Six Reasons Why You Should Take Part at a Jane Austen Ball

JA 1 Music fills the ball room. The English chamber orchestra The Pemberley Players strikes up. About 100 persons dressed in historical costumes dance the elegant formations of the opening polonaise, smiling and greeting each other. A glittering ball set in the Regency period begins: We are at the Grand Jane Austen Ball, pretending to have travelled in time back to Regency England.

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Jane Austen Bicentennial: The 12 Best Film Locations to Visit in 2017

2017 marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death. This is the perfect occasion for all Janeites and Regency Enthusiasts to make this year special for you by visiting the 12 best film locations of Jane Austen adaptations. The trip will lead you to the most beautiful places of England with lots of 18th-century history. Continue reading

Schedule your Regency year 2017: 29 Events to Go to for Janeites and Regency Enthusiasts

Dear Regency Enthusiast

Schedule you Regency year 2017! There are plenty of events related to the Regency period and the Georgian Age to enjoy. I have compiled a selection of 28 events, from architecture to theatre, announced in Europe, Australia, Canada and the USA.
As this year marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, Janeites will be especially busy. I have created an extra list for you for a quick and easy overview.  Continue reading

Adventures for Regency Enthusiasts: The Country House After Dark

Have you ever wondered

  • how dark it was in an 18th century country house after sunset?
  • what you can see in a room lit only by candles?
  • how it feels to enter a room illuminated by several crystal chandeliers?

You could arrange an experiment at your home by lighting some candles at night. But this wouldn’t quite reproduce the lighting conditions of a country house, as there are less gildings, reflecting mirrors and chandeliers in the average apartment of our times.

chateauI thus set out to experience a historic house after nightfall. My central question: What are the lighting conditions and how can a Historical Novel Writer depict them properly in a novel?
Let me take you to the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, a grand chateau in France. We will wander its rooms and enjoy its park adorned with thousands of torches.

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Making watercolour-paper as it was done in the Regency period

– A photo story about a traditional craft –

Mill startIn the Romantic Age as well as today, high-quality watercolour-paper for artists is the so called wove paper ready-sized with gelatine. This paper is still produced at Two Rivers Paper Mill in Somerset, England. I went there to learn more about this traditional craft. You can read about my field trip to their workshop here.

This is how the paper is made:

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A Traditional Craft: Making Watercolour-Paper

In this post:
The traditional making of watercolour-paper
Watercolour-painting’s Golden Age
Technical innovations at the service of art
How to use making watercolour-paper or watercolouring in your Regency Novel

Mill 1The pleasant village of Roadwater lies a couple of miles behind us, and the small road leads into a forest. We are on a field research trip to Two Rivers Paper Mill in Somerset/UK to learn about the traditional production of watercolour paper. Exploring the Regency period can be exciting – and might include loosing the way. We are about to turn the car, when we see a white building with a black slate roof. It is Two Rivers Paper Mill, built in the 1680ies. In the Georgian era, the mill was a thriving corn mill, known as Pitt Mill. Today, the mill is a centre of the traditional production of a paper that was vital for the latest trend in arts during the Romantic Age: high-quality watercolour-paper.
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Making a Gown for a Jane Austen Ball

reticule and fan 2The Museum of Creativity proudly presents “An Empire-Style Ball Gown Based on 21th Century Clothes”.

I cannot determine what to do about my new Gown”, Jane Austen once wrote to her sister Cassandra. This is a feeling many of us can sympathize with. If you are going to attend a ball set in the Regency period, figuring out what to wear, where to get it or how to do it yourself is no easy task.

I am going to go a Jane-Austen-Ball at the end of this month. As I can’t sew, I tried to make the ball gown from everyday clothes I had found in my cupboard. But halfway through roughing out a concept for a modest white cotton gown, I stumbled upon a dazzling beautiful red lace in an oriental drapery. Though I knew perfectly well that I haven’t the sewing skills to handle the lace, I bought it. Continue reading

Adventures for Regency Enthusiasts: Handling a Bird of Prey

In my post “Falconry in the Romantic Age”, I described that falconry was still practiced in the Regency period by gentlemen and ladies alike. Just as scriptwriter Andrew Davies, who used falconry in the movie adaptation of “Sense and Sensibility” to characterize Colonel Brandon, you might want to include falconry in your novel. You could create a thrilling hunting scene or have your heroine impress your hero with her falconry skills.

In the Romantic Age, Falconry was called hawking. To get an idea of how a character of a Regency novel would experience hawking, I took a discovery course in this noble sport myself when I went to England last year. I had pre-booked a half-day experience at The Birds of Prey & Conservation Centre at Sion Hill Hall, near Thirsk, Yorkshire. There are of course many other falconry centers in the UK, and also some country hotels that have similar offers.

A Falconry Experience

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Adventures for Regency Enthusiasts: Driving a Carriage

Many readers of Regency novels are fascinated by driving a carriage: It’s partly romantic, partly adventurous and in our accelerated times comfortingly nostalgic. Most people of the Regency period would shake their heads at such attitudes. To them, driving a carriage was mainly a means of transport and not even a convenient one: Stage coaches were crammed with passengers, accidents happened frequently, and to become sick in a carriage wasn’t unusual.

To find out how travelling in a coach felt like 200 years ago, you can visit the museum of travel and traffic, “Deutsches Museum Verkehrszentrum”, if you happen to come to Munich, Germany. There is a simulator of a historical coach waiting in Hall II. Climb in and experience the Regency period.

If you are really serious about researching carriages and carriage driving in the Regency period, there is a more hands-on option.
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Exhibition: How to Assemble a Ball Gown

In a couple of days, I will go to a ball set in Regency England. It will be a splendid event with Old English Country Dances, live music and participants in historical costumes. I expect it to be a great way to experience the Regency period, and I hope my novel will profit from it, too. There is, after all, more than one scene set in a ball room.

Before you can enjoy a ball, there is, of course, a lot to do. Most important of all: You need a costume. Challenge! From my experience with this special task, I created an exhibition for the Museum of Creativity.  Feel free to click here and have a look at the displays.

Best regards

Anna M. Thane