The Origin of Now, Part 4

detail-neuAbout 250 years ago, science spread into the world and everyday life. People asked how scientific progress and inventions could make life better and easier. They set out to develop and pursue new ideas. Some of these are still around today. In the fourth part of my series, we discover how the invention of a Scottish mechanical engineer changed the office world forever.

The Letter Copying Press and Mr Watt’s Secrets Recipes for Ink and Liquor

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A Time Traveller’s Adventure: At the Opening of Norfolk House

music-room-ceilingDear Regency Enthusiast

Let’s leave the Romantic Age for one glamorous evening and go to the mid 18th century. We shall discover one of the major society events of the year 1756: The opening of Norfolk House in London.

Follow me to ‘All Things Georgian’, the brilliant website of Sarah Murden and Joanne Major, history detectives and acclaimed authoresses. Sarah and Joanne kindly feature my guest post about a grand event and 6 tips to succeed there as time travelling guests of the Duke and Duchess of Norfolk.

Please click here to go to the post and find out more.

Best regards,

Anna M. Thane

The World of Fashion in the 18th Century – Part 1: Accessories for Gentlemen

1798 Dress SwordCourt suits, breeches and waistcoats of the 18th century are highly aesthetic. They are, however, incomplete without the matching accessories. Therefore, stockings, dress swords, watches, buttons, etc. are in the spotlight of today’s post. I have compiled a selection of photos of these beautiful fashion items, so follow me to the world of accessories for gentlemen. Continue reading

The Evolution of the Waistcoat in the 18th Century

1795-98 Court suit waistcoat detail

Elaborately embroidered waistcoat of a court suit

A gentleman wasn’t properly dressed without a waistcoat. A waistcoat was a highly elaborate piece of clothing and allowed to show off exquisite taste in fashion. The garment itself was the subject of fashion trends. You would of course suppose that its decoration varied throughout the 18th century. But did you know that the cut changed significantly, too? Learn about the styles of waistcoats throughout the decades in this post. Continue reading

The Origin of Now (Part 3)

Governable parachuteThis series is dedicated to inventions, ideas and concepts developed during the Romantic Age that shaped our modern world. With the second scientific revolution, a series of breakthroughs in science led to the idea that scientific progress could make life better and easier. Inventive individuals set out to pursue new ideas (also see part 1 and part 2 of this series). One of them was Sir George Cayley (1773-1857). Follow me back to the 1790ies to find out how his dream of flying laid the foundation of today’s aviation.

The Man Who Understood Why Airplanes Fly

Sir George Cayley sketched his first flying machine aged 19, in 1792. Continue reading

12 Facts about Prisons & Punishment in the 18th Century

RE PicToday’s blog post is different: I am going to direct you to the intriguing website of Naomi Clifford, acclaimed author of the Regency-set non-fiction book “The Disappearance of Maria Glenn”. At her excellent blog you can find true-life glimpses of life, love and death in the Georgian Age.

Naomi kindly agreed to publish my first ever guest post about 12 things to remember before starting a criminal career in the 18th century.

Please click here to go to Naomi’s site and find out more.

Best regards

Anna M. Thane

Fabulous Fashion Item: A Brief History of the Hand-held Fan

Palmette fan from 1680. The elements of the leaf are made of silk fixed on cardboards and are painted with gold and silver.

Palmette fan from 1680. The elements of the leaf are made of silk fixed on cardboards and are painted with gold and silver.

This post celebrates a fabulous fashion item: the hand-held fan.
From a ceremonial tool used in churches it developed into a must-have accessory of the high-society. Designs and materials varied with politics, social changes and fashion. Still, the fan always was an object of breathtaking beauty.
Enjoy the photos and the brief overview of the history of the fan in England. You can click on the photos to enlarge them.

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The Origin of Now: Part 2

GesamtOur modern world was born in the 18th century. Numerous inventions, ideas and concepts developed during the Romantic Age can still be found in our everyday life. In the previous part of this series I had presented roller skates, the steel pen and the financial instrument ‘pfandbrief’ as brainchildren of the 18th century. Today, we discover how a chef and a baronet shaped our world. Continue reading

Burn after Reading: Spying Secrets of the Regency Period – Guest Post by Sue Wilkes

I am delighted to have Sue Wilkes, acclaimed author of several social history books and family history guides, as guest writer at Regency Explorer. In her newest book, Regency Spies, Sue explores the secret histories of Britain’s rebels, radicals and revolutionaries during the Regency period. It’s a treat for me to present Sue’s insightful post about spies and revolutionaries’ secret means of communication:

Shoe, Code & Coach: Spying Secrets

Republican cleric Dr. Richard Price spying on Marie Antoinette at Versailles as she is assailed by ruffians. Isaac Cruikshank, c.1790. Courtesy Library of Congress.

Republican cleric Dr. Richard Price spying on Marie Antoinette at Versailles as she is assailed by ruffians. Isaac Cruikshank, c.1790. Courtesy Library of Congress.

The Regency era was one of great paranoia and suspicion. Britain was at war with France, and Ireland was a hotbed of rebellion. So this was a busy time for the government’s spies on the domestic front as well as abroad.

Rebels knew that their mail was likely to be intercepted, so they went to great lengths to circumvent the authorities. Assuming an alias was an obvious trick. Messages between groups were conveyed face-to-face, or letters were sent by trusted couriers. In the late 1790s, it was reported that at least one dissident Irishman took secret messages from England to Ireland using a secret compartment in one of his shoes. The letter was placed in the cavity, and covered in strong paper to protect it. Then the sole of the shoe was sewn back on again. Continue reading

The World at Home: Furniture Fashion in the Romantic Age

Roman chair

Chair in Grecian Style (Palace of Caserta, Italy)

The Romantic Age saw a quick succession of trends in furniture fashion. These trends had one thing in common: They were inspired by foreign cultures, and often sparked by exploration and discoveries.
Travelling was expensive. Doing the Grand Tour to see the art treasures of France and Italy was only for the rich. Decorating a room with furniture in the style of the ancient Greek and Roman civilisations demonstrated wealth and education. Later in the age, wars and the Continental Blockade put a stop to private travelling. Nevertheless, furniture inspired by distant countries brought an exotic touch to the home.

Which style was fashionable in which decade of the Romantic Age? When would the hero of a Regency novel buy furniture inspired by the Egyptian culture? Would the heroine be likely to sleep in a lit à la polonais in 1812? Here is a small, chronological exhibition to answer these questions. Continue reading