Tag: Furnishings


It’s Not Your Grandfather’s Clock

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

Well, by now, it might be. But there were no grandfather clocks anywhere during the Regency because the song by which they acquired their name had yet to be written. However, by the beginning of the Regency, nearly every affluent household, and some more prosperous middle-class households, were in possession of a very expensive, free-standing clock in a tall wooden case resembling a coffin.

This symbol of prosperity would begin to loose its status even before the debut of the song which changed its name. By the beginning of the reign of William IV, brother of the erstwhile Prince Regent, the Industrial Revolution had set its sights on that most complicated device, the clock. From about 1830, most clocks were no longer made by hand, they were made by machine. Other technological factors had also come into play which reduced the consequence of these once purposeful clocks.

The development and importance of the long-case clock during the Regency and how its name was changed …


Grosvenor House — Regency Treasure House   By Angelyn Schmid

Though it no longer stands, during the Regency, Grosvenor House held one of the finest collections of paintings in all of England. In today’s article, Regency romance author, Angelyn Schmid, shares her research into this remarkable house and the extraordinarily wealthy family that owned it, and the surrounding property. The question is, once you have read Angelyn’s article, would you want to live in this house?


The Regency Had No Wallpaper

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

Which is not to say that there were not many walls in many buildings throughout the Regency which were not covered with decorative paper. But not one scrap of that paper was called "wallpaper" during the Regency for the simple reason that the word "wallpaper" did not come into use until 1827, long after the Regent had become King George IV.

What were these papers called, who made them, how were they made, how were they used and where were they sold?


When Carpets Answered Ceilings

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

Though it is seldom, if ever, done today, there was a time when grand rooms in fine homes were designed so that the carpet on the floor mirrored the design painted or carved on the ceiling. This practice had begun in Europe by the mid-seventeenth century, but it reached its peak in England in the late eighteenth century. However, the practice did continue during the Regency, which is, of course, why it finds mention here.

The whys and hows of matching ceilings and carpets …


Cube and Double Cube Rooms:   Harmonics and Agreeables

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

How many of us would notice the proportions of any room we might walk into today? Even if the room shouted out its dimensions as we crossed the threshold? If it did, would we care? Yet, many people in the Regency, especially those among the beau monde, would have been well-aware of the proportions of a certain type of room, typically found only in the grand town houses and the great houses on country estates.

The axioms and arithmetic of cube rooms …


Organizing My Home Office by Cheryl Bolen

Do you have a home office where you do most of your writing? Do you sometimes wonder how other authors set up their home offices? Then, today, you are in luck. Cheryl Bolen, award-winning Regency romance author, tells us how she has set up her home office. Those of you who are not committed technophiles will find some very clever, but functional, low-tech solutions in Cheryl’s article.


Soap in the Regency — Bar or Barrel?

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

Over the years, I have read dozens of Regency romances which include a scene in the bath. The hero may or may not be present while the heroine bathes, but one thing which is always close at hand is a bar of soap. Yet during the Regency, bar soap was extremely expensive, used only by the affluent classes. Bar soap, something so ubiquitous today we take it for granted. Yet, it was only in the last decade of the eighteenth century that a French chemist patented a method of making bar soap which should have helped to reduce the cost, making it available to more people. Before that time, those of modest means were more likely to use the less expensive soft soap.

A brief history of how soap lathered its way to the Regency …


Benjamin Franklin’s Favorite Invention

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

The Glass Armonica.   Franklin always said that of all of his many inventions, this musical instrument, which could produce the pure dulcet tones of an angelic choir, was his very favorite. He got the idea while in London, as a representative of the Pennsylvania Legislature to Parliament in the late 1750s. He attended a concert at which music was played on a set of water-tuned wine glasses. He was captivated by the sound, but having an inventive turn of mind, he sought a more efficient and convenient method by which to produce it

Franklin introduced his invention in England in 1762, less than two years after George III had become king. Though he had originally dubbed it the "glassychord," he later changed the name of this instrument to the "glass armonica." In England it was also known as the "glass harp" or "musical glasses." Like Franklin himself, this instrument was very well received and it is estimated that more than four hundred musical works were composed for it. Over the course of the next seventy years at least five thousand instruments were constructed and played throughout Europe and America. Yet, by the death of George IV, it had almost completely disappeared from the musical scene.


The Golden Glory of the Amber Room During the Regency

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

For nearly two and a half centuries, the stunning achievement of the Amber Room stood as one of the world’s most exquisite works of art. Conceived and originally constructed in Prussia, it was soon thereafter presented to one of the most enlightened and forward-thinking of the Russian Tsars. There it was expanded and enhanced by his successors until it ranked as one of the wonders of the world and a powerful symbol of the glory of Mother Russia. It reached the apotheosis of its design and ornamentation scant decades before the Regency, and was famous across the Continent, indeed, the world, as a treasure beyond price. It survived Bonaparte and his invasion of Russia, yet like the Royal Hanoverian Creams, what Napoleon could not destroy, the Nazis ultimately did. But during the Regency, visitors to Russia with entrée into royal circles would have had the opportunity to behold this magnificent masterpiece.

The Amber Room, from its conception to the Regency …


The Regency — The Apotheosis of the Sideboard

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

In the opinion of many art historians, myself included, it was during the decade of the Regency that the sideboard reached the pinnacle of its design and craftsmanship. Regency sideboards were elegant, graceful, but highly functional furniture forms, not equaled before or since.

But this board at the side of the table had been in use for centuries before the decade of Regency and would continue in use right up to the present day. What was so special about the sideboard in the Regency?


Regency Furniture – What did they do with it?

Regency Furniture can be a real puzzle. What did they do with it?

Can you answer The Beau Monde’s  questions about furniture? eg  What is a Canterbury? What does it do?

Have you ever begun to research one thing and curiosity leads you to other places, people, or objects? How good is your Regency era knowledge?

Bonhams Auction is selling a Mahogany Canterbury, plus lots of other intriguing items sure to stir the imagination of all Regency romance authors. Some items could certainly be used to provide comic relief.


Marie – Antoinette’s Turkish Taste at the Frick Collection

Following on from our last exploration of the what every historian ‘Must See’ when in New York City for the Romance Writers of America conference, we take another peek at the Frick CollectionTurkish Taste at the Court of Marie-Antoinette will be exhibited from June 8, 2011, through September 11, 2011.

Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (1746–1828), The Anglers, 1799, brush and brown wash on paper, The Frick Collection

Turquerie, a term that came into use in the early nineteenth century, referred to essentially anything produced in the West that evoked or imitated Turkish culture.

It was during the late eighteenth century at the court of Marie-Antoinette that the Turkish style reached new heights, inspiring some of the period’s most original creations, namely boudoirs or cabinets decorated entirely in the Turkish manner.

The King at War: Velázquez's Portrait of Philip IV

Or for those interested in earlier periods of history, In a New Light: Bellini’s St. Francis in the Desert is displayed through August 28, 2011.


Thomas Hope’s Regency Style from V & A Museum – Part 2

We hope you enjoy Part 2 of  Thomas Hope & the Regency style , as the Beau Monde continues to discover parts of the 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.

Greek krater-style copper vase patinated to imitate bronze, designed by Thomas Hope, England, 1802-03. Museum no. M.33-1983

Greek krater-style copper vase patinated to imitate bronze, designed by Thomas Hope, England, 1802-03. Museum no. M.33-1983

‘The Statue Gallery’, Plate 1, ‘Household Furniture & Interior Decoration’, by Thomas Hope, London, 1807. NAL Pressmark 57.Q.1'The Statue Gallery', Plate 1, 'Household Furniture & Interior Decoration', by Thomas Hope, London, 1807. NAL Pressmark 57.Q.1

‘The Vase Room’, Plate 4, ‘Household Furniture & Interior Decoration’, by Thomas Hope, London, UK, 1807. NAL Pressmark 57.Q.1'The Vase Room', Plate 1, 'Household Furniture & Interior Decoration', by Thomas Hope, London, UK, 1807. NAL Pressmark 57.Q.1

'The Aurora Room', Plate 7, 'Household Furniture & Interior Decoration', by Thomas Hope, London, UK, 1807. NAL Pressmark 57.Q.1

‘The Aurora Room’, Plate 7, ‘Household Furniture & Interior Decoration’, by Thomas Hope, London, UK, 1807. NAL Pressmark 57.Q.1

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.


Regency Gaming Table


Regency Gaming Table

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!

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