Beautiful Carriages from the Napoleonic Era

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

Queen Caroline’s Scandals in Italy

Caroline of Brunswick (1768 –1821) had the misfortune of being unhappily married to George, Prince of Wales. The Prince refused to communicate with her, and permitted her to see her daughter only once a week. Being freezed out of Carlton House, Caroline set off for a long trip throughout Europe in 1814.

What seems to be a reasonable thing to do today was the beginning of a long lists of scandals in the eyes of her contemporaries. Her husband, trying to find reasons to divorce her, sent agents to spy on her, and her every movement was reported back to England.

Here is a list of the main scandals Caroline was accused of: Continue reading

Writer’s Travel Guide: The British Tourist and Napoleonic Milan

In this post:

  • 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

Writer’s Travel Guide: The British and the Grand Tour to the Kingdom of Naples and Sicily (Part 2)

05 palaceFind in this travel guide for the 18th century:

  • The Antiquities Trail:
    – Herculaneum and Pompeii
    – Paestum
  • Practical Tips for Travellers
    – Where to Stay
    – Specialities
  • 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.
Part 2 01 EinstiegArchitects, 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

Writer’s Travel Guide: The British and the Grand Tour to the Kingdom of Naples and Sicily (Part 1)

02 AntiquityFind in this travel guide for the 18th century:

  • 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
    – Watersports

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.

01 South ItalyEager to see the sites of Antiquity themselves, architects, artists and their rich patrons ventured down the long road to Naples, braving brigands, mosquitoes and heat.

  • 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

A Carriage Enthusiast’s Paradise

In the age of the carriage, several hundred models of horse-drawn vehicles existed. Don’t worry, you do not have to look at all of them. For this exhibition, I took photos at Historic Houses and Museums in France and England, and I have selected the carriages most commonly used in the Romantic Age.  Some of them are indispensible for a Regency Novel and some are beautifully quirky. All in all, here are 20 carriages  for you to enjoy. Continue reading

Temptations for Regency Gentlemen: The Most Dashing Sports Vehicle

Cockingcart1

A dashing vehicle for the sportive gentleman: the Cocking Cart (click to enlarge)

A notable whip and hero of a Regency Novel inevitably drives a Phaeton – or does he have more choices for selecting his racy vehicle? A couple of weeks ago, a vehicle caught my eye at a historical hunting and carriage gala: it was slim, light and high-perched.

Being drawn by three horses and featuring two wheels, it had an air of sportiness and elegance as it drove across the park. Next to the conservative carriages like Britzkas and Victorias, it looked decidedly dashing. I spoke to the owner and learned that the striking vehicle was a Cocking Cart. – A what? I had never heard of it before.

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Adventures for Regency Enthusiasts: Driving a Carriage

Many readers of Regency novels are fascinated by driving a carriage: It’s partly romantic, partly adventurous and in our accelerated times comfortingly nostalgic. Most people of the Regency period would shake their heads at such attitudes. To them, driving a carriage was mainly a means of transport and not even a convenient one: Stage coaches were crammed with passengers, accidents happened frequently, and to become sick in a carriage wasn’t unusual.

To find out how travelling in a coach felt like 200 years ago, you can visit the museum of travel and traffic, “Deutsches Museum Verkehrszentrum”, if you happen to come to Munich, Germany. There is a simulator of a historical coach waiting in Hall II. Climb in and experience the Regency period.

If you are really serious about researching carriages and carriage driving in the Regency period, there is a more hands-on option.
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