Thursday, October 31, 2013

Regency Houses - Saltram's Jane Austen Connection

The link to Jane Austen.

One of the interesting things on display at Saltram are
of course the pictures which often show ladies and gentlemen of our Regency era.
And here we have a Regency gown on display.This one is identified as c1800 and the train was added later.

At Salram I was also fascinated to discover a connect between The Countess of Morely, Frances Talbot and Jane Austen.  On December 27, 1815 the countess writes to Jane Austen telling her " I have been anxiously awaiting "Emma" and am infinitely obliged to your for your kind recollection of me.

I assume this means that Jane sent her a copy.

She goes on to say that "I am already become intimate with the Woodhouse family and feel they will not amuse me or interest me less than the Bennets, Bertrams and Norrises and all their admirable predecessors. I can give them no higher praise."

Clearly a fan.

There is also a transcript of Jane's reply. "Accept my thanks for the honour of your note and your kind dispostion in favour of Emma. In my present state of doubt as to her reception in the world it is particularly gratifying to me to receive so early an assurance of your Ladyship's approbation."

It seems that a writer's self doubt afflicts us all, even the great Jane Austen.

There are a few more things to see of interest at Saltram, so until next time, Happy Rambles.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Regency Fashion ~ October 1813

This is the second gown for October, and also a Vauxhall Vittoria Fete Dress.

I can only assume that these were dresses which where worn or ordered for the event, but of course only available in the magazine after the fact. Sadly we do not know who it was who wore the dress.

This second gown is not so very different from the first, which you would have found in my post earlier this month.  It is described as follows:

A plain white lace frock over a white sarsnet petticoat; the sleeve, which is halfway down the arm, is also composed of lace, and the form of it is extremely novel.  The top is very full and drawn in by a string of pearls, the bottom part is composed of three rows of narrow letting-in, each row edged with pearl. Hair curled in loose and luxuriant ringlets in front, turned up behind a-la-Grecque as tightly as possible. Head-dress, diamonds and the Prince's plume of ostrich feathers. Diamond necklace, bracelets and ear-rings. A slight gold chain of elegant workmanship, to which an eye-glass is suspended, is put round the neck and brought to one side.  White kid gloves and white satin sandals and a small ivory fan.  A white lace veil is occasionally thrown carelessly over the head and forms a drapery which is at once simple, elegant, and becoming.
I see that we have a nod to the Prince of Wales in this gown as we had to his wife in the last one. I wonder what one did if one did not have luxuriant ringlets. My hair never would hold a curl for more than an hour.

 In this same issue of La Belle Assemblee we are told that the weather has been of uncommon fineness, prolonging the summer fashions longer than they were recollected lasting for some years. Recall though that this was written for the September issue.

We can now look forward to more of our visit to Saltram and other houses, and November fashions.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Regency Events

Vauxhall Vittoria Fete

After I discovered the gowns named for the fete I thought it might be interesting to learn a bit about the event itself, and there was far more to know than I could possibly describe here. I just wish I had some pictures.
the Vittoria Fete was held in Vauxhall Gardens. This Grand Military Festival in honour of the Battle of Vittoria, won by the Marquis of Wellington (he became a duke later) on 21 June, was held under the chairmanship of the Duke of York, the commander-in-chief of the army.

A grand dinner of a thousand gentlemen at two guineas per head which began at nine in the evening. The Duke's royal party sat in a semi circle in the rotunda with gold plate displayed behind them along with a bust of Wellington, who was far too busy fighting the war to attend himself, the standard of the 100th French Regiment taken in the battle and the baton of Marshal Jourdan. Among the guests were, in addition to the Prince of Wales and members of the Royal family including the Royal Dukes, were the Prince of Orange, the Prince of Conde, the Dukes of Bourbon and Berri and the Duke of Brunswick.

After dinner there was a concert of vocal and instrumental music attended by some twelve thousand people, including the wives of those gentlemen.  Tickets to the event were sold at Carlton House and other venues and were quite expensive. All through the gardens, symbols of British victory and glory were displayed, such as the names of battles where the British had been victorious along with the names of victorious generals. Fireworks were let off displaying emblematic devices at intervals under the direction of Colonel Congreve. The party continued all night until daylight the next morning.

One young lady who attended spoke of the hours that she waited trying to approach the gardens by carriage. And having failed to do so because of the traffic, her party then took a ferry. She was most indignant that the waterman who handed her into the boat put a dirty fingerprints on her white gown. She also describes having her gown cut by a pickpocket and her hair falling in disarray about her face. They did go into the ballroom, but because of the crowds were unable to dance more than a quarter of a half a dance and went home thoroughly disgruntled.

In fact it was something we might well describe these days as a bun fight.  Certainly George Cruikshank was not impressed. He thought the money would have been better spent caring for the widows and orphans of the men who fell in battle. 

But many of those who attended thought it was a splendid recognition of Wellington's achievement, and certainly Britain needed something to celebrate after so long a war.

Until next time Happy Rambles

Monday, October 21, 2013

Regency Fashion ~ October 1813

The Battle of Vittoria was one of Wellington’s great victories and much celebrated on the home front in 1813. The Prince of Wales arranged for a grand fete to be held in Vauxhall Gardens. This took place in July 1813. However it seems that the modistas of the day decided to name ballroom gowns after the fact, so one can assume the celebrations continued.

This gown appeared in La Belle Assemblee’s September edition as fashion for October entitled

Vauxhall Vittoria Fete Dress.

It is described as follows:

A short dress of crape over a very slight white satin petticoat, made more scanty in the skirt than  we have seen them for some time. The skirt is ornamented round the bottom with a trimming composed of crape and small pearl beads in the form of laurel leaves, each of which is edged with those beautiful imitations of pearls and a row also goes up the middle of each leaf, which has a novel and very elegant effect.  Over this dress is a Princess Charlotte of Wales’ body of pink crape; for the front of this body we refer our readers to the Plate; the back is made uncommonly broad, and extremely low both behind and before.  The sleeves are crape over white satin, fancifully ornamented with beads to correspond with the trimming round the bottom. A similar, but much smaller, trimming goes round the bosom and back of the neck. A small white crape jacket finishes this dress. The hair cropped behind, and disposed in loose ringlets in front; a superb white lace veil falls from the back of the head and is taken carelessly on the arm as a drapery. A fancy half wreath is placed to the side. White kid gloves and slippers; emerald necklace, ear-rings and bracelets.
I find the reference to the Princess Charlotte of Wales body interesting. It looks a bit like a bustier doesn't it, and rather daring, don't you think?  It seems to be a gown that leaves very little to the imagination.
I will bring you the second gown a little later this month. Until next time, Happy Rambles.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Regency Houses ~ Saltram Bedrooms

It's always fun to peek into other people's bedrooms. Not that these rooms were always used as such, but that is how they are arranged at this point in time.

This one is fascinating because of the wallpaper.  It is silk painted with people hard at work growing curing and packing tea. It is a very expensive wallpaper from the eighteenth century
The bed is around 1760, the needle worked hagings are from earlier and the chairs are Chinese Chippendale style with pagoda-shaped cresting rails.
I must say, the new bed we have could use a set of these steps. Why is it we are going in for high beds again now?

The chimneypiece is mid-eighteenth century and carved with bears and bees.

There is more to see, so until next time, Happy Rambles.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Regency Houses ~ Saltram

 Again the difference between upstairs and downstairs in this great house of Saltram. Here we have the North stairs the family would have used and those used by servants going up from the kitchens.

I wonder if the old adage about not passing on the stairs being unlucky might have come from some poor maid hustling down with a chamberpot bumping into some broad shouldered footman hurrying to answer a bell?

Until next time, Happy Rambles.