Regency Food

It has been a while since we did anything on food so I thought you might like a change. It could be that will all the festivities planned for the next little while, I have food on my mind.

While I know lots about meat, I thought I might do something of vegetables.  I found several recipes for a vegetable called a cardon in French, or in English a cardoon. It went "out of fashion" in the late 1800's.

It is new to me, but it is an artichoke thistle, related to the globe artichoke and has an artichoke like flavour. Since it has spines, care is needed.

The following recipe from 1822  would have been used as a second course dish.

Cardons a la Espagnole

This dish is the foremost of all the entremets of vegetables and requires great attention and no small share of skill. It is not much relished in England but in France it was held in the highest estimation.
In the first place you must select a few heads of cardons all very white. Cut each leaf into slices of six inches long with the exception however of those that are hollow which are tough and thready. Beard them of their prickles and blanch them by putting the thickest leaves into boiling water. When you have given these a few boils put in the leaves of the heart, turn the middle stalks into large olives and blanch them likewise.

Then try a piece in cold water to see whether the slime which is on the surface will come off by rubbing If so take them off the fire immediately and throw them into cold water as they are done enough or you may cool the boiling water by pouring cold into it till you are able to bear your hand in it to rub off all the slime.

This being done throw the cardons into a blanc, give them a single boil and leave them in the blanc. Whenever you wish to use them, drain a sufficient quantity. Pare both extremities and mark them in a stew pan with four spoonfuls of Espagnole and four spoonfuls of consomme a little salt and a little sugar. Let them boil over a sharp fire that they may not be done too much be sure to skim off all the fat.

Dish them nicely. Strain the sauce through a tammy before you mask (cover) them. Send them up to table quite hot with a cover over them to prevent their getting dry

Espagnole is a sauce, created this way. Besides some slices of ham put into a stew pan some slices of veal. Moisten the same as for the coulis sweat them in the like manner let all the glaze go to the bottom and when of a nice red colour moisten with a few spoonfuls of first consomme to detach the glaze then pour in the coulis. Let the whole boil for half an hour that you may be enabled to remove all the fat. Strain it through a clean tammy. Remember always to put into your sauces some mushrooms with a bunch of parsley and green onions.

Other suggested sauces were marrow (as in bone), veloute, and sauce blanche.  Take your pick. 

Interesting, but not something I plan to rush out and buy from the grocery store.  Next time we will try something a little less exotic.

Until then Happy Rambles

Regency London ~ My search

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Regency London

My next day in London was a biggie. Talk about ramble. I walked miles. Looking back at my notes and plans, I now remember how worried I was about the volcano in Iceland. Anyone remember that?  I was on tenterhooks for weeks wondering if we would actually make it across the pond. Oh, now we have taken a side turn. Back onto the main path. That particular day, I took the underground to Tower station, where I met my fellow ramblers. Our first stop was a church

All Hallows by the Tower

London has many many churches, but this one calls itself the oldest one in the city of London.  I am hedging my bets a bit here, because I did not do the research and merely accept what they say.

The Saxon Abbey of Barking founded the church of All Hallows by the Tower in 675 AD. An arch from the original Saxon church remains. Beneath the arch is a Roman pavement, discovered in 1926, evidence of city life on this site for the best part of two thousand years.
Following their execution on Tower Hill, numerous beheaded bodies were brought into the church including those of Thomas More, Bishop John Fisher and Archbishop Laud.
William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania, was baptised in the church and educated in the schoolroom (now the Parish Room). In 1666 the Great Fire of London started in Pudding Lane, a few hundred yards from the church, and All Hallows survived through the efforts of Admiral Penn, William Penn's father. Apparently Samuel Pepys watched the fire from its tower.
John Quincy Adams, sixth president of the USA, was married in All Hallows in 1797. 

After the bombings of World War II, only the tower remains of that old church. The church continues its old medieval custom of "beating the bounds" basically walking the boundaries of the parish and whacking the ground along the line at intervals with sticks. I guess this prevents some other church from claiming their parishioners?  Since one of the boundaries actually runs down the center of the River Thames they all get on a boat to observe this part of the custom.  Now I do not know if they did this during the Regency, or if this was revived more recently, but it is just interesting.

Certainly the Church was there, beside the Tower of London, during our time and during the centuries before.

This picture shows part of the Roman street found beneath the Church in the early 20th century.

Don't forget to look out for my new short story e-book Undone out this month.
Unmasking Lady Innocent

This day was a long one and there is much more to come. Until then, Happy Rambles.

Regency Fashion for December

Just a quick reminder about the Holiday Contest on my website.

Our fashion article today is not what you would call cheerful but the description is so detailed I thought you would like it.

Princess Charlotte of Wales died November 6 1817 and Mourning Dress was still being worn in December as can be seen from this plate. The Princess was very popular and I think this would have been important to many people at this time

The Walking Dress
Plain round dress, composed of black bombazeen, the body is made up to the throat, and tight to the shape.  Plain long sleeves with white crape weepers.  The skirt is finished round the bottom by a number of black crape rouleaus.  Over this dress is worn a pelisse of black Levantine, open in front, and wrapping a little to one side.  The waist is very short, and the back is quite plain.  There is a small square collar which supports a very full ruff composed of white crape.  The collar, fronts, and bottom of the dress, ar finished by a broad trimming of black crape, which is laid on very full.  Plain long sleeves, finished at the wrist with black crape to correspond:  the upper part of the sleeve is full, but it is tight towards the wrist.  Head-dress, a small French bonnet composed of black Leghorn.  The edge of the front is ornamented by a rouleau of black crape; two rouleaus ornament the top of the crown; and one very broad one goes round the bottom of it.  A black crape band ties it under the chin; and a full bunch of artificial flowers, composed also of black crape, ornaments it on one side.  Black shamoy gloves and black shoes.
The Evening Dress
A black crape frock over a black sarsnet slip: the body is cut very low all round the bust, and very short in the waist.  The sleeve is very short and full.  A narrow white crape trimming, of a novel description goes round the bust, and both the body and sleeves are interspersed in a new style, with either black or white crape.  The skirt is of easy fullness; it is finished round the bottom by a broad trimming of either black or white crape disposed in festoons, and interspersed with cypress leaves, composed of black crape.  This is surmounted by a broad rouleau of either black or white crape, round which is twined a double row of polished jet beads.  The hair is dressed high behind, and in light curls on the forehead; it is ornamented only be an elegant jet comb.  Necklace and ear-rings of jet. Gloves of black shamoy leather; plain black silk shoes.

The use of jet for ornament is typical of this era for morning. I find the use of white as trim very interesting.

That is all from me on this occasion. In the new year, we will be looking at our fashions from a different angle.

Until next time, Happy Rambles.

Searching for Regency London

Like most tourists, I found myself at St Paul's Cathedral, a well known sight in London now and certainly just as well known in Regency times.

Nearby and of interest to me as a writer is a medieval institution, the Guild of Stationers and their Hall. Stationers' Hall located in Ave Maria Lane, just off Ludgate Hill.

From the Middle Ages, no man was allowed to trade in the City of London unless he resided there and belonged to a Guild, later a livery company. One such was a fraternity or Guild of Stationers (booksellers who copied and sold manuscript books and writing materials and limners who decorated and illustrated them). Each appointed a warden to control and regulate them.

By the early 16th century printers had joined The Stationers' Company and by the mid century the printers had more or less ousted the manuscript trade. In 1557 the Guild received a Royal Charter of Incorporation and in 1559, the right to wear a distinctive livery. They became a livery company, numbered 47 in precedence.

The Stationers' Charter secured them from outside competition, but they had to settle their own internal disputes, which mostly concerned infringements of ownership of 'copies' or what we would now call copyright.

Until the early twentieth century the most usual way of joining the Company was by serving an apprenticeship to a freeman or liveryman. Although the system gradually declined, the Stationers' Company is unusual among livery companies in insisting that its members work in the book or allied trades.

The interior presents much the same appearance today as when it was built although the frontage was radically altered in 1800 to give it an early nineteenth century façade.

Hall Registry

By 1556 according to Guild rule it was an offence not to present to the Wardens every publication not protected by Royal Grant. A Register of copies became the written record to which claims could be referred and by which disputes as to ownership might be settled. Succeeding Copyright Acts confirmed the Company as the place where copies should be registered 'Entered at Stationers' Hall'.Registration under the Copyright Act of 1911 terminated in December 1923.

Fascinating. Until next time, happy rambles.

Being Scotch

Did you think I had made a dreadful mistake? Or did you know I was talking about a drink, not a
person. I do of course mean Scotch whisky (and that too is the correct spelling).

My current work in progress is set in Scotland and part of my plot revolves around a whisky distillery. There are a number of discussions about the origins of uisge beatha, water of life (uisge sounds like usky anglicized to whisky).

Most experts believe the knowledge of distilling was brought from Ireland by the Scots in the fifth century A.D., along with the Gaelic language. Scotch whisky is made from barley malt and I will not delve into the actual process here.

Traditionally in the Highlands, whisky was provided before breakfast to sharpen the appetite, since it was seen as both a libation and as a health drink. It was given to infants and children too. It was offered to anyone who crossed a home’s threshold as a matter of courtesy at any time of day or night.

During the Regency there were huge numbers of illicit stills in the Highlands to avoid punishing excise taxes. Considerable quantities were smuggled across the border into England where ardent spirits were taxed at an even higher rate. Highland farmers used their sale of illicit whisky to pay the rents on their land, since often it was their only source of real cash income in addition to what was needed for their own consumption. The rugged Highlands provided great hiding places from the "gaugers" (Excise Officers). And the local populace delighted in the excise officers’ failures and mourned their successes.

When an illegal still was found, the equipment would be smashed and the owner of the still punished – if found.

An Act of Parliament passed in 1814 prohibited any still in the Highlands with a less than 500 gallon capacity. A fantastical size for that period of time. Moreover, thereafter all whisky produced in the Highlands could only be sold in the Highlands, effectively making the legal production and selling of whisky almost impossible. Needless to say it only served to encourage illicit stills
and an increase of smuggling. In 1823 14,000 illicit stills were discovered and smashed, but many more went undiscovered.

Scotsmen with vision knew this had to change and in this year a new act was passed making 40 gallons the minimum size for a still and setting the duty at a reasonable rate. Illicit production slowly dwindled away along with smuggling.

Of course how all this fits in my story has yet to be revealed to me, but I hope you enjoy reading a small snippet from my research. It is nice to know that this ancient Scottish skill has survived to produce one of the world's most popular drams. Slàinte

This post originally appeared on the blog at, but I wanted to record it here too, since I may have other posts on this topic.

Until next time, Happy Rambles

Searching for Regency London

Soane's Museum

This is the house of Sir John Soane, one of England's greatest architects. He was the youngest son of a bricklayer, but at fifteen moved to London as a pupil of the architect George Dance and studied at the Royal Academy. He became a highly successful architect winning the important commission of architect to the Bank of England.

His house, which he deliberately intended as a museum, is on of those places all Regency-philes hanker to visit. It is also the sort of place one might want to visit over and over again, there is so much crammed into such a small space. Soane intended his collection to educate and inspire students and amateurs in painting, architecture and sculpture.

The house is in Lincoln's Inn Fields and he first bought number 12 in 1792 and then moved into number thirteen in 1813, and right from this time he planned it as a museum, finally purchasing number fourteen in 1823.

Visitors were allowed in during his lifetime, but only in good weather. The rooms contain all kinds of artifacts, including a collection of antique marble fragments assembled in and around Rome for Henry Holland, bought on his death by Soane in 1816.

In the picture room are the two original paintings of Hogarth's series A Rake's Progress and An Election. Engravings would be done from the paintings.

It is a very eccentric sort of a place, not at all the typical Regency home, but a fascinating look around a town house. The rooms I enjoyed most were the Library and the dining room and the Drawing Rooms. They held dances in these upstairs rooms when Mrs. Soanes was alive. The rooms were painted in 'Turner's Patent Yellow' a fashionable colour of the day, and had matching curtains and upholstery. The staircases are lovely and take up minimum space.

Personally, I think the man would have ended up on reality tv as a hoarder.

It is difficult to do justice to the house or the museum with only words, but I highly recommend a visit.

Until next time, Happy Rambles. Off to read Georgette Heyer's Reluctant Widow, since someone mentioned it the other day.

What are you reading?

Searching for Regency London

by Ann Lethbridge
Stories are flying out thick and fast from yours truly. This short story, Unmasking Lady Innocent will be available on line on December 1. Another great cover, even if it is an on line one. Just in case you want to know what it is about:

Spinster Diana Buntin has accepted that handsome Lord James Grey will never look at her as more than a friend. Yet she is tired of waiting to experience passion. Armed with a list of rakes known to specialize in seduction, Diana arranges to meet her first lover at a masked ball—keeping their identities secret and her reputation intact.

But while Diana feels a powerful attraction to her mystery seducer, she also senses that he may not be a stranger after all....

The Foundling Hospital, Bloomsbury, London

Not all things Regency leave one with a happy feeling. Certainly my next stop did not. The Foundling Museum is interesting, but sad.

The Foundling Hospital (hospital meaning hospitality to those less fortunate rather than medical facility) was founded in the mid 1700’s and continued until the 1920’s. It was founded by Thomas Coram who was shocked by the number of dead and dying babies on the streets. Its mission was the education and care of abandoned children.

The children left here were not orphans; rather they were children of women who could not care for them because the fathers had abandoned them. Mothers were interviewed before they were allowed to leave their children who had to be under 1 year-old. The mothers had to be of good character, even if not married, and the child must be their first. Mothers would line up outside the high wrought iron gates for the chance to leave their “unwanted” children, because they knew they would receive better care than they could provide. Both Hogarth and Handel raised funds for the hospital by way of their art.

In 1801 the hero of the Nile and some of his friends the establishment with a visit and stood sponsors to several of the children The names given on this occasion were Baltic Nelson William and Emma Hamilton Hyde Parker &c Up to a very late period the Governors were sometimes in the habit of naming the children after themselves or their friends but it was found to be an inconvenient and objectionable course inasmuch as when they grew to man or womanhood they were apt to lay claim to some affinity of blood with their nomenclators The present practice therefore is for the Treasurer to prepare a list from which the children are named

A register on view at the Museum, records the names of the children admitted, the care they received, including if they were wet nursed or dry (fed bread and water) and their ultimate date of departure at age fourteen either to enter society as apprentices, or the date of their demise. In Georgian times, there were between 200 and 400 children under the care of the hospital.

Dec. 31, 1814,

Children remaining alive, and
on the hospital establishment...........................352

Received in the year ending Dec. 31, 1815...........58

Apprenticed and sent to sea, within the said
Children in the hospital, Dec. 31, 1815............192
Children at nurse in the country......................179

Children at nurse in the country, meant children under five who were sent out of the city to be wet nursed and cared for, since the city air was thought to be bad for them

You can find a history of the Hospital in the following book as well as at

The history and objects of the Foundling Hospital: with a memoir of the founder
By John Brownlow, Foundling Hospital (London, England)

Sometimes the mothers would come back for the child when their circumstances improved. Heartrendingly, many times they would discover their child had not survived. Among the artifacts left with the children were lockets and tiny rings, buttons and religious talismen, which were left as a way of identifying their child. They are still held in the Museum.

I found it hard not to feel sad as I walked around, even knowing that these children were better off than those left on the streets or in the workhouses. If you ever have a chance to visit, make sure you take a kleenex or two.

Until next time, Happy Rambles

Searching for Regency London

by Ann Lethbridge

I just had to share this one, it comes out in January. This is a collection of HH Undones in Paperback including my first one - The Rakes Intimate Encounter. So if you are a person who prefers paper to e-book, here is your chance to try several Undones which to date were only available on line.

You will of course be hearing more about this one, but I just love the cover and had to share it.

I have been sacrificing chocolate bars to the cover god and she seems to appreciate the love, so here is the result. lol

This is the entrance to Russel Square, built by the Duke of Bedford in 1804 and named after his family's surname.

The square has been redesigned to go back to its original early nineteenth century layout. Next time I am in London I will spend a bit more time at the square. I was very taken with the Russell Hotel but it is Victorian and therefore unworthy of a picture on my blog.

The portrait painter Thomas Lawrence had a studio at number 65 (1805–1830) Russell Square. Or was it 67, there are some differences depending on which information you read. I am going with 65 since that is what is recorded in Old and New London 1878.

A note in the Gentleman's Magazine for January, 1818, by the Rev. John Mitford, says:—"We shall never forget the Cossacks, mounted on their small white horses, with their long spears grounded, standing as sentinels at the door of this great painter, whilst he was taking the portrait of their general, Platoff." [Platov]

A wonderful mental image. Somehow I have to find a way to put that in a story. Lawrence's house, (seen left) has since been demolished in favour of the Imperial Hotel.

It was also from Bolton House, on the corner of Guilford Street that, on the 21st of June, 1799, George III., with the Queen and several members of the Royal Family, assembled and after partaking of a cold collation, proceeded to view the nearby Foundling Hospital. I will be posting about the hospital next.

That is all for today, until next time, Happy Rambles.

Regency Fashion for November

by Michele Ann Young
I can't quite believe how quickly things are rushing by.  Almost time for another newsletter, so if you haven't signed up, do so waaay at the bottom of the blog.

From the November 1809Ladies Monthly Museum
 Walking Dress
A short petticoat and vest of fine cambric of India muslin, made whole in front, and laced up behind; it is finished with a collar, edged with rich antique lace: the dress is bordered with a colored or worked border. A bonnet of amber velvet or satin, with a small front, and tassels on each side. Roman cloak of purple velvet, and with amber sarcenet: the cloak is ornamented with a gold trimming, and fastened on the right shoulder with a broach or clasp. Purple shoes or half boots.

 Full Dress
 A dress composed of lacenett, spotted or worked in stripes: --a white satin body and petticoat; the front made high and square, and worked in chenille; sleeves of entire lace. Headdress, a lace handkerchief or hood, ornamented in front with two ostrich feathers. Necklace of gold chain, with cornelian clasp: earings to correspond: white shoes and gloves.

I love the idea of the Roman cloak of purple and the amber bonnet.

Next week we will be back to our tour of Regency London. Until then Happy Rambles.

Regency Fashion for October

by Ann Lethbridge

This summer I was fortunate to visit Hay-on-Wye or Croeso Y Gelli on the English/Welsh border, a town that specializes in book shops. Put historical authors and bookshops together and you may lose us for a few days.

The picture is of the largest bookshop in Hay. Yes, it is a castle. Not only are those books sitting outside in wooden bookcases, but the castle is filled with them, along with prints and maps. Heaven.

Since I especially enjoy looking at the fashions from the late Georgian era, particularly 1800 to 1830, so you can imagine my joy when I found fashion plates in one of the shops I visited that day. Since it is October, I thought I would share this one with you.

This is a fashion plate from La Belle Assemblee for October 1810. It is titled Pelisse Dress of Autumn. I imagine it as what we might call a coat dress these days. The description is as follows:

A pelisse dress of autumnal brown sarsnet, made low in the neck, trimmed down the front and round the bottom with a rich trimming of vandyked white satin, ornamented with silver frogs; the sleeves buttoned on the inside of the arm, to correspond with the front of the dress; over the bosom is tied a light white net mantle, scolloped, and ornamented with acorn tassels. White satin bonnet, with a bunch of wheat in front, and short lace veil. Brown sandals and gloves. Green parasol.

I notice they didn't say anything about the dog. I can't make up my mind if he is a friend or foe. He really looks like he wants to bite one of the many tassels hanging off that gown!

Until next time, happy rambles

Searching for Regency London

by Ann Lethbridge

New Cover!

This is my December book The Gamekeeper's Lady out in the UK, isn't it gorgeous? Drooling here. I don't yet have a copy but I am very pleased with this new style and the cover itself. So like my heroine.

Regency London

You would think after a day of tramping around Hampstead, I would have had the sense to go home and have a nice cup of tea. Not.

That evening I took the underground to Southwark. This is Southwark Cathedral, at night of course. I must say blogger is being very slow with pictures today, which may limit the number I post this time, so please excused the short post.

This was originally a priory and was not a cathedral during the regency era, but it was one of England's first Gothic churches and stands at the entry to London Bridge, the only way into London for many centuries.

The real reason for my visit to Southwark is of course the coaching inn. One of the few remaining where one can still see the galleries.

This is the George Inn in Southwark. Only one of its sides - the south side now remains. I wanted to see it at night.

I also went there during daylight hours.

The George can be traced back to 1542 although it is likely that an inn existed here prior to this. Built around three sides of a courtyard - the style became known as an 'inn-yard'. The inn served as an Elizabethan inn-yard theatre. Its wide, double-tiered balconies were an excellent vantage point for the Elizabethan plays. William Shakespeare lived and worked in the area and there is no doubt that he would have frequented the Inn on a regular basis and even possibly have played there, though not in the building we see now, the original inn burned down in 1676, but was rebuilt the same as the old one.

Coaches would have left from here to go through Tunbridge Wells to Dover during the Regency.

Well that is all from me today, so until next time, Happy Rambles.

Searching for Regency London

One Night as a CourtesanNews.
One Night as a Courtesan is out. 
 A short e-story for your reading pleasure.
Widow Julia Partridge is desperate. To repay a debt, she's forced to sell herself in an auction at the most exclusive bawdy house in London. Julia only has to get through one night with one man--though she never imagined that man would be Alistair Crawford, the dissolute Duke of Dunstan! Alistair has the face of a fallen angel...and a reputation for vice to match. Yet when he turns his attentions to Julia, he unexpectedly arouses more passion in a few moments than she'd felt in her entire marriage....

Harlequin Historicals Undone, exclusively available in eBook.
Mills and Boon
The picture will take you to

Regency London

It is always fun to have something new to show and tell, but I did promise you a blog so staying with Hampstead Heath, I next walked to Keats House

Keats became much better known after his death and it makes me feel quite sad to know that such a talented young man died young, age 25, died almost alone, and was unrequited in love. The woman  he loved lived in the same house in a separate apartment. He lived here from 1818 to 1820 and it was where he wrote his most intensely moving poems.

 It is a small house and very peaceful, even though it is surrounded by a subdivision of houses.

It was not the happiest afternoon for me, I think I found it to affecting that someone so talented should have so little time.

There is lots to be read about Keats, his work, his life, but I don't think I wish to do more than show where he lived.
So that is all from me tonight.

Until next time, Happy Rambles.

Flora and Fauna of Regency England ~ September

by Ann Lethbridge

Here are some of the not so favourite creatures you will find in the Regency at this time of year.

September is a time for wasps, August too. Never my favourite insect it becomes a real nuisance if you want to eat out of doors. They also eat any fruit that is ripe on the trees.

Another not favourite is the earwig. It is an old wives tale that earwigs go in ears, isn't it?

Earwigs are predisposed to hiding in warm humid crevices and may indeed occasionally crawl into the human ear canal (much like any other small organism). yuch.

I defy the Saint Helena earwig at three inches long to climb in anyone's ear. I only mention it because Saint Helena was Napoleon's home during the Regency.

And to creep myself out.

Oh now I'm itchy. But we can't have just all the pretty stuff, can we.

So one last creature in the ych category for September.

Snails. They breed in September and our Diarist says:

The gardener ought to consider that this and the succeeding month are the breeding months of earth-worms and snails, and, therefore, that one of those reptiles destroyed now, is as good as a dozen killed in spring.
Now if you can bear to walk amid the flora and fauna after that --- Happy Rambles.

Regency Fashion for September

by Michele Ann Young

Sorry to be missing for a week, I have had family visiting. Now it is the end of the summer I hope I can get back into the swing of things.

September Fashion

I am sure you have no trouble recognizing this as a mourning gown.  Interesting to me is that for once we have the front of one gown and the back another. They look almost the same.

This plate is from 1805 From the Ladies Museum

The first is a chemise dress of Italian gauze; full front, fastened in the centre with a jet broach, over a black sarcenet slip; sleeves and front trimmed with black net trimming, fastened with bugles. Leather gloves, and black jean shoes.

The second gown is made of of imperial lustre and has short sleeves. Gloves and shoes are the same as the first figure.

I couldn't resist this one, although it seems odd to me that this would be a fashion for September because it is.....

A Fashionable Sea-Side Walking Dress From La Belle Assemblee, 1810

It is described as follows:

A gown of white French cambric, or pale pink muslin, with long sleeves, and antique cuffs of thin white muslin, trimmed with Mechlen edging; made high in the neck, without a collar, and formed in points at the centre of the bosom, with three rows of letting-in lace; confined down the front of the dress with small buttons; and hemmed round the bottom with three rows of deep Mechlen lace; made rather short, and worn over trowsers of white French cambric, which are trimmed the same as the bottom of the dress.

A cap composed of lace and light green silk trimming, tied under the chin, with a bunch of natural flowers in front. Hair in full ringlet curls, divided in the front of the forehead. A figured short scarf of pale buff, with deep pale-green border, and rich silk tassels; worn according to fancy or convenience; with gloves of pale buff kid; and sandals of pale yellow, or white Morocco, complete this truly simple but becoming dress.

Isn't this interesting. She is wearing trowsers. And look at the strappy sandals. Don't they look like something we would wear today? It is very unusual to see a gown buttoned down the front I think. I am glad to see this as I am currently working on a seaside scene. Fortuitous is the word I am looking for, I think.

That is my fashion article for this month.  Flora and Fauna up next.  Then we return to London.  Until next time, Happy rambles

Searching for Regency London

Fenton House Continued
by Ann Lethbridge

Another view of the garden just to tempt you.

There are two more smaller rooms on the first floor, and their size make photographs less than satisfactory, so I can give you only a glimpse. Note that the first room also had a powder room and the second was originally linked to the master bed room.

Interestingly enough there were six more small rooms in the "attic". I assumed this was where the servants would sleep. But no. Although they could only be reached by the servants' staircase, these would have been family rooms too. Likely the younger children. Most of the families inhabiting this house had from seven to nine children. I was unable to visit these rooms on this occasion but it is on my list for another time.

The servants would have slept in the basement, not open to visitors.

Next time we have our fashion article, before we do more searching in London. Until then Happy Rambles.

Searching for Regency London

Fenton House, Hampstead, Continued
by Michele Ann Young

How about that for a garden and a view from a window. So green and well organized. The weeds in my garden won the battle this year.

This is just a small sample of the lovely views. I took more but thought this was probably enough to "get the idea". I might add another one at the end.

So leaving the ground (first) floor we go up stairs. Here you can see down from the top and get a better sense of the twisted balusters and the large window.

On this floor there are four rooms set around a square landing. The servant's stairs also emerge on this landing, making the two north facing rooms quite small.

This bedroom is the largest. It once had a closet, now an alcove beside the fireplace for powdering ones wig (rather than one's nose).

The columns were thought to be added in 1810 replacing a wall which created the narrow access passage to the clock in the centre east front wall. Where the plates are was originally another concealed or jib door to the adjacent bedroom. The instrument shown in the alcove is a spinet.

This next room is a drawing room, and apparently was always a drawing room. So this house only had three bedrooms on this second floor. The decoration of this room, the dentil frieze and the arched alcoves are likely early nineteenth century.

We still have two more rooms on this floor, but the photos take forever to load and the sunny day is calling me outside. So until next time, Happy Rambles.

Searching for Regency London

By Michele Ann Young

Fenton House continued

We saw the narrow servants' stairs in the previous set of pictures. Here are the stairs the family would have used.  Not the impressive staircase of some of the houses we have seen, but clearly wide, with lighting from a large window on the first landing, which itself is wide enough for a chair. The window looks out over the walled garden.

This is the original seventeenth century staircase with twisted balusters. Now we go upstairs

This next room on the ground floor has been described as a small sitting room, or study and displays some of the finest figurines from England and the continent in the eighteenth century. Some of the English makers are Bristol, Bow, Chelsea and Derby.

The mirror between the windows is fine gilt gessor, or sconce, once equipped with branches for candles from 1715. The instrument is a 1612 harpsicord.

This is the last room on the ground floor, and its use in our time is not described. The alcove off to the right would have been a closet, not open as it is now.

It now displays early Chinese ceramics some of which were imported into England in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.

Next time we will climb the staircase and look around upstairs. Until then Happy Rambles.

Searching for Regency London

by Ann Lethbridge

One of my most interesting visits this summer was to Fenton House in Hampstead.

Pictured first is the South Front, which faces down Holly Hill (a particularly steep hill I might add)

In the regency period, Hampstead was a small city separate from London and a place where the middle class professionals lived, rather than the fashionable, though the Heath itself drew many visitors. The village and the heath sits high on a hill overlooking London and at one time could be seen as wooded hills behind the city from the other side of the river.

Fenton House has remained remarkably untouched since it was built in 1756, being a substantial brick house with extensive gardens of fruit trees and kitchen gardens enclosed in a brick wall.

Today much of the house is given over to collections of pictures and musical instruments which are interesting. My main interest however was with the house itself. The way it would have been lived in.

Various parts of the house has been altered over the years, but still it retains much of its original structure.

The entrance hall shown here, with the service stairs behind which can be shut off by a door is a far more modest area that we see in the grand houses we have visited. The frieze around the ceiling dates from about 1810.

The long case clock you can see dates from 1700.

Here is a closer look at the frieze:

Moving into the dining room we can see that it was once divided into two rooms, a dining room and a drawing room.

The chairs at the table are 18th century mahogany. The harpsicord off in what was a drawing room is a Shudi and Broadwood from 1770. One of the earliest with the Broadwood name.

These lyre back chair are Regency and there is also a winecooler in the shape of a classical sarcophagus tucked under the sideboard which is also Regency.

The alcove, part of what was the drawing room which clearly goes into one of the protrusions you can see on the outside of the house contains one of the very popular Broadwood Square pianos, this one from 1774

Sadly this is all we have time for today. But lots more next time. Until then, happy rambles.

by Michele Ann Young

I'm late. I'm late.......

Glow Worms

There was a bit of a discussion about the presence of glow worms in Britain on one of my lists, and when browsing the Naturist for 1815 this is what he had to say for August:

... compensated by the presence of the lady-bird and the glow-worm; the first for its utility and the second for the beautiful effect it produces.

A bit of research on glow worms in the uk reveals that British glow worms are different from North American fire flies. They are females trying to attract a male, they do not fly during this lighting up phase and always have been rather rare, and only live about two weeks.

However one can imagine a romantic evening in August and the sight of some glow worms adding to the charm of the scene. As an aside, during a walk last July in Washington DC at dusk I was enchanted by the hundreds of fireflies hovering just above the grass, it was like being in fairyland.


Ladybird ladybird fly away home,
Your house is on fire and your children are gone
All except one and that's little Ann
And she crept under the frying pan

I can remember singing this to ladybirds, and blowing on them to make them fly away. There are several ideas about the origins. One is: In Medieval England farmers would set torches to the old hop (used in flavoring beer) vines after the harvest in order to clear the fields for the next planting. This poem was sung as a warning to the ladybugs that were still crawling on the vines in search of aphids.

The reason our naturist thinks they are useful is that they feed on aphids, scale insects, mealybugs, and mites throughout the winter .

Until next time, Happy Rambles

What I am reading:
Dangerous Desires by Dee Davis