for cards games like faro, piquet and whist. If you click on the picture on the left you will see that the squares contain pictures of country scenes and that the surround also shows leaves and rosettes and flowers. It’s exquisite!
Many gaming tables I have seen are made of wood, mahogany being the most popular choice, with brass decoration and rosewood veneers. They could double up to serve as a tea table, a writing desk or even a needlework table. Some of them open up so that the cards – or needlework – can be stored in the space beneath. I’ve seldom seen any as pretty as this one, though, and would gladly give it house room. I hope you like it too!
The 2011 Royal Ascot Contest Deadline is April 1st!
This year, the contest will feature trained first round judges and a panel of Final Round judges including three editors and three agents.
For additional details, visit the website at: http://www.thebeaumonde.com/royalascot/
Final Round Judges Panel include:
- Selina McLemore, Senior Editor at Grand Central Publishing
- Jessica Faust, Bookends Literary Agency
- Kevan Lyon, Marshall Lyon Literary Agency
- Elizabeth Bistrow, Editor at NAL
- Deborah Nemeth, Editor at Carina Press
- Rebecca Strauss, McIntosh & Otis Literary Agency
Contests are a great way to get feedback on a new project as well as get your work in front of an agent or editor.
If you have any questions, email our contest coordinator -firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted with permission of the author.
The Beau Monde, a specialist chapter of Romance Writers of America, welcomes you to our Regency World.
Hope you enjoy your visit here and come back often.
And please, don’t forget to visit the Where We Are page so you can visit our fascinating web pages, ’Like’ our Face Book Page, and to follow us on Twitter.
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