I have a great treat waiting for me this year: “Picnic with Emma”, a historical dance. The theme is of course based on “Emma”, the novel by Jane Austen, published in 1815. It refers to the picnic at Box Hill that heroine Emma attends with her friends and neighbours:
“They had a very fine day for Box Hill … Nothing was wanting but to be happy when they got there. Seven miles were travelled in expectation of enjoyment, and every body had a burst of admiration on first arriving.”
Picnics first evolved in early nineteenth century Britain. They were regarded as a fashionable social entertainment, and each participant contributed a share of the provisions, to be enjoyed together.
Though a picnic was the pleasurable pursuit of the leisured people, it means that the participants were dressed for an outdoor activity not for an elaborate indoors assembly as a ball. Ladies would wear walking dresses and gentlemen would be seen in riding habits.
No ball gowns for the historical dance! Bad news for my red lace empire-style dress: It will have to stay at home. So I need a new costume, fitting the period and an Austenque picnic. Making one will be fun!
What to wear for a picnic in 1815? Continue reading
Dear Regency Enthusiast
With winter drawing to a close, it’s time to make plans for spring. How about a picnic in Regency attire? Surprise your friends by bringing Regency-themed decoration, e.g. beverage coasters. These useful items can easily be designed with a photo transfer medium.
The new exhibition “Take Your Favourite Period with You on a Picnic” by Jacques Kee provides ideas for designs inspired by the Romantic Age, and also a step-by-step tutorial.
Check them out at the latest exhibition at the Museum of Creativity and even try your hand at photo transferring yourself.
Click here to directly enter “Take Your Favourite Period with You on a Picnic”.
Enjoy the exhibition!
Anna M Thane
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
When the days are shortest, the golden light of candles and lanterns offers cosiness and comfort. This is as true today as it was 230 years ago. Actually, transparent lamps, candle shades, lanterns, and fire screens became a household-favourite form the late 18th century. They were called transparencies, and genteel ladies created them for festivities or to brighten the long, dark winter month.
Once, transparencies were made of thin painted paper or cloth. The translucent effect was achieved by mixing the colours with mastic varnish or burnt lined oil, and by applying a touch of spirit of turpentine to all things on the picture that should glow especially light, e.g. the moon, and illuminated windows. Popular ground colours were Prussian blue, Burnt Sienna, Verdigris and Ivory Black.
Today, we can cheat a bit by using our favourite photos, fresh from the inkjet printer. For this year’s Christmas Season I have created several designs for translucent paper lanterns – Austenesque, Gothic and Baroque. Check them out at the latest exhibition at the Museum of Creativity and even try your hand at paper lantern design yourself.
Anna M. Thane
Dollhouses are not for children. At least this is what the Georgians thought. When dollhouses first emerged in the 17th century, they were women’s play things, elaborate pieces filled with expensive or rare miniature objects. Only the rich could afford them. By the 18 century, dollhouses often were created as an exact copy of a person’s home, featuring even identical furniture.
Creating dollhouses is still a treasured hobby today. Among the most skilled creators are Caroline Hamilton and Jane Fiddick from Britain. They are also collectors. Their amazing collection of about 70 dollhouses is on permanent display at New Hall in Yorkshire. When visiting the exhibition this year, I couldn’t tear myself away from the charming settings. I was especially delighted by the many 18th century themed dollhouses. They feature scenes that could have sprung from a Jane Austen novel, and one of them is a copy of Newby Hall itself.
I have compiled a selection of photos of these admirable miniature buildings and their inhabitants for you to enjoy. Continue reading
I bought this lovely antique writing slope while being on holiday in England. Allegedly, it was used as a prop for Downton Abbey. True or hoax?
Dear reader, I need your help: If you have watched Downton Abbey and spotted this writing slope in the series, please let me know and tell me series, episode and scene/room in the comment field below. Your assistance is much appreciated, as I couldn’t spot the writing slope so far*.
About the writing slope Continue reading
The fashion of the 1750ies used to have the connotation of braids and lace for me. And that about covered my knowledge of the matter until a few weeks ago.
I then was invited to an event and quickly had to learn more about mid-18th century fashion: The event was a dance-workshop featuring dances of the 1750ies, and included a get-together of the participants in costumes of the decade. We were to spend an evening in fictitious Vauxhall Gardens, the famous outdoor pleasure gardens of London. We would enjoy dancing, concerts and entertainment by a comedy troupe. We were not requested to wear a ball gown. Any costume of the period would do. This is due to the special nature of Vauxhall Gardens in the mid-18th century. Continue reading
The Bicentennial of the Battle of Waterloo only a few weeks ahead, why not trying your hand at my Duke of Wellington-Quiz with 7 questions about Arthur Wellesley’s life. Mind you, it’s no easy task, and some battle experience is required to answer all questions correctly. Click here to go to the quiz.
This year, you can glamourise your Christmas tree with handmade baubles featuring your favourite Regency hero and heroine. Visit the new exhibition “Design Your Own Christmas Baubles in Regency-Style-Glamour” at the Museum of Creativity to find out how to do it.
Have a great Festive Season
Anna M. Thane
My next newsletter, “Secrets from the Desk of a Regency Novel Writer”, will be sent out in early August 2014. If you’re not on my mailing list and would like to receive it, please sign up for free by 31 July 2014, 6 p.m. (GMT).
The Newsletter features a little Regency Quiz and you can win this cute mug:
Additionally, there will be
- reviews of non-fictional books about the Regency period,
- information about Regency-related events around the world
- and exclusive access to my new Online Exhibition.
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