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In Georgian England, what was a water-party?

In Georgian England, what was a water-party?

In the early 20th century novel The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy, there are several references made to something called a water-party, with no elaboration other than that it's happening on a Wednesday and people are expected to bring presents.

I was curious, so I googled the term several ways, and found nothing. What does a water-party mean in the context of Georgian England, or possibly in the context of the early twentieth century if it's an anachronism? Or is it just an odd way of saying a party on or near the water?


As you suggested, a water-party is a party on water - as can be seen from this 1812 chapbook cover.

Source: Victoria and Albert Museum. Note: Chapbooks "are small cheap publications of a popular nature purchased either at booksellers in towns or from chapmen (from early English 'ceap' meaning trade) and pedlars in rural areas."

This page of Regency Definitions describes a water-party as a social event

on a boat with pauses to view gardens

Perhaps the most famous water-party was when George Frideric Handel was commissioned by George I to compose Water Music

to accompany a vast water party organized by the court for the evening of July 17 and 18, 1717

According to the newspaper the Daily Courant, the River Thames was practically covered with boats for this event, making it quite possibly the biggest ever water-party.

Painting of George Frideric Handel (left, with right arm extended) with King George I of Great Britain, traveling by barge on the Thames River while musicians play in the background. The painting is an artist's rendering of the first performance of Handel's Water Music in 1717. Attrib: By Edouard Jean Conrad Hamman (1819-1888) (P.M. History. Januar 2006, S. 29.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Water-parties were one of the many possible 'activities of the ton' (pronounced 'tone'). The ton are described here as

High society; the elite; generally the wealthiest and those of rank, with royalty at the top; in today's terms, the 'in' crowd, such as Hollywood stars. To be "good ton" was paramount, and opened most any door in fashionable society.

Other social events included the card-party, balls, the garden party (breakfast outdoors), the Venetian breakfast (an afternoon party) and a rout ("a crowded party with no music or dancing or places to sit but people went because it was a place to see and be seen").

The Georgian era in England is commonly used for the period 1714 to 1830/37 (so Georges I, II, III, IV + sometimes William IV 1830-7) and includes the Regency Era (strictly speaking, 1811-1820). The Scarlet Pimpernel is set in 1792, well within the Georgian era, so the reference is not anachronistic.

A water party is also mentioned in Jane Austen's Emma (published 1815/16):

"And then, he saved her life. Did you ever hear of that?--A water party; and by some accident she was falling overboard. He caught her." "He did. I was there--one of the party."

Another reference to water parties can be found in Sports in the Western World which mentions that members of the Cumberland Fleet (a yacht club founded in 1775 and named after George III's brother, the Duke of Cumberland)

… sponsored "water parties" on the Thames

The term 'water party' is still in use today, though with a far wider range of meanings and social groups (see, for example, Urban Dictionary and babble.com).


Main keywords of the article below: reign, william, defined, georgian, period, wales, iv, sub-period, death, father, iii, regency, extended, 1830, era, george, definition, 1837, 1714, covers, prince, illness, include, ended, short.

KEY TOPICS
The era covers the period from 1714 to 1830, with the sub-period of the Regency defined by the Regency of George IV as Prince of Wales during the illness of his father George III. The definition of the Georgian era is often extended to include the short reign of William IV, which ended with his death in 1837. [1] This sub-period of the Georgian era began the formal Regency. [2] This sub-period of the Georgian Era is known as the Regency era. 1815 Napoleon I of France is defeated by the Seventh Coalition under The Duke of Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo, in what is now Wallonia, Belgium. 1819 The Peterloo Massacre occurs. 1820 George III dies on 29 January, and his son George, Prince Regent ascends to the throne of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland as George IV. 1830 George IV dies on 26 June. [3] A recent read brought home to me some very significant differences between what we think of as the Georgian era and the Regency era, differences that are very easily overlooked if you spend more "time" in one era than the other. [4]

This list is fairly comprehensive for full episodes of period dramas set in the Georgian era (1714 to 1837) and the sub-period Regency era (1811 to 1820) that are currently available to watch online on NETFLIX in the United States some have been received better than others but there's enough here that you should discover something you like, that you can watch right now. [5] A list of the top period films available on DVD and to stream that take place during the Georgian era (1714 to 1837) and the sub-period Regency era (1811 to 1820). [6]

The Regency Era covers just 9 years (1811-1820) and technically falls into the Georgian Era. [7] Wikipedia has a nice, albeit basic overview of the Georgian Era, and a nice summary of the Regency Era. [8]


The Georgian era of British history is a period which takes its name from, and is normally defined as spanning the reigns of the first four Hanoverian kings of Great Britain who were all named George: George I, George II, George III and George IV. [4] Many other authorities continue this era during the relatively short reign of his younger brother, The Prince William, Duke of Clarence, who became William IV. 1833 Slavery Abolition Act passed by Parliament through the influence of William Wilberforce and the Evangelical movement, thus criminalising slavery within the British Empire. 1837 William IV dies on 20 June, ending the Georgian Era. [3] Georgians British Library history resources about the Georgian era, featuring collection material and text by Dr. Matthew White. [3] Overall, menswear suffered fewer changes than womenswear between the early and late Georgian era. [4] Now some people ascribe the reign of the two George's (1760 - 1830) as the GEORGIAN era. [9]

Georgian Era Timeline Timeline Description: The Georgian Era (1714 - 1830) is a period of British history spanning the reigns of the first four Hanoverian kings of Britain, all of whom were named George. [10] You may also be interested in Period Dramas 2016: Georgian and Regency Eras, featuring the new costume dramas and period films to be released in 2016. [5] Wondering what period dramas are available to watch online now? Here is a list of Georgian and Regency era period dramas that are currently available TO STREAM on NETFLIX and Amazon in the United States. [5] Various medicinal cures existed in the Georgian and Regency eras. [11]

During the Georgian Era, the population of Britain grew rapidly from five million in 1700 to around nine million by 1801. [10]

Georgian Era (1714 - 1830) history, living history and the people, groups, historic homes, and sites that are involved in it. [12] By the later years of the Georgian era, you could find the game in every tavern, coffee-house, and many private homes. [12] I thought you might find it interesting, and for some of you helpful, if I briefly talked you through the styles of fireplace found in the Georgian era. [13] In Part 2 of this article, we will continue our investigation of Georgian era entertainments with a look at Parlor Games and other forms of indoor entertainment. [12]


Because The Mysterious Affair at Stirling Hall is designed to be played in the Regency (Georgian), Victorian or Edwardian era, the first step to deciding your costume is to find out from your host the era for which he or she are aiming. [7] Many of the specific elements that are grouped under the "Victorian" umbrella in RPG settings are actually from the Georgian or Regency Eras, in much the same way that "Medieval" settings lump together everything from the fall of the Western Empire through the late Middle Ages, and gaming's version of the "Age of Piracy" conflates two completely different historical periods separated by nearly a century. [14] Technically the Regency Era began in 1811 and ended in 1820 when George III died and the Prince Regent became King George IV, and was a mere sliver in the broader Georgian Period spanning 1714 to 1830. [8]

The powdered wigs of the Georgian era were forever relegated from fashion, as men of the period began wearing their hair short and natural. [15]

Because of the influence of the Georgian Prince Regent, this is known as The Regency Period, or the Regency fashion era. [16] Today I bring you the sixth installment of my series on Georgian and Regency Era servants. [17]

The Georgian era into which Jane Austen was born, characterized for Britain by almost constant warfare abroad, was in many ways a transitional period. [18]

As someone working my way into ghostwriting, this post was exceptionally helpful as a starting point for learning about the regency time period. [19] The Regency in Great Britain was a period when King George III was deemed unfit to rule and his son ruled as his proxy as Prince Regent. [2] The period from 1795 to 1837, which includes the latter part of the reign of George III and the reigns of his sons George IV and William IV, is sometimes regarded as the Regency era, characterised by distinctive trends in British architecture, literature, fashions, politics, and culture. [2] What I love about the Victorian period is the later part of the eras fashions and primarily the dawning age of industry and discovery, as well as the birth of a more romantic and adventuresome growth in the type of literature written and published. [19]

It was an era on the cusp between the rowdy Georgians and the suffocating Victorians. [19] I knew about Victorian since I took two classes of Victorian literature, but today I learned about Regency and Georgian. [9] I have read many historical romances, and very often it's hard to tell if they are Regency or Victorian if the book is based around the aristocracy or upper classes. [19] In fact the last book I read I thought was Regency but half way through the book the author mentioned Queen Victoria! There was nothing else which set the book in this time which was a shame. [19] One thing I enjoy while reading a Regency novel is the formality of British society--all the stiff decorum and silly gossip--I love the glimpse behind the curtain we get when the people in this rigid time set "let their hair down". [19]

By the new year, it was clear the king would recover and although a Bill for a restricted Regency was brought before the House in early February, Pitt spun out the debate to give the king time to recover. [19] I knew about the porphyria (great movie called The Madness of King George) but not the regency. [9]

Despite the bloodshed and warfare the Regency was also a period of great refinement and cultural achievement, shaping and altering the societal structure of Britain as a whole. [2] The squalor that existed beneath the glamour and gloss of Regency society provided sharp contrast to the Prince Regent's social circle. [2] The formation of the Regency after the retirement of George III saw the end of a more pious and reserved society, and gave birth of a more frivolous, ostentatious one. [2]

It's also important, I think, to understand that there is no delineation in their minds as to Regency and Victorian. [19] Although there are certainly some if not many examples of excessive behaviour during the early 19th century, the Prince Regent and his friend Beau Brummell spring to mind, for the most part, the wild behaviour which forms the backdrop of Regency romances was extremely rare and was for the most part associated with the Whig families. [19] The Prince Regent held a fete at 9:00p.m. June 19, 1811, at Carlton House in celebration of his assumption of the Regency. [2]

I love Regency because of their manners, their language, and their courtesy. [19] I love the Regency era because it is a time of such sharp contrast: the dawn of the industrial age, shifts in society, the glitter and amorality of a select set in the TON and the conservative morality of the evangelicals. [19] Christi Caldwell said: I love writing and reading about the Regency era because the times were driven by propriety and Social dictates. which makes stories of passion and love at the time so unique and grande. [19] The term Regency (or Regency era ) can refer to various stretches of time some are longer than the decade of the formal Regency which lasted from 1811-1820. [2] The Regency Era is that point in British History on the brink of a lot of governmental changes and social changes. [19]

This era encompassed a time of great social, political, and economic change. [2]

The last Hanoverian monarch of the Great Britain was William's niece Queen Victoria, who is the namesake of the following historical era, the Victorian, which is usually defined as occurring from the start of her reign, when William died, and continuing until her death. [1] I have written stories in both eras, but my favorite has to be Victorian. [19]

Both eras are, to me, about exciting change and romances set in these eras explore how women and men both dealt with and enjoyed those changes. [19] It was also an era of uncertainty caused by several factors including the Napoleonic wars, periodic riots, and the concern (threat to some, hope to others) that the British people might imitate the upheavals of the French Revolution. [19] The REAL reason I adore this era is because of their.CLOTHES! Yeah, I'm a fashion gal. [19] I fell in love with the Regency era as a young girl when I read Jane Austen and enjoyed escaping into that vastly different world of gentle manners and agricultural society away from London. [19] Melissa Lynne Blue said: I definitely like the Regency Era the best. [19]

I have since come to appreciate many things about the Victorian Era through reading authors from the time like Elizabeth Gaskell who you referenced above and many modern authors like Anne Perry. [19] The Victorian Era is when all sorts of things really started happening in Britain with the invention of the steam engine. [9] Charles Dickens, English writer and social critic of the Victorian era, was born on 7 February 1812. 1813 Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen was published. [2]

The term " Georgian " is typically used in the contexts of social and political history and architecture. [3] The Georgian saw continual warfare, including the Seven Years' War, known in America as the French and Indian War (1756-63), the American Revolutionary War (1775-83), the French Revolutionary Wars (1792-1802), the Irish Rebellion of 1798, and the Napoleonic Wars (1803-15). [1]

The paintings of Thomas Gainsborough, Sir Joshua Reynolds and the young J. M. W. Turner and John Constable illustrated the changing world of the Georgian period - as did the work of designers like Capability Brown, the landscape designer. [3]

First steam-propelled vessel (the SS Savannah ) crossed the Atlantic and arrived in Liverpool from Savannah, Georgia. 1820 Death of George III and accession of The Prince Regent as George IV. The House of Lords passed a bill to grant George IV a divorce from Queen Caroline, but because of public pressure the bill was dropped. [2] Regency is a term used for the Regency period 1811- 1820, when in 1811 Prince George (or Prinny as some called him) ascended to the throne after his father, King George III, went mad from a hereditary disease called porphyria. [9] The reason I know this is because Anne Gallagher, author of my favorite new seriesthe Reluctant Grooms, a series of Regency Romance bookswas kind enough to pardon my ignorance and explain to me the difference between the Victorian and Regency periods in a way that just might actually stick. [9] I love the Regency period for the way the women and the men of the period so industriously worked to get around all the rules imposed on them by society. [19] Lauren Smith said: What I love most about the Regency period are perhaps the emphasis on social rules and yet the period still retained delicious scandals and tales. [19]

The third season of the BBC comedy series Blackadder is set in the Regency Period. [2]

He eventually died in 1830, ten years after his father, but left such a legacy as to have a period of history named after him: the Regency. [20] James Purefoy (Rome, Vanity Fair) delivers a captivating performance as the dandy of Regency England who changed male fashion forever. [6] The next incarnation we encounter is in late-18th-century Regency England. [6]

The period after 1811 is known as the Regency period, as the Prince of Wales (later King George IV) ruled as Regent from that time until the death of his father George III in 1820. [21] The Regency Period officially began when the Prince of Wales (later King George IV) assumed the role of Prince Regent after his father, King George III, was declared unfit to rule in 1811. [20]

Willow and Thatch loves Period Films from the Georgian/Regency, Victorian and Edwardian eras, and beyond. [6] If you enjoyed this post, you'll want to wander over to the Period Films List for the best costume dramas, heritage films, documentaries, period dramas, romances, historical reality series and period inspired movies, all sorted by era and theme. [5]

Bright Star is the rare period movie to convey--without being insistent--what it was like to be alive in another era, the nature of houses and rooms and how people occupied them, the way windows linked spaces and enlarged people's lives and experiences, how fires warmed as the milky English sunlight did not. [6]

The BBC is confident of the pulling power of labels such as the Romans, the Tudors, the Victorians and the second world war, but any era that falls outside the embrace of the national curriculum, or the popular imagination, faces a tough time. [22] Graf’s film is, on one level, a familiar tale of star-crossed lovers held apart by time, tide and the pestilent social climate of the era. [6] The fashions of this era are quite familiar to us, as these are the styles of dress portrayed in the popular TV adaptations and films of Jane Austen novels, such as the 1995 Andrew Davies adaptation of 'Pride and Prejudice' for the BBC. ITV's Sharpe is based in this era too, during the Peninsular and Napoleonic Wars. [21] The era when slavery was legal and openly practiced in England is the backdrop for a story of greed, cruelty, and forbidden love, in A Respectable Trade. [6] Jump to the Elizabethan era and Atkinson picks up the saga as Lord Edmund, who is perpetually courting favor from mad Queen Bess (Miranda Richardson) and is always walking a tightrope from which he can either gain the world or lose his head. [6]

The age was followed by the brief reign of William IV, and then by Queen Victoria, who is the namesake of the Victorian era. [10]

The story is based on Jane Austen's novel about five sisters Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty and Lydia Bennet in Georgian England. [5] In her combination of fact and fiction, Jane Austen presents a fascinating impression of England in the late Georgian and Regency periods. [23] The Regency Period of Jane Austen's time provided a picture of England that differed greatly from that of today. [20] Clueless is an American coming-of-age comedy film, loosely based on Jane Austen's Regency period novel Emma. [5]

Follow Blackadder in hysterical send-ups of the Middle Ages, the Elizabethan age, the Regency period, and World War I. [6]

Were the Georgians a polite and commercial people, or an ungovernable rabble? Was the 18th century an ancien regime, or the first modern consumer society? The BL confirms the polite and commercial road to modernity story, illustrating rather more leisure and pleasure than squalor and rebellion. [22] The magazine Nicolaus von Heideloff's Gallery of Fashion brings a blast of Georgian colour to the show. [22] Marketing surveys do agree on one thing: the term "Georgians" is a helluva lot sexier than "Hanoverians". [22]

Starting from medieval fashion ending at the swinging sixties, this section covers British fashion during the Georgian period. [21]

Regency Christmas Recipes Listing includes: Christmas Puddings, Christmas Cakes, Ginger Bread/biscuits, Vinegar Pies as well as Georgian Recipes. [24] In George III’s case, the Act of Regency of 1811 appointed the crown prince and next in line to the throne at the time as Regent for his father. [25] From the book entitled Regency Etiquette: The Mirror of Graces dating to 1811, ". at no time ought she (meaning a lady) volunteer shaking hands with a male acquaintance [26]

What is the Regency era? It’s a time period in English history from 1785 to 1837 named after the fact that King George III became ill and had his son rule for him as Prince Regent. [25] The precise definition of the Regency era is from 1811 when King George III was deemed unfit to rule and his son the Prince of Wales ruled as his proxy, the Prince Regent, until 1820 when George III died and the Prince Regent became King George IV. In terms of antique furniture the Regency period normally refers to the general period from 1800 to 1830. [27]

Major Regency figures, George IV (the Prince Regent and later King) and the Duke of Wellington both owned tables and were known to be fond of the game. [12]

Regency dwellers, like Austen, lived under the threat of invasion by Napoleon and they idolized the war heroes of Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington. [25] Vingt-et-Un is an early version of Blackjack that has not changed much since Regency times. [12] What is the Regency era? In short, it is a time period in English history that lasted from 1795 to 1837. [25] Etiquette of the period: Impeccable manners and spotless reputations were the order of the day during the Regency Era. [26] The regency era in it’s cultural context lasted much longer than the 9 years that George IV served as Prince Regent. [25] Where did the Regency era get its name? From the King needing his son to serve as Prince Regent. [25] During the start of the Regency Era, the King was named George III. [25] After William IV, Queen Victoria came to the throne and ended the Regency Era by beginning the Victorian Era in 1837. [25] I best understand the Regency Era when contrasting it to the Victorian Era that follows it. [25] Writing novels or stories set in the Regency Era requires attention to detail. [24] The Regency era sets the scene for all of Jane Austen’s amazing works, including Pride and Prejudice. [25] It was popular in the later 18th and early 19th centuries, however, some writers have indicated that it was most popular with the older set during the Regency era. [12] While not the rapidly changing like the Victoria Era, the Regency era still did have a lot of change happening. [25] This lead to a very stratified judicial system where judges were often biased so it became a game for lawyers in the Regency Era to gain access to the courts by virtue of their rank in society and who they knew. [28] Certain lawyers in the Regency Era who were more familiar with those judges, had access to a wider pool of case decisions and material and therefore more likely to be "called to the bar" (a physical barrier that separated the public from those practicing law and making judgements) became known as barristers. [28] Meanwhile the Regency era remained more country based, simpler and truer to the traditions and mindset that ruled in England for centuries. [25] I love the manners, the dancing, and the spirit of the Regency Era. [25] Truly, what is the regency era to us today? It’s home to Elizabeth Bennet, Mr Darcy and a world literary characters that millions of readers have come to love. [25] The topic of lawyers in the Regency Era often raises lot of confusion along with the privileges of peers in the British Legal system. [28] High waisted dresses, country dances and, of course, romance fill Regency era books and movies. [25]

Other musing from the book, Regency Etiquette: The Mirror of Graces: ". your dress should correspond with the station you hold in society." ".the occasional use of rouge may be tolerated- only tolerated." and, of course, "Excess is always bad." [26]

They have named the Elizabethan Era after Queen Elizabeth I. Elizabethan courtiers had a very specific style of dress. [25] They name these eras after the monarchs that ruled during those years. [25]

As with much of the architecture of its time Georgian fireplace design was based on the classical orders and followed strict rules of proportion whilst employing a rich and varied range of decorative devices. [13] In a very short time the combination of reeding and roundels had evolved into a classic late Georgian design. [13]

A handsome Georgian piece that displays the popular 18th century device of inlaying a contrasting marble within a white statuary marble field. [13]

This period is also referred to as the Georgian period - named after England's King George III. Unlike France, England enjoyed a stable political climate during this period. [26] Chess was well established and popular, particularly among the upper classes and the educated during the Georgian period, the Normans having introduced it to England around the time of the Invasion. [12]

Cigars and a bottle passed around the table would have definitely been part of our Regency period. [29]

The costumes from these time periods are classic, and whether the party is in the Regency, Victorian or Edwardian era, you'll love wearing these fantastic clothes. [7] Regency (think Jane Austen) costumes are very different than that of the Edwardian (think Downton Abbey) era, and fashion progressed really quickly, so just double check with your host as to which is the appropriate time period. [7]

The "Regency" is the era in England when the Prince of Wales was regent for his father, King George III. This began in between 1811. [30] That era is roughly referred to as the "Regency" due to the nine-year rule of the Prince of Wales as Regent while his father King George III was incapacitated from mental illness. [8]

Taking the looser interpretation of the Regency, the era refers more to the tone, style, and philosophy of those early decades, all of which were starkly different from the decades before 1800. [8] While the Regency is the era of the Revolution, the Second Industrial Revolution, of Steel, Electricity and Organic Chemistry, could be said to be the true opening of the modern age. [14]

My eighth novel, The Passions of Dr. Darcy, opens in 1789, and although George Darcy spends the bulk of his time in India rather than England, the influences were from a period well before the Regency. [8] The term "Regency" is often used to describe a broader period around that time. [14] In many ways the early Victorian period is closer to the Regency in look and feel - Flashman for instance is very much a Regency Rake (literally so as Tom Browne's schooldays is set at Rugby during Dr Arnold's headmastership which began in 1828 and ended in 1841 just 4 years into Victoria's reign) rather than a Victorian gentleman. [14] Admittedly a little bit late for Regency, but not quite 1880's classic Victorian period. [14]

Because he was the Prince Regent, the period is called the Regency. the Regency ended in 1820 when George III died and his son, Prince George became King George IV. [30] Regency style, decorative arts produced during the regency of George, prince of Wales, and during his entire reign as King George IV of England, ending in 1830. [31] Properly speaking, the Regency of the future George IV extended from Feb. 5, 1811 to Jan. 29 1820, whereupon he became king with the death of his father. [14]

…and influenced British Georgian and Regency architecture through the engravings of the Edinburgh artist "Athenian" Stuart. [31] This pair of Regency shoes was recently pinned on the Georgian and Regency Shoes board. [32] A Georgian man’s suit consisted of the same three basic pieces as in the Regency, and still today for that matter: waistcoat (vest), jacket, and breeches (pants). [8] I could go on and on about men's fashion! What did you think? We love Regency style, no doubt, but there is something special about the incredible detailing and unique colors of the earlier Georgian period that is appealing. [8] This "pouter pigeon" style of fichu fell out of fashion during the Regency years, though the term was resurrected c.1816 to refer to various sorts of bodice tuckers. [32]

Naturally, the terms "Victorian Era", "Edwardian Era" and "Recency/Georgian Era" cover quite a large period, and fashion changed a lot over the years. [7] Victorian times were also the last great era of the Manor House, giving us Upstairs and Downstairs, and all the drama and stratified society that creates. [14] This gave way to what ultimately became the Roaring 20's or the Flapper Era (one of our favourites, and clearly yours too, since A Flapper Murder at the 1920's Speakeasy is our long-reigning top selling murder mystery party game!) This was also a time of great strides in the early days of the women's movement, which saw ladies' fashion designed more to enhance beauty instead of hiding under layers upon layers of fabric. [7] While Edith wears a more traditional look, Mary's dress is more contemporary and (at the time) age-appropriate, while Sybil is wearing a dress that clearly shows how women's fashion is progressing toward the Roaring 20's/Flapper era. [7]

Beethoven is generally regarded as one of the greatest composers in the history of music, and was the predominant figure in the transitional period between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western classical music. [15] Perhaps because the Napoleonic Wars & wars of the French Revolution so dominate the era? Wartime doesn't lend itself much to RPGing-- personally, I love military history and wargaming, but it's hard to scrape up RP'ers to help me scratch that itch. [14]

Servant attire did not change much from the Georgian to the Edwardian Era. [7] It can be considered to be a transitional period between the Georgian and Victorian eras. [33]

Encompassing the years of 1812 to 1830, the period signaled the end of Georgian exuberance and the advent of Victorian sensibilities. [15]

"Between the American Revolution and Queen Victoria taking the throne" might be the broadest description, a period much longer than the actual Regency, and showing considerable internal cultural change. [14] This was standard men’s wear during the Regency, with changes over time in the cut of the waist (straight or curved), the width and notching of the lapels, the fullness of the sleeve, etc. [32]

There is also an expanded Regency style which spans from the beginning of the century until Queen Victorian takes the throne. [30] No fantastic elements whatsoever allowed in your Regency or Victorian role playing, then? After all, the steampunk label has expanded to cover pretty much all such things, from rigorous alternate history based on Babbage inventing computing, to faerie-dealing wizards. [14] It is interesting though, come to think of it, that Victorian caught on rather than Regency, because the Napoleonic Wars used to be big in miniature wargaming. [14] I'm not sure if the Regency is axiomatically cooler than the Victorian, but there's definitely equal scope for adventure. [14] There's room for both Regency and Victorian in my affection. [14] Put me down as someone else who finds Regency far cooler than Victorian. [14] For every cool element of Victorian there is something equally cool in Regency. [14] I think the 'gamable literature' issue is the biggest thing that makes Victorian stuff more popular than Regency. [14]

Hope, Thomas Sheraton, and George Smith published designs for Regency furniture. [31] Women's Fashion Men's Fashion Ten Ways to Be Vulgar in Regency England 10) Broadcast your knowledge and opinions as widely as you can. 9) Remember: what happens in Scotland, stays in Scotland. [15] I've been running a Changeling: the Lost campaign set in Regency England and we're all having a blast. [14] What were the effects of Napoleonic wars on the society of Regency England that are evident in. [33] Now, stop me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the amazing book Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel take place in Regency England? Clearly, what we need is a Strange/Norrel RPG. [14] Why did rich women in Regency England become the marital target of men as it is shown in Pride. [33]

An exuberant taste for Egyptian motifs resulted from the Napoleonic expeditions to Egypt in 1798 and became part of the Regency fashion. [31] Follow Candice on Pinterest where she has boards on extant Regency fashion and accessories, updated frequently. [32] The over-the-top braiding of the mid-1700s had fallen out of fashion, but compared to the minimalist Regency, the 1780 man's garments were fancy. [8]

Not sure if it's cooler per se but I'm so entirely sick of Victorian era anything and the pre-occupation with steampunk, I do like what the Regency has to offer. [14] All of these things are ones that the Victorian era brings to mind and which are heavily utilized in both genuine Victorian literature and later literature set in the period and you don't really have any of them in more than nascent form in the regency era. [14] The Regency era blossomed with the romantic literature and poetry of writers such as Lord Byron, William Blake, William Wordsworth, John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and of course, Jane Austen. [15] A lot of RPG's and geek culture in general are based out of popular media - nerds wanting to explore the stories that caught their imagination as children and they are more likely to have read Victorian pulp as children than Regency Era pulp. [14] Officially the years between 1811 and 1820 were the Regency Era in British History. [33] Though the previous posts suggests that steampunk is mutually exclusive of the Regency Era, in practice, "Steampunk" settings tend to kitchen-sink a broad swath of history starting at about the German Renaissance and occasionally extending as far as the Roaring Twenties - and they often geographically and culturally conflate Great Britain, portions of continental Europe, and a fair chunk of the Eastern United States in the bargain. [14] For nearly the entire first half of the Regency era, France and England remained embroiled in the Napoleonic Wars. [15] Regardless of the wearer's social class, fashions of the Regency era were lighter and simpler than those of past decades. [15] Following the trend of women's fashions, men in the Regency era were dressed more soberly than their predecessors. [15] If your party is going to be a Regency Era (Jane Austen) party, the dress is very distinguishable. [7] My FATE-powered Occult-Highwaymen game Rakehell is set in the Regency era. [14] The visual imagery of the Victorian era is far more well-known than that of the regency era. [14] To me the big difference is that the Victorian era is a period when Britain was at its height and the Regency period is one where Britain was vulnerable. [14]

I'd like to point out that Richard Trevithick made the first successful steam locomotive in 1804- seven years before the Regency. [14] Dare we mention the totally awesome sideburns? If you have the werewithall, nothing says "Regency" like Darcy's classic sideburns. [7] The classical revival of Regency style, emphasizing purity of detail and structure, adhered to a stricter archaeological interpretation of antique modes than either the Neoclassicism of the 18th century or the concurrent French Empire style. [31] Model of an interior in Regency style with (foreground) a rotunda, presumably based on a design by Sir John Soane, and (background) a library, adapted from designs made in 1767 by Robert Adam for Kenwood House, London mixed-media miniature by the workshop of Mrs. James Ward Thorne, c. 1930-40 in the Art Institute of Chicago. [31]

The Regency might be cooler in Europe, but the sun never set on Victoria's Empire. [14] Those two are based on the Sharpe and Aubrey-Maturin novels respectively, but actual Regency novels are much less adventure-focused. [14] Regency Manners By 1820, a strict code of conduct had evolved for polite society that protected the upper crust from vulgar and improper behavior. [15] That's a good fifty years in your characters' future, although it being nWOD, they may well be playing in the Regency yet. [14] In the latter years of the Regency, they reached the ankles. [32]

When people think of Regency, they often think of books and movies such as Emma, Sense and Sensibility, and most of all, Pride and Prejudice. [30] Common during the 18th century before reticules (purses) came into popularity, pockets fell out of use when the skirts narrowed during the Regency. [32]

In terms of modern output I would of thought that historical novels set in the Regency period proably outnumber the Victorian ones. [14] This isn't a zero-sum game, the Victorian period and Regency period are both awesome and arguing which makes a better rpg setting is a chocolate and vanilla style argument. [14]

It should be noted that it is a term utilized throughout history in different ways, but this definition covers the use through the Regency Period. [15] Hilariously enough, Tim Powers' The Anubis Gates, one of the first steampunk books, is set in the Regency period. [14]

I really, really wanted to like those books, being a fan of the era, but I just can't. [14] It is the era of the great diaspora of liberal Germans after the 1848 revolution for example, just like it is the era where people from all of Europe started to hang out in their own community in Shanghai. [14]

Women, while still expected to be proper, are not always so in this era, which makes Lady Violet, The Dowager Countess, one of the most quotable characters of all time. [7] The era was distinctive for its architecture, literature, fashions, and politics. [33] This Downton Abbey Garden Party attire is a great example of the flexibility of fashion in the era. [7] Suits (tuxes, in our era) continued to be the popular fashion choice for men in the Edwardian era, with minor differences including a lack of ruffles (was that a sigh of relief I heard, guys?) and the cut of jackets and slacks. [7]

The Industrial Revolution, which had begun in the mid-18th century, continued to bring innovation to the Western hemisphere during this era, while the political world remained entangled in wars and revolutions. [15] Applying it to the post-French and Indian War era is stretching past stretching it. [14]

Seriously, it is an interesting question that the era that gave us the first horror/gothic novels doesn't significantly appear in gaming. [14] Even when being rude, men in the Austen era remained proper. [7] In stark conrast to the popular cut of the dresses in the Austen era, the Edwardian Era differed quite a bit. [7] In stark contrast to the puffed-out chests of the Austen Era, Edwardian men relaxed sort of. [7] Manners in the Edwardian era were only slightly less important than in the Austen Regency/Georgian era, and insults had to be just as proper. [7]

Don't forget The Stress of Her Regard, although given the protagonists, I guess that becomes more definable by the era of poetry and literature, so Romantic era. [14] Many of the styles from bygone eras have made a come back, or are still around, and can be purchased pretty much anywhere dress shoes are sold. [7] During this era, the waltz became all the rage in ballrooms across Europe. [15]

As the purveyor a fine roleplaying game (http://www.hazardgaming.com) set in Victorian times I'm duty bound to leap to the defence of the Victorian era. [14] While it could be argued that the Victorian era personified huge changes in fashion and encompassed much more than these two references (Austen and Downton Abbey) portrayed, we maintain that in the interest of preventing our clients, hosts and their guests' heads from exploding with the multitude of costume options, we will focus on just these in this resource. [7] For me the 1840s and 50s are far more interesting than the high Victorian era - the Sikh and First Afghan Wars, Crimea, Indian Mutiny, 1848 revolutions, rifled muskets and early revolvers rather than breechloading rifles and Maxim guns which make combat a little too lethal, duelling hasn't yet been effectively banned, policing is still primitive enough to allow a Gangs of New York style underworld, science and engineering still has room for eccentric inventors etc. [14] I personally also think that international movements like the more or less weird religious ones of the late Victorian era and the worker's Internationale are quite relevant in this context, as was the increase in tourism of the bourgeois in Europe establishing contact and exchanging culture across the continent. [14] I think a part of the appeal is as many posters have noted "familiarity" but to go a little deeper, it wasn't really until the Victorian era that we had widely accessible fiction to draw entertainment from. [14] Another benefit is that, despite British strength in the Victorian era, the rest of the world is far more involved. [14] By the Victorian era industrialization is well under way in the entire North Atlantic region and lines of communication and transportation are far more effective, giving much more room for involving larger regions and characters of differing nationality. [14]

Going places and doing stuff is more to people's taste for entertainment and while it is possible to do it in Georgian times the tropes are less accessible for the casual gamer. [14] In the Georgian period history was being made by the aristocracy and happening to the poor whereas in the Victorian period more people had a caused by the revolutions sweeping through Europe and the effect they had on England. [14] Georgian period (pre-regency): Traditional society reaches unprecedented peaks of wealth and sophistication, despite a few small cracks indicative of the coming storm. [14]

Though it is sometimes spelled sarsenet or sarcenet, the fashion magazines of the Regency period almost always use the spelling sarsnet. [32]

RANKED SELECTED SOURCES(33 source documents arranged by frequency of occurrence in the above report)


Quack Medicine in Georgian England

Roy Porter looks into medicine in Georgian England where sufferers from the 'Glimmering of the Gizzard' the 'Quavering of the Kidneys' and the 'Wambling Trot' could choose their cures from a cornucopia of remedies.

In Georgian England, a medical orthodoxy existed which was socially well-defined and institutionally identified, in London at least, with the three-tiered hierarchy of the College of Physicians, the Incorporation of Surgeons and the Apothecaries' Company. In terms of individual practitioners, it was typified by the university educated physician, who practised physic as a liberal science the surgeon, who had trained by apprenticeship or, increasingly, at Edinburgh University, and who practised a manual craft and the apothecary who kept shop.

Around and beneath these regulars, an enormous range of other groups had provided medical services time out of mind, – wise-women, midwives, nurses, Lady Bountifuls, horse-doctors, chemists, grocers, itinerant pedlars – a list constituting a perennial penumbra of respectable and tolerated irregular.'

But in addition, there was another important medical presence in Georgian England, men such as Sir William Read, the Chevalier Taylor, Joshua ('Spot') Ward, Sir John Hill, Ebenezer Sibly, James Graham, and Dr William Brodum, many of them household names but for whom the common term was 'quack'.

'Quack' was and is a term of abuse, carrying the same kind of emotional venom as, in their own contexts, insults like heretic, revisionist, dunce, scab. When flung -- as it commonly was -- by Georgian physicians and their friends against the likes of Ward and Graham, it levelled two particular charges. It pointed a finger against incompetence: quacks are all mouth and no skill. It also branded a man as a fraud, a cheat, or, in Ben Jonson's inimitable phrase, a 'turdy-facy- nasty-paty-fartical rogue'. Dr Johnson's Dictionary summarises both charges, defining a quack as:

1. A boastful pretender to arts which he does not understand. 2. A vain boastful pretender to physic, one who proclaims his own Medical abilities in public places. 3. An artful, tricking practitioner in Physic.

Not surprisingly, perhaps, medical historians such as L.R.C. Agnew have taken quacks in the same light:

I find it difficult to be objective about quackery – even quackery in seventeenth-century England. I do not like quacks indeed, I despise them, and while I recognise that an occasional quack remedy or belief has been imported into orthodox medicine, I cannot evince the least sympathy for the breed, those crab lice that have feasted parasitically on the body medical since the very beginning of recorded medical history'.

Quacks are thus generally regarded as frauds. The problem with the 'fraud test', however, for separating out regular saints from quackish sinners is that, when it comes to the vast majority of individual cases, it readily breaks down. Take the likes of the Chevalier Taylor, James Graham or Ebenezer Sibly it is difficult to deny that such operators, far from being out to dupe the public, had enormous faith in their own cures and skills they were fanatics not frauds.

And similar difficulties arise with other criteria we might use to segregate the sheep from the goats.

Thus we might propose to define the 'regulars' as those who had received a medical training at university, whereas quacks had not. But what then of a man like James Graham who had studied for a year or two at Edinburgh under Cullen and Monro? Or what of 'Dr' John Hill, 'Dr' Ebenezer Sibly, 'Dr' William Brodum all sporting bona fide medical degrees? Admittedly, these degrees were purchased, from St Andrews University, but many regulars like- wise had got their MDs by the same route, from the same mercenary Scottish university. We might suggest that the acid test is that quack nostrums were worthless, or even deleterious, whereas regular physic cured, relieved, or at least, following the Hippocratic injunction, did no harm. But that test breaks down too. Eighteenth-century cures, whether regular or irregular, seem to have depended heavily upon nature's healing power or the placebo effect, and the relatively small number of genuinely effective ingredients – such as opium for dulling pain, mercury for syphilis, or bark or antimony as febrifuges – tended to be common to faculty and quack remedies alike (indeed one of the grouses of the medical colleges was that quacks pilfered from the official pharmacopoeia).

Was not then the real evil of quack medicine its secrecy (regulars, on the other hand, using preparations whose recipes were published)? But even this test fails. Certainly quacks were far more likely to cash in on secret nostrums. Yet many patented their nostrums, which entailed making the formula public. And of course it was not only quacks who patented nostrums – it was, after all, the highly respectable late Stuart physician and scientist Nehemiah Grew who took out a patent on Epsom Salts. And it was not just quacks who were nostrum mongers, for regulars thought nothing of promoting medicines either witness this letter from John Hunter to Edward Jenner on Jenner's new tartar emetic:

Dear Jenner, – I am puffing of your tartar as the tartar of all tartars, and have given it to several physicians to make trial, but have had no account yet of the success. Had you not better let a book-seller have it to sell, as Glass of Oxford did his magnesia? Let it be called Jenner's Tartar Emetic, or anybody's else that you please.

And then what are we to make of Dr James' powders, the eighteenth- century favourite, yet most dangerous, fever remedy? These powders were patented, but the specification was made defective so as to conceal their contents. Yet they were the promotion, and made the fortune, of Dr Robert James, Oxford-educated, highly-respected author of the century's premier Medicinal Dictionary, and friend of Samuel Johnson.

If the mark of the beast setting quacks apart from proper practitioners is either fraudulence, or incompetence, the demarcation dissolves in confusion. Many of those called quacks were, in their various ways, well-intentioned and skilful. In any case, the Georgian regulars were not exactly spotless in these respects. Not a few anecdotes of leading physicians such as Dr John Radcliffe record them freely admitting in their cups that most of their medicine or therapy was useless (and yet they were happy to make vast takings out of it). And satirists and the sick both tended to view regulars and quacks as Cox and Box, tarring both with the same brush. If quacks were guilty of showmanship and mystification, what of the regulars with their Latin mumbo-jumbo, their ancestor worship of Hippocrates and Galen, their carriages and running-footmen? The public was often scathing about the impostures of quacks but so could they also be about regulars. In his influential handbook, The London Tradesman, Robert Campbell offered the following disillusioned 'receipt to make a modern doctor':

To acquire this Art of Physic, requires only being acquainted with a few Books, to become Master of a few Aphorisms and Commonplace Observations, to purchase a Latin Diploma from some Mercenary College, to step into a neat Chariot and put on a grave Face, a Sword and a long wig then MD is flourished to the Name, the pert Coxcomb is dubbed a Doctor, and has a License to kill as many as trust him with their Health.

Ambivalent though the Georgian public felt about quackery, they were sure the faculty had its own quackery too.

We cannot, as historians, simply cordon off the quacks as cheats and bunglers. We might argue that quack medicine is best seen as the Georgian manifestation of 'alternative medicine'. Eighteenth century quacks, mountebanks, and empirics could take their place in the roll of honour of the medical fringe down the ages, slotted in somewhere between the Paracelsists, Van Helmontians and Puritan medical reformers and that mushrooming of fringe medical sects, embracing alternative cosmologies and radical politics, which formed so dynamic a part of the Victorian medical scene.

Yet this placing does not seem to work either. That there were genuine expressions of underground Behemenism and Swedenborgianism, associated with religious dissent and embodied in spiritual healing is undeniable. But it would be a. mistake to see the culture of the quacks in this light. For the key point about the top Georgian quacks is that they were not absolute against orthodoxy, promoting radical alternatives. To risk a vast generalisation, the leading quacks and empirics of the eighteenth century attached themselves to the physic of the faculty as much as they attacked it.

In contrast to the assaults so much Victorian fringe medicine made against political oppression, social decadence, luxury and corruption, professional monopoly, and the diseases these all bred, eighteenth- century quackery emulated, assimilated and cashed in on the values of fashionable élite Enlightenment society. The labels of their medicine bottles read like a medical Burke's Peerage. Alongside Sintelaer's Royal Decachor you could try James Graham's Imperial Pills or Samuel Major's Imperial Snuff then there was the Duke of Portland's Powder to treat that aristocratic disease, gout, and Lady Moor's Drops. Their proprietary names also show deference towards established seats of learning – you could buy Oxon Pills for scurvy (what else?) – and to top doctors and scientists. Dr Boerhaave's Aurea Medicina, for example could be had alongside Dr Radcliffe's Famous Purging Elixir. Similarly, the 'Chevalier' Taylor endlessly name-dropped the geniuses he had met on his travels – Boerhaave, Haller, Morgagni, Wimslow, Monro, Linnaeus and the Hunters – dedicating his book on the diseases of the eye (1749) to the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. A show of up-to-the-minute science was clearly thought vital by Gustavus Katterfelto, who claimed expertise in the 'Philosophical, Mathematical, Optical, Magnetical, Electrical, Physical, Chemical, Pneumatic, Hydraulic, Hydrostatic, Proetic, Stenographic, laenical and Caprimatic Arts'.

In fact, Georgian commercial medicine traded heavily on the cachet of established values. Thus plenty of them conjured up the aura of religious healing, using such titles as the Pulvis Benedictus ('rather a miracle than a medicine'), the Anodyne Necklaces manufactured from the 'bones of St Hugh', and Fuller's Benedictine Medicine and most explicitly of all, Dr. Trigg's Golden Vatican Pill, at two shilings a box. And a high percentage appropriated the prestige of classical learning by weaving Latin and Greek into their titles, by-lines and advertising copy, as with the Elixir Magnum Stornachicum of Richard Stoughton, Dr Pordage's Pilulae Scorbuticae, Bromfield's Pilulae in Omnes Morbos, and Lockyer's Pilulae Radiis Solis Extractae.

As the messages of all such names might suggest, Georgian quacks did not want to shake the foundations of the medical and social citadels but rather insinuate their way into them, and these aspirations are evident in their ambitions, behaviour and achievements. For many Georgian quacks were remarkably successful in rising almost from rags to riches, fame, recognition, honours and even title. William Read – 'the most laborious advertiser of his time', according to Joseph Addison – began life as a tailor, turned himself into a successful oculist, made a fortune, treated Queen Anne (for which he was knighted in 1705), and became friend and host to the literati of his day. His fellow oculist, John Taylor, rose from a modest start as a Norwich surgeon's son to become the most feted and narcissistic operator in Europe, a sort of Casanova of the eye. Or what of Joshua ('Spot') Ward? From the profits of his Pill and Drop, Ward was able to turn himself into a respected philanthropist, endowing at least four London 'hospitals' for the reception of the sick poor his medicines came to be designated regulation issue for the navy and he won the gratitude and friendship of notables such as Lord Chesterfield, Edward Gibbon and Henry Fielding. Having successfully manipulated George II's dislocated thumb (the royal physicians had diagnosed gout), he won entree at court, gained the privilege of driving his carriage in St James' Park, and got unique exemption from having his preparations inspected by the College of Physicians. Quacks were often assailed by regulars as a 'vile race', yet they could easily win favour amongst fashionable patrons. If Georgian quacks were outsiders, they were outsiders not, like a true fringe, by inclination, and mostly they sought social acceptance and recognition.

Georgian quacks were not just ignorant frauds or a fringe avant la lettre. New socio-economic opportunities and pressures in the eighteenth century were important in shaping the whole range of medical practice under the Georges. William Hunter, who won fame and fortune out of his anatomy school, and William Battie, who made huge profits from the proceeds of a private lunatic asylum while serving as President of the College of Physicians, demonstrate that others besides quacks were up to their chins in the commercial developments of medicine. Of course, in the wider medical market place, regularly educated physicians and surgeons were more likely to have standard channels of advancement at their disposal, not least the grapevine and patronage networks of polite society, through which to maximise their economic opportunities, which were growing rosier by the year. The quack by contrast was initially less favoured. Necessarily a self-made man, he had to approach the open market in directly entreprenurial ways, winning a medical livelihood as the opportunities offered, through spectacle and showmanship, and the development of the business of selling medical commodities.

There seem to be four main reasons for the success of quacks in the eighteenth century. The first of these is the low therapeutic efficacy of Georgian medicine. The writings of contemporary doctors, and especially sufferers and their circles, the Bills of Mortality, and the findings of today's historical demographers agree in showing just how feebly Georgian medicine coped with the decimating diseases of the day: epidemic fever, puerperal fever, the gastro-enteric diseases of infancy, and, increasingly, tuberculosis. Today's nuisance like measles was a killer in the world we have lost. When diseases decimate and regular medicine is not reliable, people try anything – folk brews, proprietary medicines, quack remedies. Diaries and letters suggest that sufferers kept open minds. Many mocked quack remedies some swore by them, as Horace Walpole with his 'superstitious reverence' for Dr James' Powders ('for cough – for gout – for smallpox – for everything'). But patients sometimes found regular medicine hard to swallow. As Dudley Ryder put it:

If one could get off only with the charge of the physic it might be tolerable, but to fill one's belly and load one's stomach with useless medicines is dangerous.

In such circumstances, therefore, quack medicine could vie with regular on terms somewhat approaching parity.

Such competition would have been of little practical significance in a medical polity in which regular medicine had the whip hand. Conventional medical histories sometimes depict the Georgian medical power structure in rather similar terms, noting not least that the College of Physicians and Surgeons were legally empowered to restrict their own membership and to limit to their own licensees the lucrative London trade, where after all the richest pickings were. Certainly the College of Physicians energetically enforced its rights to prosecute pirates throughout the Stuart century, and it would be most tempting to paint a picture of ancien régime practice as a closed, oligarchic world of Old Corruption about to be, wept away by the liberal, individualistic reformism, spearheaded by Wakley and the Lancet early in the nineteenth century, opening the medical career to the talents. Yet that is myth, indeed pretty much the reverse of the truth" for the real point about the practice of medicine in Georgian England is how free it was. Outside London, practically no restrictions applied there was no medical register, no licensing system, no penalties for irregulars. And within the metropolis, though admission to the Colleges remained grossly restricted, turning them increasingly clubby, the Colleges in fact abandoned their role of medical policing, and thus left quacks to practise with impunity. This contrasted with France, where the Société Royale de Mâdecine energetically exercised its right to analyse and regulate nostrums, or with German principalities, where medical police bureaucracies hammered quackery. Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homoeopathy, found it necessary to go on his travels, and Mesmer was more or less driven from Vienna and Paris but in laissez-faire London, no one interfered with the early Mesmerists, with James Graham in his Temple of Health at the Adelphi, or with any other quack.

Indeed, by a curious quirk, quacks could actually bask in official approval of a kind, much to the faculty's fury. For foreign mountebanks could obtain royal licences to practise in England. And increasingly during the Georgian period, quacks took out legal patents for their nostrums ('licences to kill', John Corry called them). In any case, all nostrums paid stamp duty: all these state interventions were represented by empirics as tokens of royal blessing, the highest of all testimonials.

The task was made easier by a force in the medical world to which Nicholas Jewson has drawn our attention, viz patient power. Jewson has rightly pointed out that before the remarkable transformations of diagnostic technology and medical specialism which the nineteenth century brought, before the emergence of united professional peer-group organisation and of institutions such as hospitals, regular physicians were to a large degree the clients of fashionable patients, dependent upon them, more than on their peers, for career advancement. In the old world where medical humoralism reigned supreme, regular doctors were still remarkably beholden to the patient for specifying his symptoms, his sickness and even his treatment. In these encounters where he who paid the piper largely called the tune, regulars could be as patient-dependent as we generally think quacks have to be. Where the lay customer exercises large powers of the purse and patron- age, distinctions between professional and irregular will count for little, and quacks will flourish who are adept at pandering to patients who want pampering. Little wonder that the golden age of the quack was the golden age of malades imaginaries, of hypochondria and nervous diseases, which made the fortunes of regulars (such as George Cheyne) and quacks (such as Graham) alike. It is an interesting testimony to patient power that in his pioneering Medical Ethics published in 1803, Thomas Percival felt the need frankly to advise physicians that if a patient was attached to a favourite quack nostrum, it was prudent to allow it to be prescribed.

It was an age of golden opportunity for cultivating the business side of medicine. Social and economic historians have recently argued that Georgian England witnessed the birth of the consumer society, a time when the middling classes from artisans upwards increasingly had spare cash in their pockets, and were eager, or grew conditioned, in a materialist, money-oriented society, to splash out on goods and services. The market responded. Vast improvements in communications, in wholesale networks and in retail outlets, in promotions and publicity, made commodities available in a range and quantity unheard of before. Particularly important was the emergence of nationally available brand-name items, such as Wedgewood ceramics. In this process, the marketing of medical services, and in particular nostrums, as commodities, played no small part.

Three aspects are worth emphasising. First quacks showed an eye to the main chance in exploiting new market opportunities, especially in orienting their appeal to the affluent and fashionable. The typical Tudor or Stuart quack was a one-man-and-his-zany outfit, an individual mountebank who threw down his cloak in the market place. The patter was low, because the punters were. Note the vernacular of a quack bill headed The Wonderful Doctrines (1677) which offered to cure 'the Glimmering of the Gizzard, the Quavering of the Kidneys and the Wambling Trot'. But during the eighteenth century a sprinkling of upmarket quacks emerged – James Graham in particular comes to mind – who were consummately skilled showmen, as deft at making an appeal to sophisticated and fashionable audiences as were Garrick or Whitetield on the stage or in the pulpit. Graham's Temple of Health at the Adelphi, where he gave his risqué sex-advice lectures – a treasure dome housing statues, lights, music, art, trompe l'oeil, with its centre piece, the Celestial Bed, guaranteed to ensure fertility – involved a heavy outlay, took large amounts of money, and was for a season the talk of the town. Secondly the course of quack medicine involved a trend from personal service to the permanent medical commodity. The sixteenth- or seventeenth-century charlatan performed in person, made up and sold his own medicines. Increasingly, however, the focus shifted from the operator to the medicine itself. A shelf-full of nostrums became house- hold names – 'Dr James' Powders', 'Anderson's Scots Pills', 'Hooper's Female Pills', 'Turlington's Pills', 'Daffy's Elixir', 'Stoughton's Great Cordial Elixir' (advertised as 'approved by about twenty Eminent Physicians of the College'), 'Godfrey's Cordial', Joshuua Ward's Pill and Drop', 'Velno’s Vegetable table Syrup'. These nostrums were given saturation advertising, and they seem to have sold in vast quantities. Dr Robert James, for instance, claimed that in twenty years he sold some 1,612,800 doses of his powders.

The emergence of these nostrums as nationwide brand-name best sellers presupposes publicity and marketing, the third dimension of quack commercial acumen to warrant notice. What Oliver Goldsmith called the 'advertising physicians' had great bravura in marketing, packaging and inventive hard-sell, soft-soft copy – no gimmick was missed: no cure, no money bargain packs, free pamphlets with every purchase or a silver measuring spoon, sugar-coated pills, violin-shaped bottles, treatment gratis for unfortunates or soldiers returning from the wars, and so forth. What must be stressed is the sheer density of quack advertising after the Restoration. Initially advertising was by hand-bills, coffee-shop notices and wall posters:

. it is incredible, and scarce to be imagin'd (wrote Defoe in his Journal of the Plague Year) how the Posts of Houses, and Corners of Streets were plaster'd over with Doctors Bills, and Papers of ignorant Fellows quacking and tampering in Physick, and inviting the People to come to them for Remedies.

But then the nostrum-mongers endlessly exploited the opportunities of that crucial new Georgian medium, the newspaper. Newspapers were vital to nostrum sales, providing not just publicity but also sales outlets. Newspaper offices acted as depots for their sale, and newspaper deliverers often routinely delivered parcels of nostrums. The links between quacks and the publishing industry were intimate, even insidious. Take the career of John Newbery, newspaper proprietor, patent medicine wholesaler, and pioneer commercialiser of childhood through the development of children's books. The most famous children's book he published, Goody Two-Shoes, possibly written by Dr Oliver Goldsmith, contains a quite explicit internal puff on its very first page:

GOODY TWO-SHOES
CHAP. I.
How and about Little Margery and her Brother

Care and Discontent shortened the Days of Little Margery's Father. – He was forced from his Family, and seized with a violent Fever in a Place where Dr James's Powder was not to be had, and where be died miserably.

Without quack ads, many newspapers would have gone bankrupt without the constant barrage of publicity newspapers afforded, nostrums vending could never have become big- business.

One consequence was that many quacks grew rich – Dr Myersbach, against whom John Coakley Lettsom battled, allegedly gained 'a fortune equal to that of a German prince' – and moved into high society. At a relatively modest level, Nathaniel Godbold, promotor of a successful 'Vegetable Balsam', started life as a baker, and eventually cleared £10,000 a year from the sale of his potion, buying a large country house near Godalming for £30,000.

Our grasp of the social history of medicine still remains patchy. We are beginning to get an integrated view of orthodox medicine's changing profile as it shifted from the traditional three-tier system into what by the late nineteenth century had become the now familiar world of GPs and consultants. We still lark, however, adequate vocabulary and categories for the many mansions of irregular medicine, and as yet we have little feel for its historical traditions, continuities, breaks and transformations. One key element of such an enterprise is to gain an adequate historical notion – neither judgemental nor anecdotal – of what quackery was all about. What was habitually labelled quackery should best be understood as the emergence of a flourishing market sector of medicine. In their relations to medical orthodoxy, Georgian quacks were less in collision than in collusion or despite polemics and superficial polarities, the culture of the quacks was more a reflection than a repudiation of that of the regulars. And in regard to what later emerged as the medical fringe, it seems Georgian quacks were not the forerunners of Victorian alternative medicine, not the 'roots of Boots'. More likely we will find that Georgian quacks represented the pioneer stage of capitalist medicine.


The Lure of the Georgian Age

Penelope Corfield provides an overview of the many recent lively and entertaining studies of 18th-century Britain.

Yes, the 18th century is hot in terms of historical research into British history. You don’t believe me? You are thinking of dull Hanoverians in bland ‘pudding-time’ or trying to recall old battles like Ramillies and Blenheim, which now no schoolchild knows. Think again. The British Library, which keeps its finger on the pulse of public intellectual life, is hosting a scintillating exhibition, The Georgians Revealed: Life, Style and the Making of Modern Britain. And it is getting glowing reviews. (It runs until March 11th, 2014.)

One reason for the eager interest among historians is that very few of them have studied this period at school. That makes it, in research terms, terra incognita – always attractive to the adventurous. True, it is not gaining quite as many research students as the hottest research area, which is, predictably, the 20th century, as it shifts from current affairs into history. But the long 18th-century or Georgian era (from c.1700 to c.1830) has its own allure. It has great and under-studied sources, of which more below. Furthermore, it has lots of old debates to be reconsidered and new ones to generate. For that reason Georgian studies constitute not a settled constellation but an exploding galaxy.

Each year well over 2,000 ‘units of output’ – in the unlovely terminology of university research assessment – appear in Britain on 18th-century British history. Moreover, to that total should be added many more books and essays published overseas, as well as relevant studies in cognate disciplines, such as art history or literature. Therefore it is hard to keep up to date on every aspect. On the other hand the 18th-century literary gloss rubs off upon its scholars. As a result, many books on the Georgians are a delight to read.

Within this broad field there have been numerous shifts of research interest. During the mid-20th century there was a 30-year academic war between Lewis Namier and his opponents over their interpretations of Georgian politics. By the 1960s, however, those battles had been fought to a stalemate, although fruitful debates about the nature of the Georgian regime and of Hanoverian kingship continue. Try Hannah Smith’s Georgian Monarchy: Politics and Culture, 1714-60 (Cambridge, 2006) or Jeremy Black’s George III: America’s Last King (Yale, 2006). But the detailed study of ‘high politics’ (the doings of Westminster politicians) has almost atrophied.

Instead the main research interest shifted in turn to urban history, social history, gender history, sexual history, fashion history and, especially from the 1990s, cultural history, while, more quietly, religious history, intellectual history, the history of science/medicine, legal history, military history, diplomatic history and imperial history continue to command their own relatively specialist cadres.

Alongside these fluctuations there has also been an even longer 100-year academic war among another relatively small and specialist group of scholars. Since the 1880s, when Arnold Toynbee first popularised the term Industrial Revolution in English, researchers have argued over the onset (or otherwise) of Britain’s economic transformation and its impact (either favourable or otherwise) upon living standards. Some of the battles were arid. The advent of quantitative economic history from the 1970s onwards also deterred all but the most highly numerate, who were prepared to debate the issues at a level of impersonal abstraction. But accessible studies of high quality are still produced: try Robert C. Allen, The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective (Cambridge, 2009) or Joel Mokyr, The Enlightened Economy: An Economic History of Britain, 1700-1850 (Yale, 2009).

Furthermore there was one literary and humanist superstar among the protagonists. He was E.P. Thompson, an independent scholar and left-wing public intellectual of a practically vanished breed. His Making of the English Working Class (1963, and still in print 50 years later) presents a pessimistic interpretation of working-class living standards but a positive one of working-class cultural cohesion. All aspects of Thompson’s work are contentious and have been much contested. These days, however, the study of historical class is out of fashion. ‘Identity’, whether gender, sexual, ethnic, religious or communal, holds sway instead. Yet Thompson’s urging that past cultures should be studied with attentive empathy, rather than with lofty condescension, remains an inspiration to scholars of all periods – not just to those working on the Georgians.

The most recent research trend brings socio-cultural and economic history back together in the study of globalisation. It covers both the movement of goods and the meetings of cultures for example, Maxine Berg’s Luxury and Pleasure in Eighteenth-Century England (Oxford University Press, 2005) or Maya Jasanoff’s Edge of Empire: Conquest and Collecting in the East (Fourth Estate, 2005).

So great is the continuing output of important new studies that it is invidious to pick out individual examples. That is particularly the case because each different sub-field has its own key works and key debates. To give an idea of the range within social history, see Susan Whyman, The Pen and the People: English Letter Writers, 1660-1800 (Oxford University Press, 2009) or John Styles, The Dress of the People: Everyday Fashion in Eighteenth-Century England (Yale, 2007). There are also fascinating studies that link different specialisms, such as, Nicola Phillips, Women in Business. 1700-1850 (Boydell & Brewer, 2006) for gender, culture and business history or Paul Glennie and Nigel Thrift, Shaping the Day: A History of Timekeeping in England and Wales, 1300-1800 (Oxford University Press, 2009), for technology, culture and a critique of E.P. Thompson or Vic Gatrell, The First Bohemians: Life and Art in London’s Golden Age (Allen Lane, 2013) for a racy, feisty fusion of art and social history. Plus many more …

Lastly, there is also something very new to report, which is opening up the field in ways whose full implications are yet to be discovered. Scholars of this period are in the forefront of digitising key resources and making them available online. Two websites set the standard: The Old Bailey Proceedings from 1674 to 1913 demonstrates the elastic length of the ‘long 18th’ century, while London Lives, 1690-1800 provides almost 3.5 million records, drawn from 23 different archival collections. There are problems in coping with such a super-abundance of data, but the difficulties are outweighed by the advantages of studying so many ordinary Georgians with the assistance of high-speed computer power. Other new websites reveal further under-studied groups, such as the Clergy of the Church of England Database or the voters who participated in Elections in Metropolitan London, 1700-1850.

With this exploding galaxy of research and resources, Georgian history is hot. And it’s going to get even hotter – not for ever but for a good time yet.

Penelope J. Corfield is Emeritus Professor of History at Royal Holloway, and Vice-President of the International Society of 18th-Century Studies.


Georgian Fashion

Welcome to part three of our Fashion Through the Ages series. Starting from medieval fashion ending at the swinging sixties, this section covers British fashion during the Georgian period.

Man’s Day Clothes about 1738

This gentleman wears a smart summer suit, with the coat more tightly fitting than at the end of the 17th century. It is made of plain cloth embroidered on edges and pockets, which are raised to hip level. The waistcoat is plain and the breeches are tighter and fasten below the knee. The shirt is frilled at the cuff and around the neck is a knotted muslin or lace cravat. He wears his own hair. For formal occasions a powdered wig tied back with a bow would be worn and his coat and waistcoat would be of patterned silks.

Lady’s Day Dress about 1750

This lady (left) wears a ‘sackback’ dress developed from the flowing undress gowns of 17th century. Beneath are a stiff corset and cane side hoops supporting the skirts.

The frills of her shift show at the neck, veiled in a muslin ‘kerchief’ and at the opening of her wing-like cuffs, which are typical of the 1750’s. She wears a round muslin cap, the central pleat recalling the ‘fontange’ (1690 – 1710). For formal dress she would wear richly brocaded or embroidered silks.

Man’s Day Clothes about 1770

Lady’s Day Dress about 1780

Lady’s Formal Dress 1802

There was great interest at this time in ancient Greece and Rome, and this lady wears ‘fashionable full dress’, the style based on the drapery of classical statues. The waist is high and uncorsetted, and the materials light in colour and texture. Muslin had become a fashionable fabric. Her gown is still 18th century in cut, but for day wear it would have bodice, skirt and petticoat in one piece. Her accessories are varied: she carries a huge swansdown muff, wears long white gloves, has a tasselled girdle and a feather-trimmed turban.

In 1795, in order to raise revenue, a tax was imposed on hair powder by William Pitt. However this tax failed as people promptly abandoned the wearing of powdered wigs and the tax raised just 46,000 guineas.

Man’s Day Clothes 1805

Evening Clothes about 1806

The lady wears a one-piece dress introduced at the end of the 18th century. Its design was inspired by the new interest in classical works of art. It has a high waist, straight skirt unsupported by petticoats and very short sleeves. Contemporaries found it daring and immodest! The material is light and striped. For warmth she has a shawl, wears long gloves and carries a muff.

The period after 1811 is known as the Regency period, as the Prince of Wales (later King George IV) ruled as Regent from that time until the death of his father George III in 1820.

The fashions of this era are quite familiar to us, as these are the styles of dress portrayed in the popular TV adaptations and films of Jane Austen novels, such as the 1995 Andrew Davies adaptation of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ for the BBC. ITV’s Sharpe is based in this era too, during the Peninsular and Napoleonic Wars.

The Napoleonic Wars were a series of conflicts fought between France under the leadership of Napoleon Bonaparte and a number of European nations, including Great Britain, between 1799 and 1815.

Napoleonic Wars: British soldiers and their ladies

Day Clothes about 1825

The lady’s dress assumes a new outline. The waist has dropped to natural level and the sleeves and skirt are wide and full. The colours are bright, trimmings elaborate and much jewellery is worn. Accessories are varied, the most noticeable being the vast hat trimmed with many ribbon bows.

The man wears elegant walking dress also with a slight fullness at the shoulder and a waistcoat with lapels. He wears tight pantaloons acceptable for day wear after about 1805 and wears a higher ‘top’ hat.


The Hallmark of Georgian Style

  • massing These early houses are usually simple one- or two-storey boxes, two rooms deep, with symmetrical arrangement of windows and doors. Northern examples often have center chimneys those in the South have end chimneys.
  • roof Nearly half have a side-gabled roof of moderate pitch. In the North, about 25% have gambrel roofs. A hipped roof was more common in the South in the North, hipped roofs are found on high-style houses.
  • materials Brick dominates in the South, while wood-frame construction with clapboards or shingles is most common in the northern Colonies. Brick, stone, and occasionally wood construction is found in the Mid-Atlantic.
  • ornamentation The paneled entry door may have a transom, pilasters, and a crown, hood, or pediment. Cornice moulding, especially with dentils, is common. After 1750, entry porticos, quoins, and dormers show up.

General Rufus Putnam House (ca. 1750)


Historical Fashion: Georgian Men’s Hairstyles

One of my most popular posts on Just History Posts is my post about Georgian women’s hairstyles. They certainly were most fantastical creations, towering above the wearer and imbued with powder, colour, feathers, ribbons, and more. But many do not realise that the men of the Georgian period also indulged in fancy wigs – if not quite as extreme as the women – and so I thought I would do a post explaining how the men’s hairstyles were executed to perfection.

A portrait of an unknown young man, 18th century, Allan Ramsay. V&A.

At the end of the 17 th century in England, men were still sporting the ‘cavalier’ type of hairstyle – long, flowing locks reaching the shoulders with lots of volume. This large hairstyle began to shrink as the Georgian period arrived, and wigs became more in-vogue. Tighter, rolled curls and ponytails became the fashion, partly introduced by the French King Louis XV, who liked to wear small white or grayish coloured hair. In England, George II preferred longer locks that reached well below his shoulders, but his white, curly wigs were a firm favourite and helped to cement its popularity in England. Often this long hair was tied back into a long ponytail, tied with a large bow.

King Charles II (left) sporting a more cavalier-style hairstyle in the 1660s, and King Louis XV (right) with tight, white curls in 1748. Both via WikiCommons.

As with their female counterparts, men were obsessed with powdering their wigs. Not only did this reduce the smell (they were not often washed, and many unsanitary products were put on it which we will come to later) but it could give a nicer, more natural colour to the wig than dyes. In fact, it was this obsession with powdering that gave rise to the term “powder-room” still used today – it was such a messy job to powder one’s hair, the wealthiest of society had a whole room dedicated to it!

A Man Called William Strahan, by an unknown painter c1765. WikiCommons.

This powder was often made from sifted wheat powder, powdered chalk, or even white clay. The powder was blown onto the hair or wig with bellows, whilst the receiver covered their face. This powder was sometimes accompanied with a pomade (more popular with the elaborate women’s hairstyles, but still used by men) which was essentially a type of grease to slick the hair into place. This was usually made from lard and fat – hence the smelly greasiness that required powdering to hide! It was also, obviously, a lure for flies, fleas, and other creatures. It was not the most pleasant of fashion as may be expected when seen on film or television!

A man having his hair powdered by a barber, from a print after Carle Vermat, c 1768.

As George III took over the throne, the wigs in England began to shorten, as he preferred the shorter style seen in France. This did not mean that less money was spent – at one point, Viscount Fairfax was wearing a newly-dressed wig almost every single day, racking up huge bills from his hairdressers.

By the end of the century, the elaborate white wigs and powder had become more associated with older, less fashionable men. Continuous taxation on hair powder by governments keen to raise funds had also hit the industry hard. William Pitt the Younger placed a sales tax on hair powder in 1786, at a variable rate. However, his next tax in 1795 meant that those who wished to use it had to pay a whole guinea every year to purchase a certificate to show they were allowed to use it. This was an extortionate rate, even for the fashion-forward, and it hastened the end of the pristine white wigs.

King George II (left, 1744) preferred longer, curly wigs, whereas his grandson George III (right, 1762) popularised a shorter style. Pictures via WikiCommons.

As with women’s wigs, by the end of the 18 th century more natural hairstyles were gaining popularity as an interest in classical styles of the ancient Romans and Greeks grew. Hair continued to shorten, and wigs were eschewed for natural hair. Powder continued to be used for a while, and curls were still very much the fashion, although they tended to be looser and more natural, rather than tightly wound.

Captain Gilbert Heathcote sporting the now-popular short, natural look with sideburns c. 1801-1805. Via WikiCommons.

George IV by Thomas Lawrence, c1814. WikiCommons.

Men’s hair began to extend down their faces, with sideburns becoming popular as the Georgian period entered the Regency period. One of the leaders of this new, shorter, fashion was the 5 th Duke of Bedford, Francis Russell, who sported a cropped, unpowdered, natural hairstyle in protest at Pitt’s second powder tax, and encouraged his friends to join him. King George IV also wore his hair in a short, wavy, ruffled style. Wigs were out, and natural was in. This more natural style began to extend to all aspects of a man’s facial hair, with moustaches and beards becoming popular once more. This eventually led to the generally very-hairy Victorian men’s fashion.

Francis Russell, 5th Duke of Bedford, sporting his short haircut in the 1790s. Via WikiCommons.

Although Georgian women’s hairstyles ebbed and flowed, switching between elaborate and natural, Georgian men’s hair had a slow and steady trajectory. From the huge, curly, frizzy messes of the 17 th century, to the long, curled white wigs, the styles got shorter and tighter until it was deemed best to go short and natural. Which type of hairstyle do you think looks best?

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In the fifteenth century, lines between science and magic were blurred. Read the real stories of four women in the English Royal Family who were accused of practising witchcraft in order to influence or kill the king.

Historical Fashion: Georgian Women’s Hairstyles

I recently tweeted the following picture, showing a fashion plate from France, 1778, showing a huge elaborate hairstyle that was often popular with French and English women of this time period. These hairstyles are very evocative of the period, and significantly different from many other time periods, so I thought I would explore what types of hairstyles were popular, and how some of the more extravagant styles were achieved.

The French plate mentioned above.

At the beginning of the Georgian period (early 1700s) the big hair was not yet the vogue, and instead hair looked more “normal”. It was often partially or fully covered with a lace or linen cap, and would be left either to flow long over the shoulders, or be pinned up. Hair was often (but not always) curled.

Catherine Douglas, Duchess of Queensbury c.1725-1730. National Portrait Gallery.

Catherine Harpur, Lady Gough, c. 1739. National Trust.

As the century progressed, slightly more elaborate and fake hair became more popular. Whereas in the earlier parts of the century, where women’s hair was almost always natural, the popularity for men wearing wigs in France began to spread to England and women. Hair began to be puffed out more, and a central parting was popular. Hair would be powdered using flour or starch, and white hair became very popular this was because white wigs were the most expensive ones, so you would powder your own hair or wigs to make them look as white (and therefore as expensive) as possible. Other colours were popular, however, including more natural browns and greys, or more exciting pinks, violets, and blues. This is, in fact, where the term “powder room” comes from (a modern term for the bathroom) – powdering was a very messy process and often required a separate, special room to do the powdering.

Marie Joséphine of Savoy, 1782.

Portrait of a Young Lady, Yermolai Kamezhenkov, 1790.

It was in the latter half of the eighteenth century that those huge, elaborate hairstyles gained popularity. Hair had been getting larger and more fluffed up, and the use of wigs encouraged experimentation. Both real and false hair was used, and it was curled and given lots of volume to raise up away from the head. This is where curling tongs were developed to help the process. Metal prongs with wooden handles would be heated over a fire, and then the hair was wrapped around them to curl. The hair was given a helping hand by using rolls of horsehair, wool pads and wire supports to bolster the height and give strength to the creations. Numerous large pins would be used to keep the style in place, and the hair would be decorated with all sorts of things – ribbons, feathers, flowers, wax fruit, etc.

Portrait of a Lady, Józef Chojnicki, c. 1780.

María de las Nieves Micaela Fourdinier, 1783. Museo Nacional del Prado.

It is difficult to over-emphasise how much work went into these hairstyles. The wealthy would have a team of servants and skilled hairdressers to achieve their perfect looks. Because these styles were so difficult and complicated, and took so long to do, often women would leave their styled hair in for weeks at a time before changing it. This must have made sleeping tricky! The immediate problem, however, was that leaving a hairstyle in for weeks without washing or brushing, in a period of poor hygiene and prevalent lice, was that the hair would start to get extremely smelly. As a result, the hair would have to be regularly perfumed to mask the smell.

A man having his hair powdered by a barber, from a print after Carle Vermat, c1700.

One unimpressed observer wrote the following scathing review of these hairstyles:

“Those piles of decorated, perfumed, reeking mess, by which a lady could show her fancy for the navy by balancing a straw ship on her head for sport, by showing a coach, for gardening, by a regular garden on flowers. Heads which were only dressed, perhaps, once in three weeks, and were re-scented because it was necessary. Monstrous gatherers of horse-hair, hemp-wool and powder, laid on in a paste, the cleaning of which is too awful to give in detail. Three weeks, says my lady’s hairdresser, is as long as a head can go well in the summer without being opened’.”

Many contemporaries certainly hated this ‘ridiculous’ new fashion, and there are plenty of scathing cartoons from the period ridiculing women and the fashion. I have inserted some below for your viewing pleasure!


Lewis Walpole Library.


Lewis Walpole Library.

These hairstyles could also be very dangerous, however. The hair was often so huge it was hard to keep track of where it was, and women often had their hair set on fire by accident by candles. Many women were killed or seriously injured as a result of this. There is even an account from London, 1778, of three women taking shelter under a tree during a storm, when the pins in their hair acted as a lightning conductor and one lady was struck, setting her hair on fire. Even from a more practical health point of view, these huge hairstyles that were not touched for weeks on end acted as perfect homes for already-prevalent lice, and it was impossible to treat them when the hair was locked away. Special lice scratching rods were developed which could slide into the hair without disrupting the hairstyle and provide some much-welcomed itching relief.

Hairstyles could be political too. Coëffure à l’Indépendance ou le Triomphe de la liberté, c. 1778. A style supposedly worn by Marie Antoinette (or something similar) to celebrate a French naval victory over the English.

Another style said to be worn by Marie Antoinette.

As the Georgian period entered the nineteenth century, moving into the Regency period, hair began to calm down again. More classical styles were preferred, looking to the Greeks and Romans for inspiration. Hair was still curled, moving towards ringlets, but not in such elaborate, tall styles, but instead kept closer to the face. A more natural look was once again appreciated. Hair was still coloured, but rather than using powder, more permanent dye was developed using oils, pitch, nuts, saffron, and other natural products. Hair was usually pinned back, but was still sometimes left loose. Instead of elaborate decorations, hair was adorned with more elegant, classical decorations. Ribbons were still used, but pearls, jewels, gold, and silver combs and accessories were gaining in popularity.

Detail from Miss Harriet and Miss Elizabeth Binney, c. 1806. V&A.

Countess Catherine Vassilievna Skavronskaia, c. 1796. Louvre.

Over the 100 or so years of the Georgian period, hair went almost in a complete loop, from natural, to more elaborate, to huge and exotic, back to a simple, classical style. At the peak of extravagance, many women underwent ridicule from men, and many even lost their lives from the danger of the hairstyles. Which type of hairstyle discussed here would you most have preferred to wear?

List of Blog Posts: here Blog Homepage: here

Check out my history book recommendations on Bookshop UK.

Buy my book via the picture below! Or why not check out the bookmarks in our shop?

In the fifteenth century, lines between science and magic were blurred. Read the real stories of four women in the English Royal Family who were accused of practising witchcraft in order to influence or kill the king.

Downton Abbey's most shocking moments since the series began.

The cast of Downton Abbey

Brown Findlay plays Margaret&rsquos eldest daughter Charlotte Wells. Kate Fleetwood plays dominatrix Nancy Birch.

One in five women in London was involved in the sex industry at the time

Brown Findlay

&ldquoOur ruling on set was that everything had to be seen from the whore&rsquos eye view,&rdquo says producer Alison Owen.

But however lurid the many sex scenes may appear, the series is underscored by solid historical research. If anything, the reality was even more depraved.

Georgian England was a hotbed of prostitution and promiscuity where tens of thousands of women and girls &ndash some as young as 12 &ndash worked as prostitutes, and London was the epicentre.

Jessica Brown Findlay plays Charlotte Wells

&ldquoSome of the claims made in Harlots might seem an exaggeration but virtually all are borne out by research,&rdquo says historian Dan Cruickshank, author of The Secret Georgian History Of London.

&ldquoIn Georgian London the consensus is that 50,000 whores were working full or part-time.&rdquo

Cavorting harlots dressed as nuns would entertain politicians in Hell Fire clubs and child prostitutes roamed the cities at night. Flagellation was a popular Georgian deviancy.

Harlots used birch twigs to whip clients across bare buttocks. Brothels such as the Temple of Aurora supplied girls as young as 11 to wealthy patrons.

One female brothel keeper, who dressed her girls in French outfits of silk and lace, promised they would &ldquosatisfy all fantasies, caprices and extravagances of the male visitor&rdquo.

She organised a tableau in which &ldquo12 beautiful nymphs, unsullied and untainted&rdquo, were to be publicly defl owered by 12 young men as in &ldquothe celebrated rites of Venus&rdquo.

Hulu teases new show Harlots with a first look trailer

The high-paying audience could participate. A 1758 document reveals just how lascivious the thoroughfares of London were.

&ldquoProstitutes swarm in the streets of this metropolis to such a degree, and bawdy-houses are kept in such an open and public manner that a stranger would think the whole town was one general stew.&rdquo

The author, Saunders Welsh, who came up with a plan for the reformation of London&rsquos sex industry, went on to explain that in almost every street women could be seen exposing themselves at the windows and doorways &ldquolike beasts in a market for public sale&rdquo and with language, dress and gesture too offensive to be mentioned.

According to Dan Cruickshank, German diarist FW Schutz studied the way they conducted themselves. &ldquo

He wrote: &lsquoMany are not content with soliciting but try to force their affections on one.

It is difficult to get rid of these, as sometimes four, five or more, in competition, attach themselves to one.&rsquo&rdquo

Daniel Sapani as William North and Samantha Norton as brothel keeper Margaret Wells

One contemporary author described how at midnight the younger women would leave the streets to be replaced by &ldquoold beggar women of 60 and more who come out of their hiding places in order to serve drunken men&rdquo.

Public fornication was common. But despite all this, for women in Georgian England prostitution was one of the only ways of gaining healthy economic independence.

An average prostitute could earn more than £400 a year, compared with the £5 a year they might earn as a housemaid. Inevitably young girls from the much poorer countryside streamed into London.

According to Cruickshank, in the late 18th-century prostitution vied in financial importance with brewing, construction and the London docks.

&ldquoIt was the service industry par excellence and generated an estimated gross turnover of £20million per annum,&rdquo he explains.

Lesley Manville as Lydia Quigley

To compare, in 1792 the London docks handled imports and exports worth £27million.

Cruickshank says London prostitutes were divided into different classes.

Bottom of the pile were the streetwalkers who charged &ldquoa pint of wine and a shilling&rdquo for an alleyway assignation.

Harlots worked from rooms or a bawdy house and charged by the hour or by the act.

The high-class whores worked in fashionable brothels known as &ldquonunneries&rdquo and were skilled in social graces. And there was, as in the series, an actual directory of prostitutes.

Harris&rsquos List Of Covent Garden Ladies was a bestseller. It sold 250,000 copies in a city with a population of just one million and was split into sections including The Full Figured, The Unusual, Ladies of Experience and The Poxed.

The best TV prequels


Georgian Stories

Capability Brown at Audley End

How a contract in 1763 between England’s foremost landscape gardener and a landowner with a military past deteriorated into a furious exchange of letters.

Black Prisoners at Portchester Castle

When war broke out between Britain and Revolutionary France in 1793, the islands of the Caribbean were drawn into the conflict. In 1796 free black soldiers were captured and sent to Portchester as prisoners of war.

Romantic Female Friendship

In the 18th century, among fashionable women, a cult of same-sex ‘romantic friendship’ was accepted, even if to some contemporary observers it appeared ‘queer’

The Invention of the Wellington Boot

How the Duke of Wellington, victor at the Battle of Waterloo and fashion icon, gave his name to the humble welly.

Dido Belle

A mixed-race woman, Dido Belle was raised as part of an aristocratic family in Georgian Britain at the height of the transatlantic slave trade.

Philip Thicknesse, Landguard's Loosest Cannon

How Philip Thicknesse finally got his comeuppance after a madcap life of self-inflicted scandal in 18th-century England.

The Only People Ever Killed at Tilbury Fort

The only fatalities ever reported at Tilbury Fort were thanks to a game of cricket in 1776. Or is this extraordinary story just a tall tale?

An Emperor and an Aristocrat's Menagerie

How the 19th-century menagerie at Chiswick House in west London was part of a wider tradition of keeping exotic creatures on aristocratic estates.


Watch the video: What Bridgerton Didnt Show You About Georgian Life. History Of Britain. Absolute History (January 2022).