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Regency Trivia – The 1830’s Skirt.


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It is absolutely amazing how much fabric goes into these sleeves. Also note that they are worn with puffers.
1830s puffers
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We rarely mention the 1830’s gowns. So, while I was researching something else (the story of my life) I found a few videos on 1830s gowns and other things. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

#RegencyRomance #HistoricalFiction #Regency #ReadaRegency1820s 1

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There are a couple of situations, and a lot of fact variations. I’m not going to get into all of them, but feel free to ask questions.

Most young ladies—especially if they had property—had guardians appointed by their fathers in the event of the father’s death. The young ladies would also have trustees. These were not the same people. So we’ll take that case first. I’m also assuming that she is in London for the Season. If a lady was a minor she would have to have the guardian’s permission to marry and, possibly, to receive her dowry. There was a way to avoid the permission by having the banns called. The only problem is that if the lady and her gentleman were trying to be sneaky about it, that wasn’t easily done. Someone was bound to find out and an objection could be made. In the general way of things, the gentleman who wanted to marry her would approach the guardian before he spoke to the lady and request permission to marry her. If the guardian wasn’t around, he would approach whoever was sponsoring the lady and ask how to contact the guardian.

The second case is where the father dies and no guardian has been appointed. The lady would live with a relative or a godparent and either an application would be made to the Chancery court or not. If there was not an appointed guardian, the only way the lady could marry as a minor was in church by having the banns called. Neither a special license nor a regular license would be valid. By custom, the young man would still speak with the guardian.

During the Regency, most gentlemen, particularly those with wives and children, had wills. There are some very famous cases of what happened when one didn’t have a will. One of the cases began in 1798 and ended in 1915 when the legal fees had used up all the money at issue. The three cases I looked at all involved men who were not of the gentry, and had made their own money. I suspect they didn’t have a good understanding of what would happen if they died intestate.

Regency courtshipRegency courtship 2

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During Regency dancing was an extremely important skill to have. Everyone from the very poor to the very rich learned to dance. The only differences were the types of dances, the way they were preformed, and where they were held.

Boys began learning to dance at young children, about the age of five or six. The same time girls started. As the dances became more complicated—and they were during the Regency—young men had dancing instructors to teach them the steps and refine their skills. There were even children’s “balls” where they could practice.

Two resources are “The Complete System of English Country Dancing,” by Mr. Wilson, a dancing master of the time, and “A Dance with Jane Austen: How a Novelist and Her Characters Went to the Ball” by Susannah Fullerton

DancingDancing 2Dancing 3


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Those of us who read and write Regencies know about Almack’s. But how much of what we know is fact or fiction? In the process of writing my next book, I wanted to know name of the gate-keeper (actually the owner who also acted as the majordomo). I had his name before, but couldn’t find it. During my research I found several contemporary articles that all claimed that the Patronesses selected the male dance partners for each of lady making her come out. Roughly 700 people received vouchers for Almack’s. I have no idea how many of those recipients were young ladies just out. The largest crowd present was 650, although the rooms could really only hold about 600. And one did not know who would be present on any given Wednesday. Therefore, I doubted that the Patronesses selected every dance partner. Therefore, I went researching and found this article that was writing in 1837. A bit after out time, but he does go over the history of Almack’s. There is a lot to interest one in the article, but focused on the one piece of information I wanted, I found one poem that answered my question. The poem is actually about ladies and gentlemen falling down while on the dance floor. Though it clearly states that young men ask ladies to dance.


Now Weippert’s harp each youthful breast inspires,

A space is clear’d, the dancers take their ground,

Each dancing beau claims her he most admires—

With pleasure here all youthful hearts rebound.

[-38-] But see the galoppe’s graceful, joyous strain,

Makes the red rose mount high in beauty’s cheeks,

Old damsels round for partners hunt in vain,

Th’ unrivall’d one his favour’d fair one seeks.

Enchanting dance !—the growth of German land—

At thy gay signal fairy feet are flying;

Soft vows are made, and broke, as hand in hand

The dancers rush in speed each other vying.

Let’s mark the num’rous vot’ries of the dance;—

L— first rushes like a headstrong filly,

Cranstoun and Walpole may be said to prance,

Smith’s so, so,—and ditto, Baron Billie.

E’-en envy now is mute at Erskine’s grace,

While Hillsborough a Hercules advances;

Who can cease gazing on Alicia’s face,

Till Blackwood smiles, or Fanny Brandling dances.

St. John,—sweet Maynard,—pretty Stanhope glide,

And lively Hill inciting gentle Karr,

Meade and Regina ambling side by side,

In dancing this, are all much on a par.

Oh! now observe, Maude, Littleton, and Brooke,

Flowers so pure, you’d deem from heav’n they fell,

While N,—t—n, queen-like in her very look,

Would make a desert bliss,—a heav’n of hell.

[-39-] Desperate rush a band of raw recruits,

With ardent minds, and no regard to time—

I beg their pardon, but they are such brutes,

They must excuse my writing such a line.

Hark! a sound as if from a percussion,

Follow’d by piercing shrieks, arouse our fears;

Chaperons rise alarm’d, and dread concussion—

A prostrate beauty is dissolv’d in tears.

Think not the prospects of the night are turned,

For a bright vision glances in the ring;

No sooner is he seen, than all are spurn’d,

They seem his subjects,—he appears their king,

* * * in whom the gift of dancing lies,

For graceful ease none can with him compare,

” Swift as an arrow from the shaft he flies”-—

Envied by men, and worshipp’d by the fair.

See him, like the forked lightning flashing,

No ear can catch the sound of his footfall,

Down the room the gallant * * * dashing,

The pride of Almack’s—darling of a ball.

All things at length must cease, and so must this;

I’ll end what bumpkins call the gallopade;

Sweet unmeant speeches pass from Miss to Miss,

All go to flirt, drink tea, and lemonade.

[-40-] The galoppe’s ended, so my lay must stop;

As a finale I propose to sing,

(While love—sick beaux, to belles the question pop,)

With loyal heart and voice—Long live the King!

Now whether or not at one time the Patronesses picked dance partners is another question. I do know from other research that the first time a young lady danced at Almack’s a Patroness had to recommend a gentleman as a partner.




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I went down a rabbit hole doing some research today and found a site on Georgian and Regency fans. Most authors mention fans in their books, so I thought I’d show you what some of the fans you might read about look like.

The first image is of a brisé fan. It date from 1810-1820. Note how delicately carved the bone sticks are. The main part of the fan is silk and is hand painted.

brise fan

The second fan dates to between 1780 – 1790. The fan is made of carved and pierced ivory sticks and a hand painted vellum (swanskin) leaf. The sticks show flowers, flaming hearts and doves. The front leaf is hand painted with a central scene of a courting couple in a country house garden. Because of the image, it’s called a courting fan. She is “fishing” for a husband and he is trying to lead her astray into the garden! The reserves show a vase and the altar of Hymen including two doves and a dog, surrounded by garlands of flowers. The reverse is hand painted with a small group of fruit.

painted silk fan


1815-1830 French Dance Fan. The second fan is also a brisé fan. It is made of bone guardsticks and inner cardboard sticks are connected via a silk ribbon. The inner sticks are covered with a thick plaster like white paint on the front and back and the edges of the front of the fan is hand painted with highly stylized foliage and flowers. The center and back were left undecorated, because the fan would have come with a small bejeweled stylus (encased within the left guardstick) with which the owner was able to write down her dance partners on the inner sticks of the fan.

fan, french dance

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