Gaming table in a country house. Would you hve dared to play Whist with strangers?
Whist was one of the most popular card games in Georgian England. It began its career as a plain game for common men. With the rise of the coffee houses in London, the gentry picked up the game. Reputedly it was Lord Folkestone who brought the game into fashion in high society around 1728, when he adopted it as a challenging strategic card game requiring good memory, sympathetic partnering and psychological acumen.
The rules of Whist were written down in Edward Hoyle’s “ A short treatise on the game of whist” in 1742. As early as this, methods of cheating were discussed. While Hoyle advocated fair play, the stakes at Whist could be high, and thus tempt many to force luck their way. Besides, cheating at whist is very easy. Continue reading
Like cars today, carriages were the subject of changing tastes and fashions. Stately carriages are an ideal object to study the influence of fashion on their design.
During the Baroque Age carriage where heavily decorated with symbols of power, such as figures of gods or animals representing power. In the Napoleonic Era a greater restraint and elegance became popular, it’s predominant artistic style being Neoclassicism. We will find out why in this post. Continue reading
Since the mid-18th century, England had been the centre of the optics industry, due to the work of instument-maker John Dolland (1706-1761). Dolland manufactured small ‘achromatic’ telescopes with high-quality lenses made of flint glass (instead of the inferior crown glass). His products were in high demand from astronomers all over Europe. This began to change, when a poor man’s son who had had a lot of bad luck in his youth, met the Bavarian Prince Elector. Continue reading
Imagine it is 1793 and you are a member of the Board of Ordnance in London. Your country faces war with Revolutionary France. There is an army, of course, but the number of muskets in stock is deplorable. It is the task of the Board to equip both the army and the navy with small arms and ammunition. Are you up to the challenge? Continue reading
In this post:
- The marvel of the panoramic scene wallpaper
- Technical innovations of the early 19th century
- Keeping the craft alive
Panoramic scene ‘L’Hindoustan’ in the Garden Room of Basildon Park / England
Wallpaper has been known since at least the 15th century. Starting as a rare luxury item for the elite, wallpaper became more popular in England at the beginning of the 18th century. By then, wallpaper had become a cheap alternative to tapestry or panelling. 1712, the government even imposed a tax on it. Despite the taxation the demand for wallpaper grew in the mid-18th century.
Most wallpapers had been brought to England by the East India Company from China, where Chinese artisans produced hand-painted, dedicated wallpaper for their rich English customers. By the end of the 18th century, producers in France specialized in printed wallpaper became an important competitor on the market. Continue reading
In this post:
– The movie
– New non-fiction books about Mary Shelley scheduled for 2018
– Frankenstein Events
The year 2018 marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus. We can look forward to a global celebration of Shelley’s work with a variety of exhibitions, research projects, scientific demonstrations, competitions, festivals, art projects, and publications. Continue reading
May I have the pleasure of this Waltz? It is the most controversial dance of the Regency Period. That the Waltz was considered scandalous certainly isn’t new to you. But there were more reasons than too much intimacy between the dance partners that made people turn up their noses at the Waltz. Among the despisers was e.g. Lord Byron who can hardly be counted among the moralisers of the age. So what was wrong with the Waltz? Continue reading
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.
The Plot of the Infernal Machine 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.
from left to right: infantry soldier (France, 1780); 95th rifles uniform (British, Peninsular Wars era)
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