Around the turn of the 19th century, Joseph Mallord William Turner was a young, restless painter, always on the lookout for inspiration for his art. After having toured many parts of Britain, he planned to visit the Continent. He was especially interested in the awe-inspiring, romantic Swiss Alps – considered by many a rocky, dangerous wasteland. Thus, aged about 27, and still being an unknown artist, he decided to follow his plans through. Let’s accompany him on his first ever trip abroad.Continue reading
Compiègne was one of three seats of the French royal government. The royal residence we know today, the Château de Compiègne, was built for Louis XV. Napoleon restored the château after it was left gutted during the French Revolution, and he ordered it to be made habitable again in 1807. He had its layout altered, a ballroom added, and the garden replanted.
But what did the restless French emperor do with another palace? Well, he lived there with his young bride, Marie-Louise, and it was there where they spent their first night together. Continue reading
- How to get to Milan in the 18th century
- Where to stay
- Dangers and annoyances
- Napoleonic sight-seeing in Milan
Travelling to Italy had always strongly appealed to the British aristocracy. Milan had been a favourite since Maria Theresia, sovereign of the Holy Roman Empire, remodelled the city in the second half of the 18th century: Milan featured lovely public gardens, and the fabulous opera house La Scala. But Alas!, visiting this splendid city came to a halt for British travellers from 1796 to 1814, when Napoleon had occupied Milan and most parts of Northern Italy. It was only after the Battle of Waterloo that British tourists could visit Milan again. One of the most famous tourists was Lord Byron, who spent two weeks in Milan in October 1816.
Lord Byron had always been an admirer of Napoleon. In Milan, he was lucky to get acquainted with the French essayist Stendhal (Henri Beyle by real name). Stendal had worked under Napoleon’s Secretary of State. Byron and Stendal met almost every evening for several weeks, and Byron questioned Stendal about his hero.
Some British tourists took a special interest in seeing the places of Napoleon’s power. Thus, locations connected with Napoleon became a curiosity for tourists. I have selected some of them for you in this post. Find out more about Napoleonic Milan: Continue reading
Going to the theatre was one of the most popular evening pastimes of the Regency period. It offered more than entertainment, laughter and drama: At the theatre, men and women could meet publicly in society, and classes would mix. Seeing and being seen was also part of the entertainment.
Though the theatre was popular, it was considered morally reprehensible by the conservative or pious. In Oxford, theatre groups were even banned from performing because of their allegedly negative influence on students. Continue reading
- Palace, Pomp and Politics
- The British Ambassador as Tomb Raider
- Love & the Palace
– Shocking: Emma and Nelson!
- A King from France & the English Princess
Welcome, dear Regency Enthusiast, to a virtual tour of the Palace of Caserta. The palace is a grand building, and the heart of the government of the Kingdom of Naples and Sicily (learn more the kingdom as a travel destination for British travellers in the 18th century here and here). In quick succession, the palace is also the home of 3 royal couples, their British friends and visitors – and their scandals: Continue reading
- The Antiquities Trail:
– Herculaneum and Pompeii
- Practical Tips for Travellers
– Where to Stay
- Danger & Annoyances
- Money & Measurements
The Kingdom of Naples and Sicily became a popular destination for British tourists with the discovery and excavation of ancient ruins in the mid 18th century. The art found at Herculaneum and Pompeii sparked the European Neo-classicism: It was the motifs from these ancient ruins that featured on stylish furnishings in England.
Architects, artists and their rich patrons braved the inconveniences of a long journey to see the celebrated ruins themselves.
In this part of ‘Writer’s Travel Guide: The British and the Grand Tour to the Kingdom of Naples’ we discover the famous ancient sites as a travel destination for Grand Tourists of the Romantic Age. Continue reading
- The Destination: Facts & Figures
- Getting There & Around
- Things to See & Do in Naples
– Neapolitan Dolce Vita
– Balls, Suppers and Assemblies
– Culture & Entertainment
- Nature & Activities
– Climbing Mount Vesuvius
For British travellers, Italy was an essential destiny of the Grand Tour. However, most travellers didn’t go farther than Rome. Only the adventurous or scholarly continued to the South, to ‘The Kingdom of Naples and Sicily’. This was to change with the discovery and excavation of the ruins of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Paestum in the mid 18th century.
- How did they travel?
- What would they see and do in 18th-century Naples?
- Which sites would they visit?
- Where would they stay?
With this post, Regency Explorer provides a travel guide to the ‘Kingdom of Naples and Sicily’ for travellers of the Romantic Age. Continue reading
In this post:
- From bleak prospects to new chances
- Exclusive to the bold and daring?
- Poets and painters lead the way
- Alarm! A radical at Lynmouth
- Lynton and Lynmouth as settings of a novel – plot bunnies included
Reverend John Skinner shuddered as he looked at the narrow path ahead. The passage, just four feet or a meagre 1.2 m wide, was cut on the side of a cliff that descended steeply towards the sea. He dismounted his horse and continued his dangerous journey on foot, leading the animal behind him.
The Reverend enjoyed discovering the wilderness of Exmoor. In 1801 he reached Lynton and Lynmouth, two tiny villages on the North Devon coast. ‘To travelers not accustomed to a mountainous country, the approach to this place would have deemed impassable’, he noted in his journal. John Skinner was among the first who made their way to Lynton and Lynmouth to admire the view and dramatic scenery. More were to follow. And this was all because of the French.
In this post:
– Working as an agent in the 18th century: Tasks and Methods
– Deadly Dangers
– A Thorn in Napoleon’s Side
Angelique Le Tourneur was a spy. She looked like an ordinary fisherwoman, and her little boat sailing from village to village along the French coast was loaded with fish. But Angelique belonged to a network of spies that was operated from the Isle of Jersey for 18 years.
In the Georgian age, the book trade flourished in London. Reading was a popular pastime. Books were often read to friends and family for entertainment. Until the end of the 18th century, newly published books were sold without a binding. A person who bought a book received only the printed paper with temporary sewing, a so-called “board”. He/she would go on to engage a bookbinder to have it bound to match his/her personal library.
A bookbinding of high quality would find admirers in highest ranks. Wealthy aristocrats and gentry were affluent enough to order specially designed books for their libraries. Their books collections were made to impress, and so the books had to be bound befittingly. Many quality bookbinding workshops were located in Westminster, in the vicinity of the tailors. Thus, a gentleman could conveniently order a new coat and a binding for a new book in one afternoon.