Sunday, February 18, 2007

February News

The fashion post will remain up for a week or so and I may try to post the odd tidbit while I am away. I have just lost a very close family member, and while I hate not to post, I will be flying to England in the next day or so, and have many arrangments to make. My mother-in-law aka Grannie, will be greatly missed by all of those whose lives she touched. She was a great supporter of mine, and I am truly grateful that she was able to read my first book. She was wonderful to our children, she came every summer to be with them, and she made many friends here. She had a good life, a happy life and brought sunlight into everyone's hearts.
I apologise to my regular readers, but you are all such wonderful people I know will will forgive me and you will return in a week or so, when I promise you many more Regency Rambles.
Best wishes
Michele Ann Young

Monday, February 12, 2007

More Regency Fashions for February

I blogged at American Title II today, so drop by and read a little of my writing philosophy. Because I blogged there, I am only going to give you a couple of fashions here today. I am just finishing my next novel and so I am a little pushed for time, but I will get the rest of them up on my website in the next day or so. I promise.

Exciting News
Oh oh, must tell. A bit of gossip. My youngest daughter is visiting family in England, not to mention a quick trip to Paris, and while in Harrods on Saturday she and her cousin were invited to be part of the launch for Kylie's new perfume, Darling. Here is one of the pictures. We're famous. Who'da thunk it!

Fiona, my daughter is in white. On the other side of Kylie, in checks, is Maria. If you would like either of the girls autographs drop me a line (joking). Can't do anything about Kylie I am afraid. lol.

OK. Enough about the family. Here are the fashions I thought you might like to take a look at.

These are the descriptions exactly as they appeared in the La Belle Assemblee

No. 1.—A New Spenser Walking Dress.

Incognita hat of French grey, or pigeon’s wing, formed of sarsnet, velvet, or the Georgiana cloth. Tassels and trimming of chenille, velvet, or Trafalgar, contrasted agreeably to the taste of the wearer. A Tuscan spenser, the same colour, formed with a round lappel, continued from the back and round the bosom on one side, with a full flowing robin on the other; descending a little below the knee, and terminated with a rich tassel. A chemisette, with high standing collar, fastened with a brooch at the throat, the whole trimmed to correspond with the hat. The hair in loose curls; gold hoop earrings; York tan gloves; and shoes the same colour of the spenser. The hat, as worn by Miss Duncan, is of pink sarsnet, trimmed with black, but the colour is necessarily changed by those fair fashionables who have selected it for a walking dress, to shades of less conspicuous attraction, amidst which the most esteemed are those mentioned in the above description.

No. 2—Full Dress.

A Roxborough jacket of soft white satin, flowing open in front, and down each side of the figure, in regular pointed drapery. A plain full sleeve, and short jacket flaps; black and gold Turkish ribband down the back; trimming and tassels of gold. A round train dress of the finest India muslin over a satin petticoat, embroidered round the bottom, in a light pattern of gold. The hair twisted in a fanciful form, and short corkscrew curls flowing at the temples, and in various directions from the crown of the head; a tiara of fine pearl blended with the hair, and placed rather towards the left side. One row of fine pearls forms the necklace, which is fastened in front with a diamond brooch. An armlet of hair, in a new patent plait, with a row of the finest pearl on each side; bracelets to correspond. Earrings of pearl, with a diamond in the centre. White satin shoes, with gold trimming. Fan of Italian grape, with gold spangles, and devices in transparencies. French kid gloves.

Now let us move to a little later in the Regency. 1818 to be precise. The difference in style is quite marked, the earlier gowns still showing the classical soft draped lines, while these below have the stiffer belled skirts and the heavy decoration at the hem.

This is a purple velvet pelise from 1812.
It is so pretty and soft and feminine looking. I'm not exactly sure how warm it would be.

Well, that's all from me for today. See you on Thursday. Fiona will be back home tomorrow, so we will here all about her venture into the pop world.
In the meantime Happy Rambles.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Regency Fashion for February

Brrr. It's cold. Brass monkey weather, as my old mum likes to say. And if you don't know what it means~~ I'm not telling. But the minus 10 or so here in Toronto would never be replicated in England. Which is why the fashions are so delicate. One of these days I really must try to find Russian fashions from the same period. It would be interesting to compare.

I thought I was being pretty brilliant with this monthly fashion thing. Then today driving to work I thought - Oh but. If the fashions advertized in February are like today's fashion meant for the next season, have I made a bloomer? A fashion faux pas. (Holy corset batman.)
Guess what. I don't plan to figure it out. If it came out in La Belle Assemblee in February, then its gonna be here in February.

February 1811
1. EVENING dress. -- Shirt, of apple-blossom silk, buttoned down the front, and trimmed round the bottom; sleeves and bosom with lace. Head-dress of the same materials. White gloves and shoes, with an Indian shawl either colored or white.

2. Morning dress. -- Shirt of muslin, high to the neck, and a robe front, forming part of the dress, fastened at the waist -- worked at all the edges and round the bottom. Bonnet of satin, with a feather.

Don't you love the ways that sounds "apple-blossom silk"?

February 1809
The head ornamented with bandeaus of frosted gold; gold necklace, ear-rings, and armlets; white satin opera dress, trimmed all round with gold, tied in front with a gold cord and tassel; white satin shoes, trimmed with gold, and gold button in front; white gloves, and fan edged with gold.

This is so pretty. It makes you want to dance just looking at her. There's a bit of Isadora Duncan there, don't you think?

February 1800

MORNING DRESS. First Figure. Cambrick muslin dress drawn close around the neck; shawl cloak; round bonnet of willow or chip, generally slate colour or brown, with feather.

Second Figure. Dress of the same as First Figure of coloured cambrick muslin; bonnet of green velvet, with white muslin handkerchief round the brim, tied behind in a bow, the ends hanging down the back.

These are much mor on the practical side, and a bit 18th century, as if this designer hadn't quite caught up with the classical style.

I have a few more pictures and descriptions for February. So I will post some more here on Monday and some more on the website over the weekend. Actually, I have decided to organize my pictures in the same way I am running the pictures here. I will put them in month by month folders. I do have some that do not indicate a month, so I am going to double file them by year. I do like to organize and index things. Must be the historian in me.

Have a wonderful weekend. See you Monday.
Until then ~~~ as always ~~~ Happy Rambles

Monday, February 5, 2007

February Flora and Fauna and general tittle tattle

Feb.6 1811: His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales (Prinny) was sworn into office of Regent. This is actually the day that the official period known at The Regency began. I suppose all of us Regency lovers should celebrate this day, but somehow, while we love the era, the man himself is not quite so popular. I sometimes feel a bit sorry for him. But I haven't found many sympathetic to the man.

Tittle tattle is Regency speak for gossip.

February seems to be much like January, although one sees snowdrops appear later in the month, which is a lovely early sign of spring..

The Naturalist Diary has this to say:
“This month frequently presents a most wintry appearance; the ground is covered with snow; all Nature is wrapped in a robe of dazzling whiteness; and the ‘bitter-biting cold’ showers of sleet, and sudden gusts of wind, drive us to our homes for shelter,
against the inclemency of the season. The sudden thaws, also, which take place in

February, --the return of frost and snow—and the change again to rain and sleet, render this month particularly unfavorable to the pedestrian and the lover of out-of-door exercise and amusements.”

Hmm. Sounds pretty grim to me. I think I will move on to something more pleasant.

Timelines. What was happening in those long ago February months that might be of interest.

Well of course there is Lent. England being a protestant country, did not have the madis gras of the Catholic countries, or Carnival as we know them today in such places as Trinidad and Brazil. The day I most remember is the day before Lent. Shrove Tuesday. Pancake day we always called it. Did they celebrate Pancake Day in the Regency?

Yes they did, since it is the day before Lent on which all fats must be used up, and that was a church requirement stemming long before the 1800’s

But did you know that Shrove Tuesday used to be a great day for cock-fighting in England? I didn’t. Apparently so. Here are a couple of pictures. Can you believe that the one pictured indoors was to celebrate a betrothal? Now I am not condoning this sport. It is history. Our ancestors did it and enjoyed it, whether we like it or not.

Shrove Tuesday was also the day that a church bell, called the the ‘Shriving Bell’would have been rung signalling the start of Lent and to call people to church to confess their sins. The church bell was rung at eleven o’clock in the morning, as a reminder to housewives to prepare their pancake batter and so the bell became known as the ‘Pancake Bell. Of course in those days many ordinary people did not own watches or clocks and so the church bell was a way of keeping track of important times.

I should also mention, that pancakes in England are more like what North Americans call crepes. They are eaten with lemon squeezed on them then sprinkled with sugar and rolled up.

February 1, 1804 the Concert of Ancient Music was held at King's Theatre, Haymarket. (A composer had to have been dead twenty five years before his works were played.)

Feb.23 1811: A decree by Bonaparte ordered prisoners of war to be employed as laborers. Not very well thought of by the British as you can imagine.

Feb.26 1811: John Liles sentenced to seven years transportation, for bigamy. An interesting commentary on the British justice system I think.

February 1817, Princess Charlotte is expecting a child. The British populace is wildly elated. Poor Princess Charlotte was bled frequently to keep her calm. Can you imagine? Thank goodness they don’t do that any more. I do feel for the poor princess, who was thought to be rather spoiled. Who knows what Britain would have been like had she lived. Just think, no Queen Victoria. Now there is an interesting thought!

Happy Rambles