We hope you enjoy Part 2 of Victoria and Albert Museum all Regency era fans will love.
Thomas Hope’s startling juxtaposition of styles included Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Indian elements, as well as his own version of the French Empire style. Classical sculpture and vases were displayed alongside modern paintings and sculpture. Most striking of all was the inventive and exotic furniture that Hope designed specifically for the house.
The Egyptian Room
The Egyptian Room was one of the most inventive interiors of its date in Europe. Here Hope displayed his belief in the importance of the ancient Egyptians to the origins of western culture.Mingling genuine pieces of Egyptian sculpture with exotic furniture designed by himself in an Egyptian manner, he also exploited his novel colour theories. The walls and furniture, he explained, were in the ‘pale yellow and bluish green of the Egyptian pigments, relieved by masses of black and of gold.’
The Statue Gallery
In the Statue Gallery, Hope placed his finest pieces of antique sculpture. The design was austere, with top-lighting, a coffered ceiling and yellow-painted walls. To avoid ‘interfering’ with the contour and purity of the white marble statues, Hope left the walls ‘perfectly plain’. Although Hope believed that many of the sculptures were Greek, they are now recognised as later Roman versions. In the past, critics decried these works as copies, but today Roman sculpture is seen as having value in its own right, as do the interventions of 18th century restorers. These restorations, seen in many of Hope’s antique statues, were the work of dealers catering for the Grand Tour market.
The Vase Room
There were four Vase Rooms at Duchess Street, in which Hope displayed his vast collection of Greek figured vases. The vases, he wrote, ‘relate chiefly to the Bacchanalian rites connected with the representations of mystic death and regeneration’. He therefore designed shelves and cabinets decorated with carved heads of the bearded Bacchus. Also, since many vases had been discovered in tombs near Naples, one room had ‘recesses, imitating the ancient Columbaria, or receptacles of Cinerary urns’. The exhibition features an interior that evokes the Vase Rooms at Duchess Street. The bronze lamp and mahogany display cupboard in this recreated interior came from the Third Vase Room, where furnishings ‘of a quiet hue and of a sepulchral cast’ matched the vases.
The Aurora Room
This theatrical interior was one of Hope’s most inventive and colourful creations at Duchess Street. Mirrors reflected the central feature – the statue of Aurora, goddess of dawn. The walls were hung with ‘satin curtains … of the fiery hue which fringes the clouds just before sunrise’, below ‘a ceiling of cooler sky blue.’ The colours used in the display are an attempt to reproduce faithfully the original decorative scheme. They are also based on surviving contemporary rooms, including those created by Sir John Soane, who visited Duchess Street in 1802.
Elaine, today’s Featured Beau Monde Author, is our current, and wonderfully efficient, Treasurer for the Beau Monde Chapter.
She is an avid historical romance junkie, with a special tendre for the Regency era.
A native of the Washington, DC area, she now resides in Nashville, TN with her husband of over 20 years. When not traveling domestically for her day job, Elaine and her DH like to travel to historically rich international locales.
Elaine debuted with Harlequin Historical Undone! this year with a sensual Regency romance trilogy.
Read about her series here : THE FORTNEY FOLLIES
An Imprudent Lady, February 2011
A Disgraceful Miss, March 2011
A Compromised Innocent, July 2011
You can find Elaine here –
At the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, there is a wonderful summary of fashion in the 19th century. There’s a snippet below and more is available at their site.
By the early 19th century men’s fashions had also undergone a radical change. The coat still finished in long tails at the back but was cut higher in front. The waist-length square-cut waistcoat showed beneath it. The lining of the shoulders and upper chest of the coat was sometimes quilted to improve the fit. In the early 19th century some dandies wore boned corsets to give them a small waist.
Gradually men adopted long trousers rather than knee breeches. Trousers became increasingly fashionable in the first quarter of the 19th century. At first they were only worn for day and informal dress but by the 1820s they were acceptable for evening wear. Breeches continued to be worn at court.
The tall hat from the late 18th century was still worn and developed into the top hat which was worn for day and formal dress throughout the 19th century. Hair was carefully styled into a windswept look or worn short and curled.
During the second half of the 19th century men retained the white waistcoat and black tail-coat and trousers of the early 19th century for evening wear. For day wear they wore a frock coat with straight trousers, a short waistcoat and a shirt with a high stiff collar. The single- or double-breasted frock coat fitted quite closely to the torso and had a waist seam. The skirts were straight and finished at mid-thigh or below. The front of the coat was square cut. Hair was still styled but by the late 19th century it was short and cut close to the head. Many men had beards and moustaches.
As the 19th century progressed women’s dress gradually revealed the actual form of the body. In the 1820s and 1830s the waistline deepened, returning to its natural position. As the natural waist returned the bodice required a tighter fit and in contrast the skirt became fuller and bell-shaped. There were several different sleeve styles but short puffed sleeves were generally worn for evening and long sleeves for day. Corsets continued to be worn. These were lightly boned and quilted, with a deep busk. Several layers of petticoats with frilled hems, sometimes of horsehair, were worn to support the full skirts. Some petticoats of the 1840s were feather-quilted. Later examples of the 1850s and 1860s were made of ‘crin’ and steel hoops. The term ‘crinoline’ is derived from the French word crin which means horsehair.
Bonnets or hats were worn outdoors and linen caps indoors. During the 1820s hair styles became very elaborate with raised top knots and the crowns of bonnets or hats were designed to accommodate them. By the middle of the century, by contrast, hairstyles had become smooth with a central parting finished with ringlets on either side of the face and a small bun at the back or simply swept back from the face to a chignon (a mass of hair arranged on a pad at the back of the head and held in place with a net or snood). Bonnets and hats continued to be worn until the 1860s when small, elegant styles appeared which simply perched on top of the head.
Shereen Vedam, a fantasy and regency author, is today’s Featured Beau Monde Author.
She has published several short stories but her one and only published regency short story (with no magic involvement whatsoever) is available for sale through The Wild Rose Press and is called To Capture Love. This short story has garnered some very nice reviews, such as this one :
Coffee Time Romance Review – Reviewed by: Maura – Sensuality rating: Sweet
I loved the way Pauline is able to live in both worlds, as a marriageable young woman of society, and as a very talented artist, all with the approval of her family. This is a great story that fans of this genre will definitely want to read.
Recently, one of Shereen’s unpublished novels (The Coven At Callington) was chosen as one of six semi finalists in Terry Pratchett’s Anywhere But Here, Anywhen But Now fantasy contest.
Set in 1815, Cornwall, England, this is a tale of a witch and a church guard who become entangled in Church politics and a battle with the fey. This light-hearted romance is an alternate-history fantasy that takes a quirky look at the strengths and weaknesses of love, magic and religious beliefs.
Find her at – Web
Free Franks: Some markings used for the Parliamentary Franking System in the U.K.
( Re-posted with the permission of our friends at earsathome.com)
The origin of the Franking System was a decree of the Council of State in 1652, by which correspondence to and from Members of Parliament and of certain State Officials was permitted to pass free through the post. The system lasted till January 10 1840, when the Uniform Penny Postage was introduced.
Abuses soon arose, and regulations were made at various times, about the number and weight of ‘FREE’ letters, the time and place of posting and the method and form of addressing them. In the early days of the system, the written word ‘FRANK’ or ‘FREE’, accompanied by the seal and sometimes the name of the person entitled to the privilege was all that appeared on the letter.
[The items used as illustrations are from our own collection but barely scratch the surface of a complicated study.]
|Manuscript “Free Geo. Bird?”at bottom left of cover.This entire is dated inside ‘Carmarthen March ye 10th 1760′ and despite its age the letter is perfectly legible and is as easily read as the address on the front. In it, the sender, John Rogers mentions a chirograph”.In the centre of the front is the two line ‘ CARMAR THEN’ stamp.
On the reverse is a Bishop Mark of 14 MR.
The London Office Stamps
|In the late 1780’s, more decorative types of ‘FREE’ marks began to be used.The initials which were incorporated into the marks were those of the surnames of the various Inspectors of Franks.
This piece is franked by Lord Grenville and dated July 2nd 1792.
|Detail of stamp|
|In 1791 three ring date stamps with initials were brought into use.This piece is dated AP 4 96 and has the initial ‘C’|
|At the beginning of 1800, a type of mark was introduced which showed ‘FREE’ on a crown and contained within a single rim. This mark, with some variations, remained in use until 1807.||This front bears a manuscript”London march twenty first 1800″ and is franked by Lord Inchiquin.|
|This entire has a single rim crowned circle free dated 6 De 6 1831 but the manuscript date reads “Selkirk Octoberthree 1831″.There is no apparent reason for this and it does not appear to have been detected.||In 1832, a mark was introduced for use on letters received on Sunday and posted on Sunday at the Chief and Branch Offices, consisting of a circle surrounded by arcs or scollops. There are many varieties of this mark, differing in size and the number of arcs. The use of these marks continued into the 1860’s.|
|The ‘additional’ stamp for each duty had a cross, differing in size and shape, below the date.||
There are varieties of the crowned circlemarks with the letter ‘O’ or ‘E’ below the date
This front shows an example of the ‘E’ type. The letter was addressed to Oxford Street, London, but was redirected to Dorking, which explains the use of the two free stamps. It has been suggested that the ‘E’ type was used on letters that arrived in London by train in the early afternoon.
|This piece franked by “Will” and dated May eighteen 1834 in manuscript, has the “SUNDAY” mark dated May 18 and with the curved figures in the year. The inner circle is 21mm, and it has 22 arcs around it. The single rim, crowned circle Free mark was applied on May 19th 1834.|
Some Dublin Office Stamps
|The mark shown on this piece was introduced in 1819. This example is dated 29 JU 29 1825. The type appears to have been in use until 1831.||A completely different shape was introduced in 1815 and remained in use till 1831.|
In 1832 a new type was introduced consisting of a two-ring date stamp with date symbols in the centre, FREE and DUBLIN in the outer band separated by two stars. This type is listed by Lovegrove as being in use from 1832-1835.
|Time coded stamps were in use from 1835-1840. The mark consisted of a crowned circle containing date symbols with code letter ‘M’ at the bottom for ‘Morning’. This piece is dated 29 AU 29 and the part manuscript at the top reads ‘twenty eight 1835′.|
|This front is as the previous mark but with the code ‘E’ at the bottom, for ‘Evening’.||This piece makes one wonder how on earth it was delivered. It was redirected twice as is seen by the three addresses and the three ‘FREE’ marks. Other marks on the front are the mileage mark of ‘STIRLING 20 MAR 1826 431 — E’ and Glasgow mark ‘G MAR 20M 1826′ plus a receiving stamp.Good luck to the Postman!|
SOURCE. Much of the information regarding these marks was taken from J. W. Lovegrove, Herewith my Frank, (KB Printers Ltd. 15a Alma Road, Bournemouth). The book runs to 100 pages of highly detailed information and illustrations and shows how incredibly complex the whole story was.
Read more about this at - Postal Information
Postage rates 1805-1839 within Great Britain
(Posted with the kind permission of the authors at earsathome.com)
There were two sets of rates in force during the Regency Period: under the Act of 1805 the rates were set for the cost of sending a single sheet letter. If a further sheet was enclosed in the letter the cost was double. If the letter weighed an ounce the cost was four times the base rate.
Although it is slightly before the Regency period, this letter written in 1800 is a good example. The sender has put a note on the front of the letter “Two Sheets inclosed”.
The postal official has written the weight 1oz (one ounce) and the correct postage due is therefore 4 times the base rate for the distance of between 60 and 100 miles i.e. 4 x 6d = 24d or 2/- (two shillings). Wisbeach was 89 miles from London.
The following tables show the stages of distance, the cost involved, and then an example of a town within that range, or a linked image of a letter bearing that charge.
Note: we have 29 letters dated between 1805 and 1812, some of them with inexplicable charges on them, for instance the Southwell letter of 1808. Sleaford was 117 miles from London so that would be in the 8d rate for a single letter. If this was a double letter it would therefore be 2 x 8d = 1s. 4d, but the charge mark appears to be 1s. 2d. If it had to go to from Sleaford to London (8d), then London to Southwell 9d the combined cost would be 17 pence or 1s. 5d.
|distance during 1805-1812||Cost in pence||Notes|
|Not exceeding 15 miles||4||a ‘one-horse stage’|
|15 to 30 miles||5||Leith/Haddington|
|30 to 50 miles||6||Tetsworth|
|50 to 80 miles||7||Dover|
|80 to 120 miles||8||Birmingham|
|120 to 170 miles||9||Derby|
|170 to 230 miles||10||Cardiff/Aberdare|
|230 to 300 miles||11||Newcastle-on-Tyne|
|for every 100 miles above 300||add 2d||Southwell|
Then in 1812 the rates were changed to the following :
|Distance during 1812-1839||Cost in shillings & pence||Notes|
|Not exceeding 15 miles||4d||Southall|
|above 15 less than 20||5d||Leatherhead|
|above 20 less than 30||6d||Cardiff to Merthyr Tidville|
|above 30 less than 50||7d||Luton|
|above 50 less than 80||8d||Chipping Norton|
|above 80 less than 120||9d||Dorchester|
|above 120 less than 170||10d||Bristol to London|
|above 170 less than 230||11d||Dartmouth|
|above 230 less than 300||1 Shilling (12d)||Redruth|
|above 300 less than 400||1s. 1d||Edinburgh to London|
|above 400 less than 500||1s. 2d||Glasgow|
|above 500 less than 600||1s. 3d||Aberdeen|
|above 600 less than 700||1s. 4d||Forres Scotland|
|above 700 miles||1s. 5d||Wick, Caithness|
- Payment of Postage in early 19th century (thebeaumondeworld.wordpress.com)
JL is a full-time writer, with over ten novels to her credit.
Among her hobbies she includes reading, practicing her marksmanship (she happens to be a great shot), gardening, working out (although she despises cardio), searching for the perfect chocolate dessert (so far as she can tell ALL chocolate is perfect, but it requires more research) and arguing with her husband over who the air compressor and nail gun really belongs to (they belong to JL, although she might be willing to trade him for his new chainsaw)
Find her at – Web and and Twitter @JL_Langley
( This article is re-posted with the kind permission of earsathome.com)
There was no compulsion to pay postage until the 1850’s, but the choice to pay or not was available right from the beginning of the postal systems.
What about the payment of one penny to the postman on the street?
In Frank Staff’s book, The Penny Post, 1680-1918, he includes an illustration of ‘A postman with a bell about 1820. The penny he received for taking the letter to the General Post Office was his perquisite.’
This was because it was not the usual practice, as there were so many Receiving Houses, both for the General Post, and for the London Penny Post, that it was easy enough to take your letter to the nearest one.
He also quotes from The Picture of London for 1805: Houses or boxes for receiving letters before four o’clock at the West-end of the town, and five o’clock in the City, are open in every part of the metropolis; and after that hour bellmen collect the letters during another hour, receiving a fee of one penny for each letter.
The bellman disappeared from London streets from the 5 July 1846, following a announcement by the Postmaster General that they were to be abolished. This illustration is of a British postage stamp issued in 1979 to mark the centenary of the death of Sir Rowland Hill.
Generally the head of the family would pay the postage on letters, whether it was sending the servant to the post office to deliver the letters written, or to collect the incoming letters. In Jane Austen‘s books there are many references to the mail. The Bennet family is in a fever of anticipation waiting to hear from Mr. and Mrs Gardiner after Lydia has eloped, and that comes in from the post office.
In the other cases letters are delivered by servants, or slipped into the hands of the receiver. Vicar’s daughters – as represented so beautifully by Jane Austen – would be unlikely to have money of their own so the father would have paid. It was generally accepted that the recipient paid the postage, therefore they would only write to someone they knew would be able to pay to receive it.
People likely to send paid letters :-
- Solicitors, who added the cost of postage to the bill – I have many such letters, listing the details of the accounts, in which Postage is quite a large amount.
- Commercial travellers would send it unpaid so head office would pay the incoming postage bills. I have a series of 40 letters from a commercial traveller in haberdashery from 1828-1832, written to his head office in London. The letters are posted from all over England as he drives out to make sales, and not one of these letters has been pre-paid.
However, some were less happy about paying postage –
this example was written by Mr Matthew Tate from Hull in the north of England, in 1837, and he sounds very irate he writes :
you may inform your clients that I will pay no more than I am indebted to them, the postage of letters I will not submit to pay, as they never post pay there letters to me.
He then adds this cryptic postscript.
P.S. you may inform them if they save a Loss they may perhaps catch a Louse.
(This article extract is posted with the kind permission of earsathome.com )
In 1774 the Court of the King’s Bench decided that delivery of mail must be free within the limits of a post town; but letters to or from places outside these limits had still often to be brought or fetched under local arrangements by means of village messengers, private servants, or carriers in the employ of local postmasters. Except in the case of certain small towns, not Post Towns, which seem to have been given a grant for the purpose, or where private servants were used, a charge for the conveyance of each letter was made, or else a fixed annual sum was raised for the village or district messenger.
The cost of posting a letter has to be seen in the context of the ability to pay. In some cases there would be no cost, if the family was able to send a personal servant to deliver the letter. Once the Penny Posts began to be set up in the provincial cities, from 1793, the benefits of the cheaper postage would have been felt by everyone. Between 1812 and 1815 there was a rush to open Penny Post offices everywhere. The fact that the one penny charged was not such a burden is proved by the profitability of these offices.
Take this letter from a desperate mother, where she seems to be requiring such a paltry sum to settle two of her children. Notice that she has mentioned 7d a week for a constancy for the daughter, and yet it cost 8d to send the letter to the solicitor in Highworth, 82 miles away.
31st December 1831
I sincerely hope you will pardon me for intruding a subject on you so much prohibited in your last to Mr B. but my great anxiety for my family instigates me to use every endeavour to promote their welfare.
The favour I have to solicit from you Sir is the loan of twelve pounds. If my request is complied with it will enable me to provide for two of my family my Son and a daughter whose health being very delicate will not allow her to leave home. On that consideration the person has given me an offer of allowing her (for a constancy) 7d pr week if I will pay her eight pounds which I should be most happy to do if possible but I have no other means of raising that sum.
I therefore most humbly solicit your kind compliance. My son also has an eligible situation promised if we can make him respectable in his appearance which I should be enabled to do with the sum before named and should I now be successful you may rely Sir on my not again applying to you till all that is due is paid.
I sincerely hope I may not be disappointed and I shall ever Sir, pray for one whose kindness will never be forgotten by your humble servant
Should you Sir comply with my request I shall feel obliged by your dropping a letter to me directed for me at the School of Industry Dalston Lane, Hackney
To put it all into perspective, here is an extract from “The Agricultural Labourer” by Peter Talbot-Ashby…
At the beginning of the 18th century in England, in most households it was necessary for the whole family to contribute to the production of an adequate subsistence and not simply rely on the efforts of a single breadwinner.
The labourer’s wife was usually a working woman, and children too were put to work at an early age. The children would be plaiting straw for several hours in the early morning, scaring crows, or weeding and picking stones from the fields.
The girls were expected to work alongside their mother in a variety of handicrafts and household chores, including sewing, weaving and feeding hens. The boys, from about the age of seven, as they became stronger, would be working beside their father 10 or 12 hours a day, doing a full day’s hard work contributing to the family budget.
To be employed in fulltime work was certainly not the normal practice, however. A few, usually unmarried and under the age of 25, might be engaged for a year as farm servants at a Mop Fair or hiring fair.
The majority of labourers were hired on a day to day basis as “wage labourers”, earning about one shilling a day (5p) in the 1700s, rising to about eight shillings (40p) by the 1830s. At harvest time work was plentiful and they could earn a little extra cash, but their day was not eight hours, as we know it today, but 12 to 15 hours of hard physical work.
In the 18th century, travel as we know it today was usually neither desired nor undertaken by the labouring classes, isolated in their village communities except for an occasional journey of a few miles to a nearby village or market town. Parish records show that many would be born, married and die within the confines of their small world, and our labourer would not have the level of national and world news that we enjoy today.
Yes, there were newspapers, but few agricultural workers could read or write.
(Family Tree Magazine, July 1995)
To read the full article, please go to – Postal information.
Letter Writing is today’s part of our Postal Information in the extended ‘Regency’ period, 1800-1835. (Courtesy of earsathome.com)
Published with permission of the author.
Related articles by the same author -
- Clothing in the Regency Period (thebeaumondeworld.wordpress.com)
Valerie, today’s Featured Beau Monde Author, is a PRO member of RWA and a former Vice President of the First Coast Romance Writers chapter in Jacksonville, FL.
She has a B.A. in English Language and Literature with a minor in History from Smith College and has been writing and editing professionally for nearly 15 years as a technical writer and editor at a computer software company.
She is a 2011 finalist in the Regency category of the prestigious Golden Heart® Awards and is professionally represented by literary agent Kevan Lyon of the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.
Find her at – Web and
At this time, the social classes were kept very much apart, and the ‘upper ten thousand‘ lived a totally different life from their servants, who were housed, clothed and fed in accordance with their employers whims and prevailing fashions.
For the aristocracy and the gentry, the distinguishing feature of women’s dress at the end of his reign was the enormous breadth caused by the width of the skirt and the extreme fullness of the sleeves. Unlike the very high-waisted styles of previous fashions, skirts began at the natural waistline and so appeared shorter, and this exaggerated the squat impression of the whole costume.
However, that is not the impression given by the illustrations below, as the general impression in these drawings is slender and graceful. When compared to the present-day fashions, they do seem long.
Hairdressing was very elaborate, the hair being built up from the head and crowned with flowers, feathers or jewelled combs. Fashion was still important, even if a Monarch had died, and during the mourning for George IV, black and white crepe flowers were used to decorate the hair in full dress, which was fairly simple, muslin being most usual, and when mourning was over, this was generally white.
If coloured, dresses were of one colour only, the favourites being rose, blue or lilac. Naturally, these fashions did not apply to the servants, although on the death of the King, they would have been dressed in some kind of black clothing to show respect.
Postage Stamp Booklet covers
The British Post office has issued stamp booklets with illustrated covers for many years, and they ran two series showing costumes through the ages. These three were designed by Eric Stemp, printed by Harrisons & Sons Limited.
Booklet issued on May 6th 1981 value: £1.40 Women’s costumes, 1800-1815
Booklet issued on Sep 30th 1981 value:£1.40 Women’s costumes, 1815-1830
Booklet issued on Feb 1st 1982 value: £1.55 Women’s costumes, 1830-1850
Posted with permission of the authors at The Ozzie Connection.
Miranda, today’s Featured Beau Monde Author, grew up in England before moving to New York City to work in Sotheby’s rare books department. After many years as a journalist and editor, she decided writing fiction was more fun.
She is the author of historical romances published by Avon, including the Burgundy Club series featuring Regency rare book collectors.
She lives in Vermont.
Find her at – WEBSITE
Barbara, today’s Featured Beau Monde Author, wrote her first story in third grade about apple tree gnomes.
After dabbling in neighborhood musicals and teen melodrama, she published a middle-grade fantasy when her children were young. Now her kids are adults, and she’s writing historical and paranormal romance for grownups.
She lives in Georgia with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays.
Take a peek at her books – BLOOD & MOONLIGHT, June 2011
NOTORIOUS ELIZA, Epic Winner!
- To Curse or Not to Curse by Barbara Monajem (thebeaumondeworld.wordpress.com)
Sally, today’s featured Beau Monde Author, writes the funny, hot, Regency-set Naked nobility series for Kensington Zebra.
Her seventh and final (at least for now) Naked novel, The Naked King, releases June 7, 2011 and she’ll be starting a new series for Kensington in 2012. A USA Today bestselling author, Sally’s books have been translated into Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Slovakian, and Spanish.
She graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of Notre Dame in the first class of women. She’s a Cornell Law School dropout, former federal regulation writer, recovering parent volunteer, and mother of four mostly grown sons. A native of Washington, D. C., she still resides in suburban Maryland with her husband.
Find her at – Website
Twitter or @Sally_MacKenzie