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Thursday, 24 September 2015

St George's Hanover Square - a Regency History guide

St George's Hanover Square
St George's Hanover Square
The most fashionable church in Regency London was without doubt St George’s Hanover Square – the parish church of Mayfair. Its most famous parishioner was the composer George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) who regularly worshipped there.
In A Perfect Match, Alicia Westlake and her mother attend the service at St George’s Hanover Square on Christmas Day 1788. Although Mrs Westlake is delighted to be introduced to the Duchess of Gordon, Alicia is disappointed to discover that Mr Merry is not there.
History

As the population of London grew, the nobility and gentry moved away from the business centre of the City. Mayfair, to the west, became a fashionable place to live. Hanover Square, built between 1716 and 1720, was the first square to be built in the newly developing area of Mayfair. It was named for the Hanoverian dynasty of the new King George I.

St George’s Hanover Square was one of fifty new churches in London commissioned by an Act of Parliament of 1711 to meet the needs of its ever growing population. The new parish of St George’s Hanover Square was carved out of the western section of the Parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields. 

General William Stewart (1), who had been Commander-in-Chief of Queen Anne’s forces in Ireland, was a resident of Hanover Square and he donated the site on which St George’s is built, just a short distance from Hanover Square, with its entrance facing onto St George Street. General Stewart laid the first stone on 20 June 1721 and the building was certified complete on 20 March 1725. It was dedicated by Edmund Gibson, Bishop of London, three days later, on 23 March. 

The church cost £10,000 to build which was raised by a tax on coals.

St George's Hanover Square  from Leigh's New Picture of London (1830)
St George's Hanover Square
from Leigh's New Picture of London (1830)
Architectural design

St George’s Hanover Square was designed by John James, a pupil of Sir Christopher Wren. According to Leigh’s New Picture of London, it is 100 feet long, 60 feet wide and 45 feet high. (2)

The most notable feature of the building is the portico which is considered second only to that of the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields. It has six Corinthian columns which support an entablature and pediment. In layman’s terms, the entablature is the lintel or beam that rests on the tops of the columns and the pediment is the triangular bit that sits on top.

St George's Hanover Square
St George's Hanover Square
According to Shepherd:
“The tower is elegantly adorned at the corners, with coupled Corinthian columns that are very lofty; these are crowned with an entablature, which, at each corner, supports two vases; and over these the tower still rises, till it is terminated by a dome, crowned with a turret, that supports a ball, over which is a vane.” (3)
The two obelisks at either end of the steps were used to hold lamps.

The tower of St George's Hanover Square
The tower of St George's Hanover Square
A disappointing interior

The inside of the church was very plain compared to other churches of the same period and was compared unfavourably with its impressive exterior. In his New Picture of London, Leigh declared:
 “The interior of the church exhibits a total disregard of the rules of architecture.” (2)
I wonder whether James, as a pupil of Sir Christopher Wren, was influenced by Wren’s simple design for the inside of St Paul’s which was also heavily criticised for its disappointingly plain interior.

The inside of the church has been changed over the years, firstly by reducing the height of the box pews and removing the heavy canopy over the pulpit (which can still be seen on the right in the picture below dating from 1841). Later alterations included completely remodelling the pews, lowering the pulpit, laying the black and white marble floor in the chancel (the section of the church in front of the altar) and creating a side chapel. 

A fashionable wedding at St George's Hanover Square (1841)  from Life In Regency and Early Victorian Times  by EB Chancellor (1926)
A fashionable wedding at St George's Hanover Square
in 1841 from Life In Regency and Early 
Victorian Times by EB Chancellor (1926)
The altarpiece

The reredos or altarpiece is a large painting of The Lords’ Supper. Originally this was thought to be the work of Sir James Thornhill (1675-1734), but has since been confirmed as the work of William Kent (1685-1748). The carvings around the picture are from the workshop of Grinling Gibbons, but not by the man himself, as he died in 1720.

Above the altar is a Venetian window, but the stained glass it now holds is not original. It comes from Antwerp and dates back to 1525. It was acquired by the 1st Marquess of Ely but never used by him and sold to St George’s in 1840.

There are seven silver lamps hanging in the church representing the seven lamps described in the book of Revelation.
 
The organ

The first organ cost £500 and was installed in 1725. The three central towers of the organ casing today are original. In 1761, the organ was replaced by John Snetzler for the price of £300 and the old organ pipes! It has been replaced and expanded over the years and the current organ is particularly suited to baroque music – an important factor as the Annual London Handel Festival is held at St George’s.

The Georgian rectors of St George's

The rectory of St George’s Hanover Square was in the gift of the Bishop of London and was very valuable. According to the Clergy List for 1891, it was worth £1,120 a year. The prospect was too alluring for one spendthrift minister – the Reverend William Dodd, a chaplain in ordinary to the King. In 1774, Dodd unsuccessfully tried to bribe the Lord Chancellor’s wife to appoint him to the rectory. (4)
 
It was common practice in the 18th century for ministers to be pluralists – that is, hold multiple posts – and all the rectors during the Georgian period held other positions as well as that of rector of St George’s Hanover Square.

The rectors during the Georgian period were:

Andrew Trebeck (1725-59) who was also the vicar of Croydon and held the living of Shelley in Essex.
Charles Moss (1759-1774) who was the Bishop of St David’s, but resigned as rector of St George’s when he was appointed Bishop of Bath and Wells in 1774.
Henry Reginald Courtenay (1774-1803) who was the Bishop of Bristol and Exeter and also held other roles.
Robert Hodgson (1803-1845) who was Dean of Chester and Carlisle and also held other posts.

St George's Hanover Square from London and its   environs in the 19th century by TH Shepherd (1829)
St George's Hanover Square from London and its 
environs in the 19th century by T H Shepherd (1829)
Workhouses and schools

The parish workhouse was situated in Mount Street. The conditions were such that around half the children born in or received into the workhouse between 1750 and 1755 died. An extra house was bought in 1785 as the existing workhouse was full.

In his will, General Stewart left 5000 Irish pounds – approximately £4,500 – with which to establish a charity school in the parish which opened in 1742. Two further schools teaching practical skills were opened in 1804 and 1815 with money raised by the parish.

St George's Hanover Square from   The history of  Methodism  by JF Hurst (1902)   via Internet archive on Flickr
St George's Hanover Square from
The history of  Methodism  by J F Hurst (1902)
 via Internet archive on Flickr
A fashionable wedding venue

The location of St George’s Hanover Square, situated in the heart of the richest part of London, made it a very fashionable place to get married. The first wedding took place on 30 April 1725 and less than 40 marriages took place in the first year. The numbers rose to a peak in the middle of the Regency period with an incredible 1063 weddings taking place in 1816! This figure was quoted on a signboard in the church and looking through the registers, I haven’t checked this total, but I did note that 11 couples were married on 22 April, 12 couples on 3 June and nine couples on Christmas Day!

Some of the famous people who got married at St George’s Hanover Square were:

8 March 1769 Evelyn Pierpoint, Duke of Kingston, and Elizabeth Chudleigh. They were married by S Harper of the British Museum by special licence from the Archbishop of Canterbury. 

Although Elizabeth Chudleigh claimed to be single, her first husband, Augustus Hervey, later 3rd Earl of Bristol, Lady Elizabeth Foster’s uncle, was still alive. Elizabeth Chudleigh was convicted of bigamy in 1776.

11 February 1773 The architect Henry Holland and Bridget Brown, daughter of Capability Brown, by licence.

18 January 1781 The painter Richard Cosway and Maria Cecilia Louisa Hadfield, a minor. By licence and with consent of her mother Isabella Hadfield. According to Clinch, the bride was given away by Charles Townley, the collector of the Townley marbles. (5)

5 December 1793 Augustus Frederick and Augusta Murray. This seemingly innocent entry was actually the marriage of the Duke of Sussex and Lady Augusta Murray. This marriage was declared null and void on 14 July 1794 as it contravened the Royal Marriage Act and the church officials had to answer for not having enquired more fully into the residence of the couple when the banns were posted.

Augustus, Duke of Sussex from A Biographical Memoir of Frederick,  Duke of York and Albany by John Watkins (1827)
Augustus, Duke of Sussex
from A Biographical Memoir of Frederick,
 Duke of York and Albany
by John Watkins (1827)
1 May 1797 Edward Smith Stanley, Earl of Derby, widower, and the actress Elizabeth Farran (6), spinster, by special licence in the dwelling house of the Earl of Derby in Grosvenor Square.

17 December 1798 The architect John Nash and Mary Ann Bradley

11 May 1799 The comedian and entertainer Joseph Grimaldi and Maria Hughes

23 May 1804 George Villiers (commonly called Lord Viscount Villiers), later 5th Earl of Jersey, of St Marylebone, bachelor, and Lady Sarah Fane, of this parish, spinster, a minor. Married by special licence with the consent of her father, John, Earl of Westmoreland, in his dwelling house in Berkley Square.

Lady Jersey from a print on display at Osterley Park
Lady Jersey from a print on display at Osterley Park
17 May 1809 George Lamb, third son of Peniston, Lord Viscount Melbourne, and Caroline Rosalie Adelaide St Jules, of this parish. Married in Devonshire House in this parish by special licence from the Archbishop of Canterbury. Caroline St Jules was the illegitimate daughter of Lady Elizabeth Foster and the Duke of Devonshire who were witnesses to the marriage.

24 March 1814 Percy Bysshe Shelley and Harriet Shelley, formerly Harriet Westbrook, spinster, a minor, both of this parish, by licence. There is a note in the register to say that the parties had been already married to each other according to the Rites and Ceremonies of the Church of Scotland. This took place in 1811 after they had eloped together. This time the marriage was with the consent of her father John Westbrook, but it was ill-fated; just four months later Percy Shelley abandoned Harriet and ran away with Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin.

It is worth noting that there is one marriage sometimes quoted as taking place at St George’s Hanover Square that I cannot find any record of in the registers – the marriage of Sir William Hamilton and Emma Hart. (7) According to Morson, their marriage on 6 September 1791 took place at the church of St Marylebone. (8)

Burials

There was no space for a churchyard next to St George’s, so its first burial ground was situated next to its workhouse in Mount Street. This was full by 1762 and another burial ground was opened at Bayswater which was used until 1854. It is described variously as being near the Tyburn turnpike and just off Oxford Street, near the Marble Arch.

Important people who were buried there include:
Laurence Sterne, author of The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy (1713-1768). His body was later stolen by body snatchers!
Sir Thomas Picton (1758-1815) who was killed at the Battle of Waterloo but his body was afterwards removed to St Paul’s Cathedral.
Mrs Ann Radcliffe (1764-1823), author of The Mysteries of Udolpho.

Both burial grounds have now been cleared. The Mount Street site has been turned into a park and the Bayswater site was sold for redevelopment.

Notes
(1) Sometimes spelt Steuart.
(2) From Leigh's New Picture of London (1830).
(3) From London in the Nineteenth Century, illustrated by a series of views by TH Shepherd (1829).
(4) Dodd’s plan misfired and he was dismissed from all his existing positions. Later he was convicted of forging a bond in order to pay his debts and despite widespread public support, he became the last person to be hanged at Tyburn for forgery on 27 June 1777.
(5) From Mayfair and Belgravia: being an historical account of the parish of St George, Hanover Square by George Clinch (1892).
(6) Sometimes spelt Farren.
(7) On a signboard in the church and in Mayfair and Belgravia: being an historical account of the parish of St George, Hanover Square by George Clinch (1892).
(8) From Morson, Geoffrey V, Hamilton, Sir William (1731-1803), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn May 2009, accessed 12 Jan 2013).

Sources used include:
Chancellor, E Beresford, Life in Regency and Early Victorian Times (1926)
Chapman, John H (ed) The Register book of marriages belonging to the Parish of St George, Hanover Square in the County of Middlesex in 4 volumes Vol 1 1725-87 (1886-97)
Clinch, George, Mayfair and Belgravia: being an historical account of the parish of St George, Hanover Square (1892)
Leigh, Samuel, Leigh's New Picture of London (1830)
Morson, Geoffrey V, Hamilton, Sir William (1731-1803), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn May 2009, accessed 12 Jan 2013)
Shepherd, Thomas H, London in the Nineteenth Century, illustrated by a series of views (1829)

All photos © RegencyHistory.net - more photos of St George's on Flickr

Friday, 18 September 2015

Sophie Andrews aka Laughing With Lizzie becomes an ambassador for the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation

Sophie Andrews and Rachel Knowles taking part in  the 2015 Jane Austen Festival Regency  promenade © Andrew Knowles
Sophie Andrews and me taking part in
the 2015 Jane Austen Festival Regency
promenade © Andrew Knowles
Today, I welcome Sophie Andrews, author of the Laughing With Lizzie blog, to talk about her exciting new role in the world of Jane Austen.

Thank you very much, Rachel, for allowing me to visit your blog today, to make my very special announcement! 

Sophie Andrews aka Laughing with Lizzie
Sophie Andrews aka Laughing with Lizzie
In fact, rather than making my own announcement, I am going to let the wonderful Caroline Jane Knight, Jane Austen's fifth great niece, tell you all!

A message from Jane Austen's five times great niece

Caroline Jane Knight
Caroline Jane Knight
"It is inspiring to see the positive influence Jane has on people’s lives today. They say life is about what you leave behind and I couldn’t be more proud of Great Aunt Jane’s legacy, my inspiration for the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation. As Jane’s popularity continues to grow, I wanted to extend her legacy by harnessing the global passion for Austen to improve literacy rates. Literacy is the key to self-improvement and unlocking potential. Reading and writing are essential skills for anyone who wants to understand, enjoy and influence the world around them. The foundation raises money to help create confident readers and proud writers by providing free books and writing materials to communities in need around the world, in honour of Jane. We are a volunteer organisation with all monies raised spent on literacy resources and fundraising activity. We are currently raising funds to provide literacy resources for the displaced children of Syria, delivered on the ground by UNICEF.

I only joined Facebook a year ago and was amazed to discover a world of Austen, involving Janeites from around the world, enthusiastically and vibrantly celebrating and discussing all aspects of Jane’s life and works. With over 7000 websites and social media profiles associated with Jane, there is a never ending stream of content to keep even the most ardent Janeite engaged. 

One in particular caught my eye: Laughing With Lizzie, a young woman who seemed to have a lot of fun dressing up in Regency costume, visiting Jane’s former homes, participating in Austen events and sharing it all with thousands of followers in a well written blog. I was intrigued. Why did this young woman dedicate her time to celebrating Jane Austen? I reached out and arranged to talk to the woman behind the blog, Sophie Andrews. Sophie is a delight to know personally and her journey with Jane truly heart-warming, a story I will leave for Sophie to share. 

Before discovering Austen, Sophie wasn’t a big reader but the discovery of the magic that lay in the pages of Pride and Prejudice, that just got better with every read, changed that and was the start of Sophie's love affair with the written word. As a keen writer herself, Sophie was able to imagine the frustration of wanting to write but having no paper or pen and without hesitation offered to help promote the foundation.

I am pleased to announce Sophie Andrews, aka Laughing with Lizzie, as an Ambassador for the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation. We are thrilled to have Sophie’s support to help us create confident readers and proud writers, in honour of Jane." 
Sophie Andrews in her 'book' dress
Sophie Andrews in her 'book' dress
Thank you Caroline for such kind words, and more importantly, for allowing me the opportunity to be an ambassador for such a worthwhile charity. It is an honour and I am very much looking forward to doing all I can to help the charity!

It all started with Mr Darcy

As Caroline mentioned, Jane Austen has been very important in my life, for many different reasons. I was just nine when I saw the 2005 film version of Pride and Prejudice, but I was a little too young to fully understand the language, so it didn’t really make an impression on me. I watched that film a few more times and as I grew up I began to fall completely in love with it! But I still wasn’t hooked on Jane Austen, it was just Pride and Prejudice – or actually, to be more accurate, I was just hooked on Mr. Darcy! 

Sophie Andrews looking in the mirror
Sophie Andrews looking in the mirror
However, back in 2011 I was going to be studying Pride and Prejudice for my English exams, and so that summer I had to read it. You have to understand that at the time I really wasn’t a reader. However, given I enjoyed the film, I was looking forward to it. When I was on my summer holidays I read it in a week. I just couldn’t put it down! It seemed strange to my family to see me engrossed in a book, as I guess I used to be like Emma Woodhouse in regards to books and reading! Pride and Prejudice was amazing from start to finish, and from that point I was caught up in the elegance and eloquence of Miss Austen's world and words! 

Addicted to Austen

I reread Pride and Prejudice straight afterwards and I really enjoyed studying it at school, becoming the class expert. Following this, I read Sense and Sensibility, then Emma, followed by Persuasion, Northanger Abbey and finally Mansfield Park. There was no stopping me! Having devoured the six main stories, I devoted myself to studying all aspects of the Jane Austen phenomenon, from the film and television adaptations, to the fan fiction, commentaries, critiques, information books and biographies, as well as the worldwide online Jane Austen community. There was no going back now - I had become a true and proud Janeite.

The birth of Laughing With Lizzie

Fast forward a year or so, and after a lot of 'persuasion' (if you'll excuse the pun!) from a friend, I eventually started my blog, Laughing With Lizzie. It was my space to rant and rave about my passion for Jane Austen. It was also my escape; I was having a hard time at school and some family illnesses at the time (that is a whole other story I won't go into now!), and so I really threw myself wholeheartedly into the world of Jane, enjoying my escape into her world through her books, and subsequently my blog. Slowly, slowly my blog became better known, and then about a year and a half ago I started my Facebook page. From there, I have no idea how, but so many amazing things have happened for me and I have participated in so many wonderful events. I have to pinch myself every day, as it is all beyond my wildest dreams. 

A book donated by the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation
A book donated by the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation
Ambassador for the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation

Fast forward again to a few months ago, when I noticed a certain Caroline Jane Knight had liked my Facebook page. I sent Caroline a message of thanks, and before I knew it, I was actually talking to Jane Austen's descendant on Skype! Caroline told me all about growing up at Chawton House, and about her charity she has recently founded. I was fascinated by both, but the foundation really caught my attention; a charity that was using Jane's popularity and her legacy to do some good in the world. It really hit home with me, given how much Jane Austen has changed my life. We continued to Skype every few weeks, until Caroline asked if I would be an ambassador for the charity. As you can imagine, I jumped at the chance!

I mentioned earlier how I never used to be a reader. Well, the truth is that I had never read another ‘proper’ book before Pride and Prejudice! Jane Austen brought me to reading, and so being able to have the opportunity to help bring the joy of reading to others, as Jane did for me, is truly wonderful.

The foundation is also helping to create proud writers, as well as confident readers, and this is also something I really would like to help in promoting, for, without the ability to write, I would not be sitting here right now writing this post. I would not have had a blog full stop.

Jane Austen really has been a huge influence in my life, even in just five years! As I cannot thank Jane Austen personally for all she done for me, this opportunity to help use her legacy to bring the ability to read and write to others seemed like the perfect way of saying thank you to Jane for bringing reading, and to a certain extent writing, to me.

A fellow ambassador

Sophie Andrews with Simon Langton
Sophie with Simon Langton
I am even more pleased to be able to say I had the opportunity to meet a fellow ambassador the other day. Simon Langton, director of the groundbreaking 1995 mini-series of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth, was announced as the first ambassador a few weeks back, and during a recent conference at Chawton House Library - which is even more appropriate, given that the founder, Caroline Knight, was the last generation of Knights to grow up there! - celebrating 20 years since the mini-series. It was lovely to be able to meet him in person. He is a lovely gentleman and just as passionate about the charity as I am. 

Sophie Andrews with Simon Langton
Sophie with fellow ambassador, Simon Langton
Personalised bookplates for Foundation donors

Can you spot anything different about the front of the books we are holding? That little white label proudly adorning our books? What you can see is a very special Jane Austen Literacy Foundation bookplate! Bookplates are a traditional way to indicate ownership of physical books. Especially when books were scarce and expensive, labelling books was an important way of keeping track of your property, whilst still allowing them to be loaned out and circulated. And what is even better is that you can own one yourself, personalised with your name in Jane's hand and its own unique number, perfect to stick into your favourite book, showing your support of the charity. All you have to do is head over to the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation website - click on the donate button, and once your donation has been processed, you will receive by email your personalised bookplate! Simple as that!

Once again I would like to say a big thank you for allowing me to come onto your blog to share my special announcement with you and your readers. I did not come empty handed either - I have a fantastic competition for you to enter! 

Sophie Andrews hiding behind a book
Sophie Andrews
A chance to win a night's stay in Jane Austen's House in Bath

Plaque outside Jane Austen's house in Bath
Plaque outside Jane Austen's house in Bath
Bath Boutique Stays have been so kind as to offer a one-night mid-week stay for two in an apartment at 4 Sydney Place, Jane Austen’s former home in Bath. 

4 Sydney Place, Jane Austen's house in Bath Photo © Andrew Knowles
4 Sydney Place, Jane Austen's house
in Bath - photo © Andrew Knowles
All you need to do to enter to win this fabulous prize is to guess the answer to the following question: How many steps is it from Lizzy Bennet’s penthouse apartment to the carriage awaiting her at the front door of 4 Sydney Place?

The hallway, 4 Sydney Place, Bath
The hallway, 4 Sydney Place, Bath
Please email your answers to Lucy Bennett (her real name!) at lucy@bathboutiquestays.co.uk and the person who guesses the correct number of steps - or comes closest to it! - will win! The competition ends on 2 October.

Staircase, 4 Sydney Place, Bath
Staircase, 4 Sydney Place, Bath

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Who would enjoy reading A Perfect Match?


How can I persuade you to read my book?

I guess that is the question that every author asks. Enough people have read A Perfect Match and told me that they like it for me to be sure that there will be others who will enjoy it too. But how do I find that audience?

Perhaps it would help if I tried to define who I think might enjoy my book. I think you might enjoy my book if:

• You like reading Jane Austen - and I mean reading the books and not just watching the film/TV versions. Not that I would dare to liken myself to Jane Austen, but if you like the pace and language of her books, then I think there is a reasonable chance that you might like my style.
• You enjoy real historical people interacting with fictional characters, like Judith Taverner talking to Beau Brummell in Georgette Heyer’s Regency Buck.
• You enjoy a story which is rich in historical detail about events and places.
• You prefer a romance where the hero and heroine save the sex until after they are married (and the book is finished!).
• You like romances with a bit more to them than boy meets girl, overcomes a few obstacles and lives happily ever after.

Try it and see

If you would like to read a few chapters to see if you like it, you can download an ebook of the first five chapters from the Goodreads website. Go to the book page here and click on “Download eBook”.

Four people who appear in A Perfect Match:  Top left: Painter, Sir Joshua Reynolds  Top right: Whig hostess, Elizabeth Lamb, Viscountess Melbourne  Bottom left: Bluestocking hostess, Elizabeth Montagu  Bottom right: Abolitionist MP, William Wilberforce (1)
Four people who appear in A Perfect Match:
Top left: Painter, Sir Joshua Reynolds
Top right: Whig hostess, Elizabeth Lamb, Viscountess Melbourne
Bottom left: Bluestocking hostess, Elizabeth Montagu
Bottom right: Abolitionist MP, William Wilberforce (1)
What readers are saying about A Perfect Match
"A Perfect Match captured me from start to finish and I devoured it within two days of receiving it."
"Great historical romance with nice little twists and turns. Interwoven with real historical characters and facts."
"Good period detail and an unusual attention to politics and religion. It was particularly good to see the faith of characters, in historically plausible ways, taken seriously as a plot device."
“I loved the characters and story. It brought to life a period of time perfectly; the restraints and expectations for a young girl, set beautifully between Weymouth and London. The scenes set locally in Weymouth really were a treat bringing to life the history that sits around us every day. A good read – loved it.”
Excerpts from a review by Regency Reader:
“True Austen purists will like the streamlined non-melodramatic approach to romance.”
“There is also something special about the pace that reminded me a lot of reading Austen contemporaries. I think in part it’s the way the history is woven throughout the narrative, given a strong sense of time and place, rather than thrown against the page to see what sticks.”
“Fantastically researched, clean with a traditional pace that speaks to the Georgian era.”

Goodreads - a place to find book recommendations

If you are not a member of the Goodreads website, I can recommend it as a great way to find out about new books that you might enjoy based on what you have already read and liked. The listopia section – lists of books meeting all sorts of different criteria – is a particularly good way of finding book recommendations. For example, A Perfect Match is listed in “History through novels: England/UK”, “Clean Regency (or around then) Romance Novels” and “Books set in Dorset”, so you immediately get an idea of what A Perfect Match and other books in those lists are like.

This post was originally designed to promote a giveaway which ended on 14 October 2015, but you can still find me on Goodreads.
 
Note
(1) Sources of pictures in collage. Click on the links to find out more about these people:
Sir Joshua Reynolds from The literary works of Sir Joshua Reynolds ed J Farington and E Malone (1819)
Elizabeth Lamb, Viscountess Melbourne from In Whig Society, correspondence, edited by Mabell, Countess of Airlie (1921)
Elizabeth Montagu from a print on display at Dr Johnson's House Museum, London
William Wilberforce aged 20 from Life of William Wilberforce by his sons, RI & S Wilberforce (1838)

Monday, 14 September 2015

Jane Austen Festival 2015 Regency Promenade in Bath

Jane Austen Festival 2015 Regency Promenade in Bath © Andrew Knowles
Jane Austen Festival 2015 Regency Promenade in Bath © Andrew Knowles
On Saturday 12 September, hundreds of Regency and Jane Austen fans gathered at the Assembly Rooms in Bath for the start of the annual Regency-costumed Jane Austen Festival parade. The weather forecast was not the brilliant sunshine we had hoped for and last minute decisions had to be made as to whether to carry an umbrella or not. A heavy shower of rain shortly before the parade was about to begin caught out a few latecomers, but as we poured out of the Assembly Rooms in our Regency outfits, the rain stopped and soon the sun began to shine.

Here is Andrew’s video of the parade:



Dirty petticoats

The earlier rain made the path quite dirty in places and caused more than one person to quote from Pride and Prejudice, likening the experience to Lizzy Bennet walking to Netherfield to see her sister and making her petticoat dirty. Alas that we should have our petticoats “six inches deep in mud”! (1) I think we trusted in Mr Bingley’s judgement on our appearance, that we “looked remarkably well” from the exercise and I am sure that almost every onlooker would have agreed with him in saying: “Her dirty petticoat escaped my notice.” (1)

A little drizzle afflicted us now and again, but most of the parade was completed in the dry. Once in the Parade Gardens, we promenaded around, listening to the band and watching a demonstration of dancing before the rain sent everyone scurrying for shelter.

This is my daughter Abi’s video of the promenaders filling up the Parade Gardens:



The camera obscura

There was also a new exhibit in the gardens this year - a camera obscura. This was a small tent with a lens in its roof that enabled moving pictures from the surrounding area to be projected onto the white screen inside the darkened tent. These were very popular in the Georgian and Victorian eras.

Read more about the camera obscura in my September newsletter.

The camera obscura, Parade Gardens, Bath © Andrew Knowles
The camera obscura, Parade Gardens, Bath
Photo © Andrew Knowles
Here are some of Andrew’s photos of the parade:

Jane Austen Festival 2015 Regency Promenade in Bath © Andrew Knowles

Jane Austen Festival 2015 Regency Promenade in Bath © Andrew Knowles

Jane Austen Festival 2015 Regency Promenade in Bath © Andrew Knowles

Jane Austen Festival 2015 Regency Promenade in Bath © Andrew Knowles

Jane Austen Festival 2015 Regency Promenade in Bath © Andrew Knowles

Jane Austen Festival 2015 Regency Promenade in Bath © Andrew Knowles
 
Jane Austen Festival 2015 Regency Promenade in Bath © Andrew Knowles
Jane Austen Festival 2015 Regency Promenade in Bath
- Rachel Knowles with Sophie Andrews, Joana Starnes,
and Hazel Mills © Andrew Knowles
Jane Austen Festival 2015 Regency Promenade in Bath © Andrew Knowles

Jane Austen Festival 2015 Regency Promenade in Bath © Andrew Knowles

Jane Austen Festival 2015 Regency Promenade in Bath © Andrew Knowles

Jane Austen Festival 2015 Regency Promenade in Bath © Andrew Knowles

Jane Austen Festival 2015 Regency Promenade in Bath © Andrew Knowles

Jane Austen Festival 2015 Regency Promenade in Bath © Andrew Knowles

Jane Austen Festival 2015 Regency Promenade in Bath © Andrew Knowles

Jane Austen Festival 2015 Regency Promenade in Bath © Andrew Knowles

Jane Austen Festival 2015 Regency Promenade in Bath © Andrew Knowles

Jane Austen Festival 2015 Regency Promenade in Bath © Andrew Knowles

Jane Austen Festival 2015 Regency Promenade in Bath © Andrew Knowles

Jane Austen Festival 2015 Regency Promenade in Bath © Andrew Knowles

Jane Austen Festival 2015 Regency Promenade in Bath © Andrew Knowles

Jane Austen Festival 2015 Regency Promenade in Bath © Andrew Knowles

Jane Austen Festival 2015 Regency Promenade in Bath © Andrew Knowles

Jane Austen Festival 2015 Regency Promenade in Bath © Andrew Knowles

Jane Austen Festival 2015 Regency Promenade in Bath © Andrew Knowles

Jane Austen Festival 2015 Regency Promenade in Bath © Andrew Knowles

Jane Austen Festival 2015 Regency Promenade in Bath © Andrew Knowles

Jane Austen Festival 2015 Regency Promenade in Bath © Andrew Knowles

Emma

I was back again in Bath on Sunday, reading chapter six of Emma in the library as part of the Jane Austen Festival read-through in celebration of the 200th anniversary of its publication.

Rachel Knowles reading Emma in Bath library © Andrew Knowles
Rachel Knowles reading Emma in Bath library
© Andrew Knowles
Note
(1) From Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813)

All photos © regencyhistory.net
There are more pictures of the promenade on Flickr - click here to see the album.