Rachel Charlotte Williams Biggs (c. 1763—1827) lived an incredible life in an age when the world was dominated by men. Joanne Major and Sarah Murden, dedicated historians and authors of several non-fiction books about the Georgian Age, have written an amazing biography about an extraordinary lady. In A Georgian Heroine: The Intriguing Life of Rachel Charlotte Williams Biggs, they uncover the bizarre but true story of Mrs. Biggs, who was a playwright and author, a political pamphleteer and a spy, working for the British Government. It’s a treat for me to present Sarah’s and Joanne’s post about Mrs. Biggs’ connection to the man who plotted to kill Napoleon.
Have you bought all Christmas presents already? If not, the new non-fiction releases of December 2017 might help you to finalize this task. The perfect gift for the Jane Austen fan in your family might be The Language of Jane Austen by Joe Bray, and those partial to dance could well be interested in Theory and Practice in Eighteenth-Century Dance by Tilden Russell. And don’t forget to get a gift for yourself.
New releases about the Romantic Age scheduled for December 2017
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
The uniform dress for the army became the norm in the mid-17th century. Styles and decoration depended on status and image of the troop, and the wearer of the uniform. In contrast to today’s camouflage, uniforms of the 18th and 19th centuries displayed bright and contrasting colours. The idea was to make it easier to distinguish units in battle, and to enable commanders to spot their troops on battlefields that often were obscured by smoke from cannons.
Uniforms for lower ranks
In the 18th century, uniforms for the lower ranks were often mass-produced. Uniforms usually had standard sizes and designs to make it easier to replace them on campaign. In Britain, troops were equipped with new uniforms once a year.
What to watch on TV after “Poldark“, “Love and Friendship” and “Victoria”? Shows and documentaries for Regency Enthusiasts are rare. But don’t despair: You can easily compile your own TV programme thanks to the internet. The World Wide Web has everything your heart desires, from the Napoleonic Wars to Georgian Era antiques.
Here are some suggestions and links for you: Continue reading
In this post:
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.
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
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.
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.
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