The Dark Days of Georgian Britain – a Guest Post by James Hobson

I am delighted to have James Hobson, author and former history teacher, as guest writer at Regency Explorer. In his book, “Dark Days of Georgian Britain. Rethinking the Regency”, James explores the lives of the powerless and the challenges they faced. He writes about corruption in government and elections, “bread or blood” rioting, the political discontent felt and the revolutionaries involved. It’s a treat for me to present James’s work about a little discussed field of research:

Rethinking the Regency: A description of terrible times and the people who had the courage to fight back

If you write a book with the expression “Dark Days” in the title, then it might be a good idea to reassure people that the book is not as bleak as it sounds. Well, I am afraid I can’t.

People seem to have forgotten, or do not know, that the period around the Napoleonic wars was one of the most appalling in British history. When there is a “worst year in British history competition”, 1816 is the latest year to be mentioned, and all the other competitors – like 1648 or 1347- are periods of epidemic disease or fratricidal civil war.

At first it made me angry that nobody had written very much about this aspect of the Regency and then it made me very happy. Continue reading

This is to the hero: Emma Hamilton`s ways to celebrate Horatio Nelson

It’s 1798. Admiral Horatio Nelson is on a mission to support the Neapolitan monarchy in Naples. He has already made a remarkable carreer, even if his greatest success is still to come. He is also marked by war: He has lost an arm and suffers from coughing spells. In Naples, he stays with the British Ambassador Sir William Hamilton, and his wife lovely Emma Hamilton.

A man on a mission falls in love

Continue reading

Cultivated Roses – a New Craze Begins

In this post:

  • A lady’s rose
  • the East India connection
  • Amateurs – a class of its own
  • The Chinese key to heaven

The rose is the national flower of England. It is, however, not the rose we know today that became the symbol of the country. The English rose – rosa gallica officinalis –was, roughly said, a wild rose. It was very popular in British gardens of the 18th century, as its fruits could be used as tea, marmalade, or as medicine (thus the alternative name apothecary’s rose).

It was only from the mid-18th century that natural philosophers and gardeners began to experiment with new varieties of roses that had been introduced from other countries. By the end of the 18th century, cultivated roses had spread throughout Europe, and with it a new enthusiasm for this beautiful flower.
Continue reading

Queen Caroline’s Scandals in Italy

Caroline of Brunswick (1768 –1821) had the misfortune of being unhappily married to George, Prince of Wales. The Prince refused to communicate with her, and permitted her to see her daughter only once a week. Being freezed out of Carlton House, Caroline set off for a long trip throughout Europe in 1814.

What seems to be a reasonable thing to do today was the beginning of a long lists of scandals in the eyes of her contemporaries. Her husband, trying to find reasons to divorce her, sent agents to spy on her, and her every movement was reported back to England.

Here is a list of the main scandals Caroline was accused of: Continue reading

My Historical Romance titled “Von tadellosem Ruf” is now available!

A merry romance set in Regency-England …

It is an unforeseen blow for Lady Linfield when her nephew Robert Rothleigh, the black sheep of the family, inherits the title of Lord Cavenham. Robert is infamous for having caused anything from gossip to scandal, and Lady Linfield had always wished him as far away as possible.

Immediate action is required to save the family’s standing and clear Robert’s reputation when he becomes the head of the family:

  • a marriage to a suitable wife of high moral standards,
  • the settlement of his debts,
  • and a handsome apanage.

All this Lady Linfield will take care of. But what if the chosen bride, Georgina Standon, has different ideas about her future? And will Robert comply for the first time in his life?

Soon, Georgina and Robert are embroiled in a swirl of incidents and misconception. The theft of a valuable necklace and an abduction put additional obstructions in their way towards a happy ending.

… for readers enjoying the novels of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer

Read an excerpt here.

„Von tadellosem Ruf“ is available in major Online-Shops in print and as e-book (ISBN: 9783744854313). The novel is written in German.

Wellington: A Hero, His Earnings, and His Score on the Marriage Market

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that a man in regimentals strongly appeals to the fair sex. When he is also famous, his favour with the ladies rises. However, it is his income that makes him a desirable husband, as the novels of Jane Austen point out.

How would national icon Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, have fared on the marriage market? Was he as sought after as Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy – or even more popular? Find out here – and don’t miss the video at the end of the post!

 

Continue reading

Unique Fans Related to Historic Events of the 18th Century

Hand-held fans of the 18th century were more than an accessory. They often commemorated political milestones, were a display of loyalty and patriotism, and celebrated popular social and scientific events.

For this post, I have compiled 8 fans related to historic events of the 18th century for you. Enjoy the beauty and singularity of the objects, and marvel at the craftsmanship.

Continue reading

Writer’s Travel Guide: The British Tourist and Napoleonic Milan

In this post:

  • How to get to Milan in the 18th century
  • Where to stay
  • Dangers and annoyances
  • Napoleonic sight-seeing in Milan

Travelling to Italy had always strongly appealed to the British aristocracy. Milan had been a favourite since Maria Theresia, sovereign of the Holy Roman Empire, remodelled the city in the second half of the 18th century: Milan featured lovely public gardens, and the fabulous opera house La Scala. But Alas!, visiting this splendid city came to a halt for British travellers from 1796 to 1814, when Napoleon had occupied Milan and most parts of Northern Italy. It was only after the Battle of Waterloo that British tourists could visit Milan again. One of the most famous tourists was Lord Byron, who spent two weeks in Milan in October 1816.

Lord Byron had always been an admirer of Napoleon. In Milan, he was lucky to get acquainted with the French poet Stendhal (Henri Beyle by real name). Stendal had been a secretary to Napoleon. Byron and Stendal met almost every evening for several weeks, and Byron questioned Stendal about his hero.

Some British tourists took a special interest in seeing the places of Napoleon’s power. Thus, locations connected with Napoleon became a curiosity for tourists. I have selected some of them for you in this post. Find out more about Napoleonic Milan: Continue reading

Robert Adam’s Bumpy Career Start

When budding star-architect Robert Adam returned from his Grand Tour in 1758, he needed to find clients for the glamorous style he had developed in Italy. He knew that only the very rich would be able to pay for the grandeur he designed. Thus, he and his brothers settled close to High Society. They set up their home first at St. James’s Place, then at Lower Grosvenor Street in London. It was most important for Robert to be regarded as a gentleman architect rather than a professional architect, as he feared that being the latter would lower his status to a mere craftsmen. Robert displayed the many sketches he had made in Italy in his home, while the drawing office was located at New Bond Street, ‘invisible’ for his clients.

It was difficult for the ambitious Adam brothers to find their first commissions. Aristocrats who hadn’t mind Robert’s company abroad in Italy weren’t willing to socialise with him in snobbish London. Eventually, two women were instrumental in starting the Adam brothers’ career.  Continue reading