A Writer’s Travel Guide: 10 Facts about the Famed and Famous World of the Theatre

IntroGoing to the theatre was one of the most popular evening pastimes of the Regency period. It offered more than entertainment, laughter and drama: At the theatre, men and women could meet publicly in society, and classes would mix. Seeing and being seen was also part of the entertainment.
Though the theatre was popular, it was considered morally reprehensible by the conservative or pious. In Oxford, theatre groups were even banned from performing because of their allegedly negative influence on students. Continue reading

Gossip Guide to the Kingdom of Naples: Inside the Palace of Caserta

PArt 3 casertaFind in this gossip guide for the 18th century:

  • Palace, Pomp and Politics
  • The British Ambassador as Tomb Raider
  • Love & the Palace
    – Shocking: Emma and Nelson!
  • A King from France & the English Princess

Welcome, dear Regency Enthusiast, to a virtual tour of the Palace of Caserta. The palace is a grand building, and the heart of the government of the Kingdom of Naples and Sicily (learn more the kingdom as a travel destination for British travellers in the 18th century here and here). In quick succession, the palace is also the home of 3 royal couples, their British friends and visitors – and their scandals: Continue reading

Writer’s Travel Guide: The British and the Grand Tour to the Kingdom of Naples and Sicily (Part 2)

05 palaceFind in this travel guide for the 18th century:

  • The Antiquities Trail:
    – Herculaneum and Pompeii
    – Paestum
  • Practical Tips for Travellers
    – Where to Stay
    – Specialities
  • Danger & Annoyances
  • Money & Measurements

The Kingdom of Naples and Sicily became a popular destination for British tourists with the discovery and excavation of ancient ruins in the mid 18th century. The art found at Herculaneum and Pompeii sparked the European Neo-classicism: It was the motifs from these ancient ruins that featured on stylish furnishings in England.
Part 2 01 EinstiegArchitects, artists and their rich patrons braved the inconveniences of a long journey to see the celebrated ruins themselves.

In this part of ‘Writer’s Travel Guide: The British and the Grand Tour to the Kingdom of Naples’ we discover the famous ancient sites as a travel destination for Grand Tourists of the Romantic Age. Continue reading

Writer’s Travel Guide: The British and the Grand Tour to the Kingdom of Naples and Sicily (Part 1)

02 AntiquityFind in this travel guide for the 18th century:

  • The Destination: Facts & Figures
  • Getting There & Around
  • Things to See & Do in Naples
    – Neapolitan Dolce Vita
    – Balls, Suppers and Assemblies
    – Culture & Entertainment
  • Nature & Activities
    – Climbing Mount Vesuvius
    – Watersports

For British travellers, Italy was an essential destiny of the Grand Tour. However, most travellers didn’t go farther than Rome. Only the adventurous or scholarly continued to the South, to ‘The Kingdom of Naples and Sicily’. This was to change with the discovery and excavation of the ruins of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Paestum in the mid 18th century.

01 South ItalyEager to see the sites of Antiquity themselves, architects, artists and their rich patrons ventured down the long road to Naples, braving brigands, mosquitoes and heat.

  • How did they travel?
  • What would they see and do in 18th-century Naples?
  • Which sites would they visit?
  • Where would they stay?

With this post, Regency Explorer provides a travel guide to the ‘Kingdom of Naples and Sicily’ for travellers of the Romantic Age. Continue reading

Writer’s Travel Guide: Lynton & Lynmouth

In this post:

  • From bleak prospects to new chances
  • Exclusive to the bold and daring?
  • Poets and painters lead the way
  • Alarm! A radical at Lynmouth
  • Lynton and Lynmouth as settings of a novel – plot bunnies included

Bild1Reverend John Skinner shuddered as he looked at the narrow path ahead. The passage, just four feet or a meagre 1.2 m wide, was cut on the side of a cliff that descended steeply towards the sea. He dismounted his horse and continued his dangerous journey on foot, leading the animal behind him.
The Reverend enjoyed discovering the wilderness of Exmoor. In 1801 he reached Lynton and Lynmouth, two tiny villages on the North Devon coast. ‘To travelers not accustomed to a mountainous country, the approach to this place would have deemed impassable’, he noted in his journal. John Skinner was among the first who made their way to Lynton and Lynmouth to admire the view and dramatic scenery. More were to follow. And this was all because of the French.

Continue reading

Writer’s Travel Guide: The Jersey Connection

Mont Orgueil Castle on the Isle of Jersey (photo by Lady Dorothy)

Mont Orgueil Castle on the Isle of Jersey (photo by Lady Dorothy)

In this post:
– Working as an agent in the 18th century: Tasks and Methods
– Deadly Dangers
– A Thorn in Napoleon’s Side

Angelique Le Tourneur was a spy. She looked like an ordinary fisherwoman, and her little boat sailing from village to village along the French coast was loaded with fish. But Angelique belonged to a network of spies that was operated from the Isle of Jersey for 18 years.

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A Writer’s Travel Guide to London’s Bookbinding Trade

bookIn the Georgian age, the book trade flourished in London. Reading was a popular pastime. Books were often read to friends and family for entertainment. Until the end of the 18th century, newly published books were sold without a binding. A person who bought a book received only the printed paper with temporary sewing, a so-called “board”. He/she would go on to engage a bookbinder to have it bound to match his/her personal library.

A bookbinding of high quality would find admirers in highest ranks. Wealthy aristocrats and gentry were affluent enough to order specially designed books for their libraries. Their books collections were made to impress, and so the books had to be bound befittingly. Many quality bookbinding workshops were located in Westminster, in the vicinity of the tailors. Thus, a gentleman could conveniently order a new coat and a binding for a new book in one afternoon.
Continue reading

Writer’s Travel Guide: Anna-Maria Hunt and the Rescue of Lanhydrock House

In this post:

Lanhydrock houseLanhydrock House is located 3 miles from Bodmin, Cornwall. Today, the house is presented mainly on the basis of the events and owners of the Victorian age. But Lanhydrock House is well rooted in the Regency period and can tell you the story of Anna-Maria Hunt (1771-1861) and her arduous inheritance.

An Arduous Inheritance

Anna-Maria had always been considered the heir of Lanhydrock House, at that time owned by her uncle, George Hunt. In the eyes of the fine society, she was a lucky heiress, the aim of every fortune-hunter. But when her uncle died in 1798, she was confronted with a tricky testament and the strange humour of Uncle George:  He left her Lanhydrock, but also the shocking amount of £68,000 (£2.2m in today’s money) in debts. Uncle George’s money, his shares in mines, arrears from tin, copper and timber dues and even the furniture of Lanhydrock went to some distant cousins. Anna-Maria found herself with £100 with which to run the estate and only three people in service living in Lanhydrock: an aged housekeeper, her daughter and the gardener. Continue reading

People and Places of the Regency – A Writer’s Travel Guide

Dear Regency Enthusiast

IMG_1376The most entertaining way of doing research for your novel is by travelling. In many towns and historic houses you can still find traces of the Regency and its famous or infamous people. Visiting the right places is almost as good as travelling back in time to the Regency era. I went to many such places in the past years, and to give you an idea of what’s waiting for you, I have written a series of articles about the places, the related people and the history. Continue reading

Writer’s Travel Guide: Burton Constable Hall

In this post:

  • A gentleman who thought it possible to cross breed rabbits and chickens
  • A cabinet of wonders
  • The trial of a conspirator

Burton Constable Hall is located 3 miles (5 km) south-east of Skirlaugh, Yorkshire.

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Burton Constable Hall is famous for the “Cabinet of Curiosities” of one of its most remarkable owners, William Constable.

“Cabinets of Curiosities”, also known as “Cabinets of Wonders”, were collections of objects from natural history, geology, ethnography, archaeology, religion, alchemy and art. They became popular in the late Renaissance era. Originally, only royalties possessed the fortune and the opportunity to collect in grand style, but by the 18th century many gentlemen sought to acquire the latest scientific instruments and unusual objects from around the world. So did William Constable. His collection is today the most important scientific collection by a gentleman from the late 18th century that is on display in a country house. The collection is substantially intact and still has the original labels. (1)

If you visit Burton Constable Hall, the Cabinet of Curiosities is a must-see, but you will also enjoy the 30 rooms filled with fine furniture, paintings and sculptures. The exotic Chinese Room was inspired by the Prince Regent’s Royal Pavillon in Brighton. (1)
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