Fans are so much more than fashionable accessories: They are useful for flirting, can cool heated cheeks or hide an unladylike emotion. In the wake of the Napoleonic War, their usefulness was boosted beyond the known limit when fans were made for spying, i.e. discretely observing the surrounding or other persons. I found some examples of these extraordinary devices when I visited the exhibition “Waterloo: Life & Times” of the Fan Museum in Greenwich, UK.
Playing with a top and skittles was popular in the 18th century. Children and grown-ups alike tested their skills at a game called “The devil among the tailors”. The 18th-century game is different from today’s version that is still around in some pubs in Britain. It is much larger, and you need more skills to score points. How was it played? And what’s in a name?Continue reading
The bright yellow winter aconite provides welcome colour to British gardens early in the year. Winter aconite blooms as early as January, and grows en masse under trees. The 18th-century fashion for landscape gardens brought the little plant into fashion. Continue reading
If you were a time traveller in 1821 longing for a good read, what would be your options?
Check out my list of popular fiction and non-fiction releases. I have added links to online versions of each book, so you can actually read like its 1821!
Bonus feature: Suggestions for further reading on each topic from today’s experts on the 18th century.
I am happy to welcome back Alexander Nerá to Regency Explorer. He is the author of “Lord Mayford and the Expedition to Egypt“, a travel adventure and comedy set in 1810.
The novella started out some years ago as a fictive diary on my blog. It has now been published in both English and German. As I am interested in all things Regency and enjoy the story’s P.G. Wodehouse-style humour, I asked Alexander for an interview. Learn more about the historical context, the set of characters, and a famous 19th-century author as a source of inspiration.
The death of Britain’s archenemy, an extravagant Coronation, and the building of the very first electric motor are among the events of a year still marked by the economic depression after the Napoleonic Wars.
With George IV. ascending the throne, the Regency period comes to an end. The world has changed a lot since he ruled the country as Prince Regent from 1811, and even more since the period’s key-persons were born.
Which political, scientific, social, and literary events and anniversaries are of interest to Regency Enthusiasts in 2021? Have a look at my list of 21 events of 1821 here: Continue reading
The popular Christmas carol “Silent Night” (German: “Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht”) is an Austrian carol from the years 1816 – 1818. The lyrics were written by Austrian assistant priest Josephus Franciscus Mohr, in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars. The music was composed in 1818 by Franz Xaver Gruber, an Austrian primary school teacher and church organist. Continue reading
Today, we are used to enjoy coffee everywhere, and the caffeinated drink “to go” is an added delight to walking in the streets or riding on a train. In the late 18th century, there were, of course, coffee houses in the cities. But would you have been able to take coffee with you on a trip or on a campaign?
Thanks to Sir Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford (1753 – 1814), coffee could be prepared to be preserved for a considerable time, and you would have been able to reheat it, or to enjoy it cold wherever you wanted. Find out here how one of the most eccentric and dazzling persons of the 18th century prepared his beloved coffee as a “to go” version. Continue reading
For British merchants doing business with France, the French Revolution brought a special challenge: Revolutionary France introduced the metric system of weight and measures in 1795, and made the franc the single monetary unit in the country in 1803. Thus, the value of British money had to be reevaluated for export and import, and adjusted to the new system of weight and measures. How could this be achieved? Continue reading
In Europe, duels were common from the Renaissance on among aristocrats and military men. While duels were usually fought with swords in the first part of the 18th century, pistols became popular in Britain from around the 1770ies, superseding swords as a weapon. Duelling was illegal, and killing a man in duel was considered murder. Nevertheless, duelling was commonly associated with notions of chivalry and a code of honour.
A code of honour defined rules for issuing a challenge as well as rules of engagement on the duelling ground. It regulated the conduct of seconds, and also specified which conduct would be considered dishonourable. Which rules guided duellist in the late 18th century and early 19th century? Continue reading