Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The London of the Ton - Part VI


Counting down to the UK release of UK edition of The Rake's Inherited Courtesan. Due out June 6 over there. I might just see it in stores while I am over there. which would be very exciting. Isn't the cover pretty? A little different from the North American version, which I also liked very much.

I digress.

On to London. The Great Wen. Which means The Great Tumour or Wart. Who knew? Oh, you did? One can understand why it became called that as it grew and grew during this period.


London of the ton was of course the London of entertainment for the rich. This is the Pantheon on Oxford Street in 1809 (The current site of Marks and Spencers). Designed by James Wyatt and opened in 1772, alas none of the old building remains, though the frontage as shown here did survive at least until around 1834 when additional columns were added.

This view not only gives us a view of the building, but once more gives us an idea of the street itself and those shopping.

The picture shows a masquerade ball no less. Of course this is a tad earlier than the Regency, but not by much. It also shows that the original domed interior had been replaced by a flat ceiling.

The popularity of masquerades was declining by this time, and therefore so was the popularity of the Pantheon. Looking at this picture, cartoon though it is, I'm not exactly surprised.

As usual I find the issue of lighting interesting. All those candles. No wonder things burned down so often. It must have been terribly hot and smokey. I wonder if that is why the gentleman in the forefront appears to be just about naked.

There are lots more sights to see in London, and lots more to do. But our time has run out, so until next time, Happy Rambles.