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Archive for the ‘#RegencyTrivia’ Category

 

The figure. During the Regency being thin was not fashionable. It was the exact opposite. As you can see by the portraits, plump enough so that one’s collar bones were not showing was what one wanted to be. Curves were to be desired, not something to be ashamed of. Rounded faces were fashionable as well. Notice that many of the ladies had hints of double chins.

Naturally, there was a reason for that. If one was thin, it was assumed she could not afford enough to eat or that she was in poor health.

She must have good posture, something she would have been trained in with use of a board strapped to her back (backboard). Long stays also aided posture.

Her shoulders should slope. Her hips should be wide (this was thought to aid in childbirth).

 

This is Sally Jersey.

Emily Cowper

Mrs. Drummond-Burrell

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On my list of questions, is who were the famous designers of the Regency.

This will most likely come as a shock to you, but the fashionable designers during the Regency were devoted to clothing for gentlemen, not ladies. Gentlemen cared a great deal about their clothing.

A fashionably dressed gentleman patronized Weston, Stultz, Meyer, and Nugee for suits, Schweitzer & Davidson for coats, and Hobby for boots. I have read that it was immediately who made a man’s clothing by the cut and fit of the garments.

Stultz also made riding habits for ladies. Even ladies living out of London would send their old habits to him as a pattern for a new one.

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Modern day scones. Before the invention of baking powder in the mid-19th century, scones (pronounced to rhyme with gone or tone depending on where you lived) were a yeast bread made with oats, fashioned into a large flat, plate like shape and cooked on a griddle. They were then cut into triangles for serving. There is a great deal of debate as to whether they were first invented in Scotland or Northern England.  Nevertheless, unless one lived in northern England, it is unlikely that scones were consumed by the haut ton during the Regency.

Before the development of baking powder, sour milk was frequent used as a leavening with mixed results. It didn’t have the ability to hold the bubbles in the bread long enough for it to bake. Other variants were sold as leavening, but nothing actually worked on a consistent basis. It wasn’t until 1843, when English chemist and food manufacturer Alfred Bird invented baking powder that enabled the sponge to rise higher in cakes that the modern scone, and, indeed, all quick breads, were able to be made. The sponge Bird originally made was named Victoria sponge.

Baking powder is another invention that didn’t cross the water. It wasn’t until the 1860’s that it was developed in Germany, and a few years later it was again invented in the US.

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The major distinction between employees and those in service seems to confuse a great number of people. Employees varied by the household and its needs. Employees included governesses, tutors, secretaries, companions, and estate managers.

We’ll start with governesses.

By the end of the 18th century, girls’ boarding schools were going out of fashion. Therefore, many girls of wealthy families were educated at home. Boys would be taught by a governess until they went to school. If a family did not have girls, it’s likely the local clergyman would teach the boys, or a tutor would be hired.

A governess was always a well educated lady. She was gently born. Her family either could not afford to support her, or she did not wish to be a burden to them. Many of them seem to have been daughters of clergymen. She was well educated and could teach reading, writing, arithmetic, history, geography, literature, watercolors, French, and maybe Italian, and music. She would also help teach comportment and needlework. She was also to be an example of good moral character. Unlike the Victorian era, Regency governesses were not morbidly religious.

Whether or not she had her meals with the family depended on her employers. She did not eat, socialize, or gossip with the servants. She used the front door. It was very important that she main her status as a lady.

I once read an employment contract for a governess. Unfortunately, I can’t find it now, but I remember that it required she be given a private parlor in addition to a bedchamber. It stated her holidays, time off, wages (obviously), and several other items. Because she was not a servant, she would have to be paid enough to save for her own pension.

For additional information, I recommend reading, A Governess in the Time of Jane Austen.

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