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Go to notes and illustrations of Regency women's clothing styles
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This file contains links to some illustrations from the "extended Regency"
period (see notes on chronology and periodization)
which are not primarily illustrations of women's fashions. Click on the
thumbnails to view the full-size images. Links labelled "[Large]" or "[Huge]"
lead to images which may take longer to download, due to relatively large file
sizes (approaching or exceeding 200 kilobytes).
Portrait of the painter J.B. Isabey and daughter, by Gerard, 1795:
George "Beau" Brummell, watercolor by Richard Dighton (1805):
Sketch of Lord Grantham by J.A.D. Ingres, 1816:
"Portrait at 29 Well Street", a watercolor depiction of my 2nd cousin 4 times removed, the lawyer and artist Thomas Churchyard of Woodbridge, Suffolk, England, in his home, by an unknown artist, ca. 1825.
Here are two pieces painted by Thomas Churchyard of Woodbridge (who was an artist in his own right):
1810 watercolor portrait of Allan Melville, by John Rubens Smith:
"The Comforts of a Rumford Stove", a June 12th 1800 Gillray caricature of Rumford (who was an American, Benjamin Thompson, awarded the title of "Count Rumford" by the elector of Bavaria), standing before his famous invention, the Rumford grate (popularized by his 1796 essay on "Chimney fireplaces", and mentioned in Northanger Abbey):
According to the inscription, this was drawn ad virum (i.e. in Rumford's presence).
For portraits of women, see the Regency women's clothing page.
Impressive haberdashery from "La Mésangère", Paris, 1800:
"Full and half-dress for April", fashion plate ca. 1809:
The male "Full Dress" (i.e. formal eveningwear with knee-breeches and stockings) is on the left, and "Half-Dress" (i.e. less formal attire with boots and long trousers) in the center.
Outfit with men's redingote, Costumes Parisiens, 1813
Male fashion caricatures:
"The Dandy Club", Dec. 29th 1818 caricature drawn and etched by Richard Dighton:
Illustration and partial text from "Neckclothitania or Tietania, being an essay on Starchers, by One of the Cloth", published by J.J. Stockdale, Sept. 1st. 1818, engraved by George Cruikshank:
For more of the text of Neckclothitania, see Anne Woodley's site.
"Dandies Dressing", 1818 caricature by George Cruikshank on the artificial Regency beau:
"Les Modernes Incroyables", satire on would-be fashionable young bucks of the day, from Caricatures Parisiennes, 1810
"Les Invisibles", an 1810 caricature of how various fashions (including women's bonnets, along with male hats and high collars) seemed to hide the face ("Invisible" is the French word for a poke bonnet):
(This scan courtesy Bob Whitworth of PrintsGeorge.Com.)
Detail from the above 1810 caricature, redrawn as simple line art for the Caricature History of the Georges, 1867:
(For another satirical caricature of the women's poke bonnet only, see the Regency women's fashions page.)
"Le Goût du Jour", late 1790's fashion satire:
The little men cavorting on the swing are a satire of a then-familiar visual cliché (the similarly cavorting cupids in various pseudo-classical paintings of the period).
For an 1824 satire of immediately post-Regency dandyism, prefiguring certain Victorian trends, see the 1824 smoking and moustaches caricature below.
(Some of these images may be slightly humorous, but are not exaggerated caricatures.)
"Young Ladies at Home" (idealized classicized engraving by Henry Moses, 1823):
(New larger scan.)
Another classicized idealized engraving, of ladies at their instrument, by Henry Moses (originally drawn 1812?; published by 1823):
Making him useful (my caption for this slightly humorous drawing-room picture of a young lady and a soldier):
(No information was given in the source I scanned this in from, so I don't know whether the picture is contemporary Regency/Empire, or from the later 19th century; nor whether the accompanying caption, "Her Aide-de-camp", is original.)
"La Promenade publique du Palais-Royal" by Louis Philibert Debucourt (after Bosio), ca. 1798:
"Passer Payez", a painting by Louis-Leopold Boilly, ca. 1803:
At that time, most of the streets of Paris were not in all that great a shape, and many of them would become muddy morasses after a good rain, so that some entreprenurial lower-class Parisians would provide themselves with a long plank that had wheels affixed to one end, and would pick up the unwheeled end and roll the plank along until they found a likely intersection or street-crossing, where they would lay the plank across the mud, and charge a small fee to people (presumably mainly from the middle and upper classes, especially women) who were willing to pay to avoid having to tramp through the mud of the street. The painting shows a family crossing the street over one of these plank bridges; the proprietor of the plank is at left, stretching out his arm for payment, and one of the wheels attached to the end of the plank can be seen in outline near the bottom of the painting towards the left. [Semi-mediocre scan.]
This painting is an early source for the wearing of "drawers" (underpants with legs) by women -- the woman who is probably the mother of the family (though she's only holding a dog) has lifted up her skirts far enough so that you can see the bottom of one leg of a pair of drawers (which are a little longer than usual, since they actually cover the knee instead of ending a little above the knee).
Gambling at roulette, ca. 1800:
The character of Rosara in "The grand melodrama of The Broken Sword (by W. Domind), as performed at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden." -- (published November 4th 1816):
(This play apparently ended up giving the phrase "old chestnut" to the English language.)
"The Devil to Pay, or the Elopement":
A circulating library, from Poetical Sketches of Scarborough, 1813:
Trade card advertising Sloan House, a boarding school for young ladies, 1797:
- Beehive, symbolizing industry
- To left of Beehive:
- Books, "English Grammar, French Grammar, Italian Grammar"
- To right of beehive:
- Book, "Bon Ton"
- To Left of Oval:
- Young lady sketching head of classical statue, Young lady looking through telescope with "Ferguson on Astronomy" open in front of her.
- To right of Oval:
- Pallas Athene standing by a harpsichord, and holding by the hand a young girl in 1790's attire.
- Below Oval:
- Scientific instruments, another music book
- Text in Oval:
- "Sloane House. Terms of Mrs. Chassaing's French Boarding School, Sloane Street, Chelsea. Board and Education including French grammatically by Mr. Chassaing At 30 guineas per Annum. Day Boarders 15 Guineas per Annum. Music, Dancing, Writing & Accounts, Geography with the use of the Globes at One Guinea per Quarter and a Guinea entrance each. Italian 2 Guineas per Quarter and One Guinea entrance.
- Text Below:
- "Every Lady has a separate bed."
"Ceremonial at a Young Ladies Seminary", United States ca. 1810:
Regency young lady playing the pianoforte:
(A smaller but clearer scan of this same image is also available.)
"Trade card" of Miss Dietrichsen, music teacher (ca. 1798), showing two young ladies playing the harp and piano:
Caption: "On Moderate Terms, The Harp, Piano Forte & Singing, Taught by Miss Dietrichsen, 12, Rathbone Place, Oxford Street. White, Engraver, 14 Brownlow Street, Holborn."
Will Wander's Walk, first page of an 1806 children's book:
Dr. Syntax plays billiards with the ladies of Tulip Hall ("The Billiard Table" by Rowlandson, from The Third Tour of Dr. Syntax In Search of a Wife, 1821):
Woodcut of a mother and daughter in a confectioner's shop (i.e. candy store; 1810's):
Regency woodcut of a proposal scene ("Vignette auf einem Dresdener Liebesbriefbogen mit Goldschnitt. Um 1815"):
"Postman", part of a series showing street cries, engraved by Rowlandson, 1810:
Walking Costume 1812 (Fashion plate redrawn as simple line drawing for Social England under the Regency by John Ashton, 1899):
Ca. 1811 image showing a couple in Portsmouth kissing right out in the open on the street (gasp!):
A not-very-satirical detail of the caricature "Portsmouth Point" by Thomas Rowlandson (see below for a full color scan of this caricature).
Advertisement for Gowlands' Lotion, from Ackermann's Repository 1809 (for ladies who want to carry away their freckles):
Detail of a broadside published in New York in 1810 on Dutch customs celebrated in connection with Dec. 6th (the day of St. Nicholas or "Sancte Claus"), showing a depiction of a good child who has gotten gifts and a bad child who has been punished, engraved by Alexander Anderson:
A daughter summoned to appear before her parents, because of an unexpected and suspicious flower that has been found (the assumed topic of this sketch by Isaac Cruikshank, apparently drawn about 1790):
(Images without thumbnails:)
Nelson's famous flag signal at the battle of Trafalgar (1805)
See also an image of Regency ladies consulting a menu with the assistance of the waiter (low-quality newspaper scan).
A contrast between "Grecian" vs. "Gothic" styles of landscape and architecture; a Feb. 1st 1816 plate accompanying Humphry Repton's Fragments on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening (it might be just possible that Marianne Dashwood of Sense and Sensibility would prefer one of these to the other!):
An example of what Repton can do on the inside of the house (as well as the garden) for his five-guinea-a-day retainer: The "Modern Living Room" contrasted with the "Ancient Cedar Parlour", from Humphry Reptons's Fragments of the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening (1816):
Here's what Repton says about the contrast in his book:
- Two sketches are introduced, to shew the contrast betwixt the ancient cedar parlour and the modern living room: but as no drawing can describe those comforts enjoyed in the latter, or the silent gloom of the former, perhaps the annexed lines may be allowed to come in aid of the attempt to delineate both.
- A MODERN LIVING-ROOM.
- No more the Cedar Parlour's formal gloom
With dulness chills, 'tis now the Living Room;
Where Guests, to whim, or taste, or fancy true,
Scatter'd in groups, their different plans pursue.
Here Politicians eagerly relate
The last day's news, or the last night's debate,
And there a Lover's conquer'd by Check-mate.
Here books of poetry and books of prints
Furnish aspiring Artists with new hints;
Flow'rs, landscapes, figures, cram'd in one portfolio,
There blend discordant tints to form an olio.
While discords twanging from the half-tun'd harp,
Make dulness cheerful, changing flat to sharp.
Here, 'midst exotic plants, the curious maid
Of Greek and Latin seems no more afraid.
There lounging Beaux and Belles enjoy their folly,
Nor less enjoying learned melancholy.
Silent midst crowds the Doctor here looks big,
Wrap'd in his own importance and his wig.
A Cottage Orneé, From J.B. Papworth's Rural Residences (1818), perhaps resembling Sir Edward Denham's effort in Sanditon:
Ackermann's Art Library lit by the new invention of gaslight, detail of aquatint by J. Bluck after Augustus Charles Pugin, ca. 1812-1815:
Another view of Ackermann's enterprise, "Ackermann's Repository of Arts, 101 Strand", an illustration by Pugin and Rowlandson to the magazine Ackermann's Repository of Arts, Literature, Commerce, January 1809
Rudolph Ackermann was a publisher, print-seller, and "manufacturer of fancy articles" (e.g. screens, card racks, flower stands). Some of the fashion plates on the Regency women's fashion page are taken from Ackermann's magazine.
"Night Bason Stand" from The Cabinet Dictionary by Thomas Sheraton (1803):
This bedside appliance fits in the corner of a room, and has a basin on top that you can wash your hands and face in (a jug of water would be placed on top of it for that purpose), and on the bottom has a concealed swing-out chamber-pot stand (with hinged foot for stability). Since the main sanitary facilities would have been on the ground floor, while bedrooms were usually upstairs, this would allow someone to take care of lesser necessities during the night without having to go all the way downstairs (and perhaps outside), to do so. (Note that this piece is an example of a professional cabinetmaker showing what he's capable of, and something this fancy wouldn't necessarily have been found in an average room of an average middle class house.)
An illustration of a balloon journey, from the Journal des Dames et des Modes, 1797-1798 (the lady seems none too warmly attired for the occasion):
The writing on the falling scraps of paper reads: "Rapport sur le premier voyage aërien du Citoyen Garnerin avec la Citoyenne Henri" (Andre-Jacques Garnerin was one of the most famous balloonists of the time).
Coach(?) and six, with a "box" in front and "basket" behind (Rowlandson, 1798):
"The Arrival of the Diligence (stagecoach) in the Courtyard of the Messageries" by Louis-Léopold Boilly, 1803 (detail):
(For further coaching scenes, see the illustrations from William Henry Pyne's Microcosm below.)
Henry Angelo's Fencing Academy (watercolor by Rowlandson, 1787):
The famous fencer the Chevalier St. George's portrait, foils, and fencing shoes are displayed on the right wall. (The building burned down June 17th, 1789)
Trevithick's steam locomotive as an attraction for paying customers in London's Euston Square; watercolour by Rowlandson, 1809:
Skating couple ca. 1800 -- the sly gentleman knows that under cover of teaching her to ice-skate, he can hold her and clasp her hand without being thought improper or forward. (Plate re-colored when printed in Fischel and Boehn's Modes and Manners of the Nineteenth Century, 1909.)
Her skates are directly strapped on to the characteristic women's shoes of the period that she's wearing (the kind of ballet-slipper-looking things, with leather soles appropriate for light-duty outdoor use) -- an arrangement which does not look like it would give much control or warmth.
Another ice-skating scene, "January", print from an early 1820's series of prints of the months:
Do you think it might be just barely possible that one of the gentlemen is showing off?
Roller Skates of 1790 (with a brief history of the invention of wheeled skates):
Bathing-machines in Bridlington Bay, Yorkshire, from The Costume of Yorkshire by George Walker, 1814:
Print of the 1822 meeting of the "Royal British Bowmen" archery club (1823 print engraved after J. Townshend):
Caption: "This Plate representing the Meeting of the Royal British Bowmen on the Grounds of Erthy, Denbighshire, the Seat of Simon Yorke Esq. on Septr. 13th. 1822, is respectfully dedicated to that Society by ONE of its MEMBERS"
Notice that both men and women members of the society have uniforms (the women's uniform was a green dress with yellow at the shoulder puffs and yellow triangles at the bottom hem). In the 1806 book Microcosm (from which William Henry Pyne's engravings of rural and working-class life on this page below have been taken), a number of these archery clubs are mentioned, along with a brief capsule history of both "working" and "hobby" archery.
For a less documentary picture of lady archers, go to the women's Regency fashion page.
An outdoors game (1815):
(new, better-quality scan)
A crowd watching a horse-race, print by Rowlandson ("The High Mettled Racer"), July 20 1789:
Four of spades from an 1832 card deck by Baron Louis Athalin (published in Paris), depicting a Regency lady consulting her gardener (apparently):
Two of spades, depicting a mother-daughter dialogue, from an 1803 draft design by John Nixon for the "Metastasis Transformation" pack of playing cards (London):
(Dialogue in image here.)
The queen of spades from an 1810 deck of cards by Vincenz Raimund Grüner (Vienna):
The family of José de Iturrigaray, Spanish Viceroy of Mexico, about 1805:
Detail of portrait of members of the Ruspoli family breakfasting in their Italian palazzo, 1807:
This portrait provides an interesting illustration of changing attitudes towards children -- it seems to me rather unlikely that any Medieval or Renaissance man would have chosen to immortalize himself for posterity in a semi-formal portrait in the way that the gentleman towards the lower left of this image did...
Portrait of Alexandre Lethière, wife Rosina Meli, and their daughter Letizia (1815):
La Famille Stamaty, 1818 sketch by Ingres:
Sketch of the family of Lucien Bonaparte (1815):
Notice the seated girl's pantalettes.
Portrait sketch of Joseph Woodhead, wife Harriet, and brother-in-law Henry George Wadesford Comber (1816):
To see some of Ingres' portraits of women, go to the portrait section of the women's fashion illustrations page, and to see his portrait of Lord Grantham, see above on this page.
"Highest Life in London -- Tom and Jerry "Sporting a Toe" among the Corinthians at Almacks in the West" by Robert and George Cruikshank, from Pierce Egan's Life in London (1821):
Dancing the Quadrille at Almack's
Rather lively dancing of the "La Trénis" figure of the Contredanse, from Le Bon Genre, Paris, 1805:
Children dancing(?) in the grounds of a country house ca. 1820:
The five "Positions of Dancing", from Wilson's Analysis of Country Dancing, 1811:
(New, clearer scan)
Music and (somewhat illegible) instructions for the Boulanger ("baker") dance ("Co:" is an abbreviation for "couple", and apparent "f" without a crossbar is an "s"):
Frontispiece to Thomas Wilson's Correct Method of German and French Waltzing (1816), showing the nine positions of the waltz:
A clearer scan of Regency waltzers in the eighth position, from Thomas Wilson's Correct Method of German and French Waltzing (1816):
Waltzing scene from La Belle Assemblée, February 1, 1817:
(In 1817, the conical -- but not bell-shaped -- skirts shown here were on the cutting edge of the most recent fashions.)
Curtseying (?) for the Devonshire Minuet:
Dr. Syntax plays the fiddle at a village dance ("Rural Sports" by Rowlandson, from The Tour of Dr. Syntax In Search of the Picturesque, 1810):
Village harvest procession, by Rowlandson, 1823
Illustration of quadrille steps from Carlo Blasis's Code of Terpsichore (1830):
"Tom, Jerry, and Logic Making the Most of an Evening in Vauxhall" by Robert and George Cruikshank, from Pierce Egan's Life in London (1821):
"Danse Bolèro", from Delineations of the Most Remarkable Costumes of the Different Provinces of Spain (ca. 1820?):
The "L'été" figure of the quadrille, early 1820's (engraved by Lebas):
English print of ca. 1820 showing dancers executing the "three forward and back" section of the pastourelle figure of a quadrille:
(Dresses resembling those shown here -- very full-skirted but still very high-waisted -- were apparently worn by some elite followers of all the latest changing high fashions during a fairly brief period ca. 1819-1820, but never really became the default style of the general body of "genteel" women, at least in this extreme form. Ironically, these gowns have some resemblance to the hoop-skirted "court dress" -- worn at formal royal occasions -- which was abolished at nearly the same time, in 1820, on the grounds of being universally considered an archaic and hideous relic.)
Home-made Entertainment in the Drawing-Room (1810 anonymous sketch of semi-informal dancing, such as that at Sir William Lucas's in Pride and Prejudice):
(Other than specific fashion caricatures; see above for male fashion caricatures, and the the Regency women's fashions page for female fashion caricatures.)
Here's a series of adaptations of a caricature of the Walz:
"La Walse", caricature from Le Bon Genre, Paris, 1801 (probably the original caricature; at this time the Waltz was unknown in England, and in Germany and France still had not entirely shed its connotations of being a German peasant dance):
On the left: a raffish couple
On the right: German "egghead", and a lady with her feet none too firmly planted
"La Walse"; 1810 adaptation by Gillray of the above French caricature:
(At this time the Waltz was very new in England, and considered rather scandalous, because of the way the gentleman's arm encircles the lady's waist as part of the dance.)
Notice how the right couple has been altered by Gillray
Engraved illustration for the 3rd. edition of Washington Irving's Salmagundi (1820) by Alexander Anderson
(Further adaptation of the right couple in the above -- probably based on Gillray's version -- in which there is less personal caricature of the man, though the dance itself is still rather strongly caricatured.)
"La Sauteuse" (different caricature from the above three), from Le Bon Genre, Paris, 1806:
(Intended to caricature the walz as having an abandoned nature, compared to the more decorous dances which had previously prevailed in genteel circles.)
"Waltzing" (detail from another early 19th century English caricature, redrawn for Social England under the Regency by John Ashton, 1899):
A larger scan of this redrawn caricature is also available:
(The preceding two caricatures make sly insinuations by showing a vagrant fold of the woman's skirts going between the man's legs...)
"Longitude and Latitude of St. Petersburgh", caricature of Countess Lieven waltzing at Almack's, by George Cruikshank, May 13th 1813:
(smaller contrasty scan)
(larger less contrasty scan)
Some dance caricatures were actually not about walzing... The Quadrille was also a new dance in England in the 1810's:
"Dos à Dos -- Accidents in Quadrille Dancing", caricature print engraved by George Cruikshank, 1817 ("Other way, Mr. Collins!"):
By an old caricaturist's trick, the women's skirts are shown somewhat shorter than they would have been in reality...
"Bobbin' about to the Fiddle -- a Familly Rehersal of Quadrille Dancing, or Polishing for a trip to Margate", a caricature of a "cit" (bourgeois) family preparing for their vacation, by Charles Williams, May 1817:
The paterfamilias is saying to the French dancing master: "I say, Mounseer Caper! don't I come it prime? Ecod, I shall cut a Figor!!" [i.e. "figure"], and one of the daughters says "Law, Pa, that's just as when you was drilling for the Whitechaple Volunteers -- only look how Ma and I & sister Clementina does it!!", while the dancing master says "Vere vell, Sar, ver vell, you vil danse a merveille vere soon!"
Detail of an early 19th-century French engraving depicting a semi-raucous peasant dance...
A semi-satirical drawing used as the basis for a colored engraving (print), titled "Academie et Salle de Danse. Les Graces Parisiennes". A mild parody of a French dancing school -- the man on the left is in a contraption to accustom him to turn out his toes at the proper angle, and the next guy is on wedges that enforce the proper angle of bending for the knees. The ladies' skirts are slightly shorter and more diaphanous than they would have been in real life, the dancing master's small "kit" fiddle (pochette in French) is even smaller than it would have been in real life, and the demi-beau in the middle is earnestly scrutinizing his appearance in the mirror when he should be practicing dancing with his partner...
"Dottator et Lineator Loquitur", 1817 engraving showing the stages of a ball in rather schematic form: "Asking to dance", "Leading out", "Hands four round", "Down the middle", "Right and Left", "Setting", "Cross hands", "Poussette", "Hornpipe", "Tête à Tête", "Fainting", "Taking home royal".
Semi-satirical illustrations, some or all of which were published in Le Bon Genre, Paris, during approximately the first decade and a half of the nineteenth century; not to be taken entirely seriously...
A game of blind man's buff -- it looks like the gentleman is, ahem, taking advantage of the situation... The French caption is "Colin Maillard assis -- MONSIEUR ON NE TÂTE PAS" (Translation: "Seated blindman's-buff -- Sir, no groping!")
(Color scan courtesy Bob Whitworth of PrintsGeorge.Com.)
(Slightly larger black-and-white scan.)
(For a more respectable single-sex version of blind man's buff, also published in Le Bon Genre, see the Regency women's fashions page.)
Another Regency parlour game, of uncertain nature but faintly scandalous appearance (by Schenker, from Le Bon Genre?). French Caption: "Le Baiser à la Capucine".
(Color scan courtesy Bob Whitworth of PrintsGeorge.Com.)
(Larger black-and-white scan.)
(Even larger, but blurrier, black-and-white scan.)
"Guessing the Kiss" (Le Bon Genre, 1811):
Another unknown game; engraved by Bosio, 1816 (from Le Bon Genre?)
Some info on this publication is available on Cathy's Le Bon Genre page.
"The inconveniences of a crowded drawing room", famous caricature by George Cruikshank, May 6th 1818
Note the moustache of the man on the right, which at the time had connotations of continental or military dandyism.
A huge scan of "The inconveniences of a crowded drawing room" Cruikshank caricature (showing additional detail) is also available.
A valuable historical document of the Regency period! (Facial expression study by Louis-Léopold Boilly; chalk sketch, probably from the early 1820's):
A detail from a ca. 1820 engraving, showing an event that was not out of place or incongruous with everyday life in the U.S. at that time, even in the large eastern seaboard cities: an elegant young lady who has been knocked over by a pig in the streets of New York City:
[Poor quality scan]
"`At Home' in the Nursery, or the Masters & Misses Twoshoes' Christmas Party", an 1826 caricature by George Cruikshank, that shows children of several different families having a "party" (or play session) attended by servants, while the adults are no doubt eating, drinking, and making merry in another part of the house.
"Learning to Drive Tandem", 1823 Caricature by Henry Alken:
"Luxe et Indigence", French satirical print, 1818. The young lady's chamber is furnished extremely sparsely (bandboxes used as bedside table, shawl used as curtain, and not much else) -- but she has a ball ticket stuck in the corner of the mirror, and a fashionable ball dress laid out on the chairs.
"Leaving Off Powder, or A Frugal Family Saving the Guinea", March 10th 1795 caricature by James Gillray, on the results of the new tax on hair-powder. The mother is trying on a new unpowdered wig, the daughter is disconsolately surveying in a mirror the effect of her new unpowdered hair style, the father is standing with his back to the fire in an unpowdered wig and reading a Gazette -- the first page of which says "New Taxes", and the second page "Bankruptcies" -- and the extremely dandified son isn't wearing a wig at all. The very powdered Charles II looks down from the wall:
"A Peep at the Gas-lights in Pall Mall", caricature of reactions to installation of the new invention of gas-lighting on Pall-Mall, London, by Rowlandson, 1809 (mediocre-quality image):
- Well-informed gentleman:
- "The Coals being steam'd produces tar or paint for the outside of Houses -- the Smoke passing thro' water is deprived of substance and burns as you see."
- "Arragh honey, if this man bring fire thro water we shall soon have the Thames and the Liffey burnt down -- and all the pretty little herrings and whales burnt to cinders."
- Rustic bumpkin:
- "Wauns, what a main pretty light it be: we have nothing like it in our Country."
- "Aye, Friend, but it is all Vanity: what is this to the Inward Light?"
- Shady Female:
- "If this light is not put a stop to -- we must give up our business. We may as well shut up shop."
- Shady Male:
- "True, my dear: not a dark corner to be got for love or money."
Since the classical world was held up as a model, why not go all the way in your emulation?
French engraving by Linge after a semi-satirical painting by Dutailly, 1795, on "The Imitation of Antiquity":
[Large image, mediocre-quality scan]
(Note that the flesh-and-blood gentleman's feet are in the fourth position of dancing, quite unlike those of his marble counterpart.)
The Regency Cat Lady (caricature published in Vienna, 1815):
"Squatting plump on an unexpected cat in your chair!!", detail of an engraving by Isaac Cruikshank after a drawing by Woodward, ca. 1808 (part of a series on "Miseries of Human Life"):
Detail of a caricature depicting connoisseurs being shown an Italian painting:
"An Elegant Establishment for Young Ladies", by Edward Francis Burney, a fantastic farrago which depicts a multitude of outlandish goings-on imagined to occur at a trendy lady's "seminary":
Proceding roughly clockwise from the upper right, some of the notable activities portrayed in this wildly exaggerated over-the-top caricature of a girls' boarding school are: Through the window can be seen a young lady eloping with a young man (who is assisting her as she is jumping onto the top of a carriage he has brought around). Above the door is the inscription "Elegant Establishment for Young Ladies", and over the gate is "Seminary". In front of the window is another young lady rehearsing the role of a tragedy-heroine (with a dagger stuck in her girdle). At lower center is a dancing lesson, with the man seeming to be a little more intimate with the young lady than what the necessities of teaching would require. In the center (top and bottom) and at the lower left, are various contrivances to ensure correct posture (girls lying on their backs on the hardwood floor, the girl being hoisted by her chin; at bottom left the girl seen in silhouette holding a backboard behind her shoulders, and the girl working out with dumbbells -- the girl being hoisted by her chin is also holding dumbbells). Towards the left of center, it appears that an Indian is teaching some kind of oriental dance with tambourine (something which I strongly doubt was featured on the curriculum of most Regency ladies' boarding schools), and there is also a Eastern-European-looking man doing something with a girl who is probably supposed to be wearing a kind of "Oriental" costume, but whose clothes actually look more like those that 10-year old girls wore during the Regency (skirts shorter than adult length, with pantalettes).
Edward Francis Burney also did an elaborate caricature depicting the newfangled waltz as the lascivious highway to hell; his caricatures seemingly have to be reproduced on a large scale (which they rarely are in modern books) to have their full effect.
Englishmen after dinner ("L'après-Dinée des Anglais"), a slightly naughty 1814 French satire on gentlemen taking liberties in the dining room after the ladies have withdrawn to the drawing room:
English ladies after dinner ("Les Dames Anglaises Après-Diné"), 1814 French satire of ladies in the drawing room:
"The English Ladies' Dandy Toy", somewhat symbolic caricature by Robert Cruikshank, 1818, showing a type of toy popular at the time:
A satirical engraving of the quaint English custom of "wife-selling", which wasn't quite what it sounds like, but was more a ritual among the non-genteel classes (who couldn't possibly obtain a full parliamentary divorce, allowing remarriage, according to the pre-1857 laws), to publicly proclaim a dissolution of marriage (though not one that was really recognized by the authorities of Church and State). 1820 English caricature (even though the sign says "Marché de Bêtes à Cornes")
Notice how the artist has arranged things so that the cattle's horns are strategically placed in line-of-sight behind the husband's head...
The following notice appeared in an 1815 newspaper:
"On Friday last [September 15th 1815] the common bell-man gave notice in Staines Market that the wife of ---- Issey was then at the King's Head Inn to be sold, with the consent of her husband, to any person inclined to buy her. There was a very numerous attendance to witness this singular sale, notwithstanding which only three shillings and fourpence were offered for the lot, no one choosing to contend with the bidder, for the fair object, whose merits could only be appreciated by those who knew them. This the purchaser could boast, from a long and intimate acquaintance. This degrading custom seems to be generally received by the lower classes, as of equal obligation with the most serious legal forms."
(See a discussion of the pre-1857 legalities of marriage.)
"Boeuf à la Mode", an anonymous French caricature of the beginning of the 19th century which pretends to interpret the name of the menu item "Boeuf à la Mode" as meaning "The Fashionable Ox" (instead of "Stewed Beef"):
"The celebration [fête] of the Order of Cuckoldry before the throne of her majesty, Infidelity", satirical colored French print, ca. 1815. (A parody of knightly orders such as the English order of the Garter, which traditionally held annual celebrations on the day of the patron-Saint of the order.)
The cupid at the bottom front is writing this on the scroll: "Liste de Msrs les Membres Composant la gde. famille de Vénérables Cocus, Cornards, Cornettes, et Cornillons de tous les Pais [pays]. &c." Note the gentlemen from non-Western-European nations at the right of the picture, and the lady in the pink dress who is firmly calling her husband's attention to the horns on her own head.
"Love-à-la-mode, or Two dear friends", early 19th-century caricature by Gillray, reportedly depicting a scandalous rumour told about Emma, Lady Hamilton (Nelson's mistress), and Queen Maria Carolina of Naples (presumably the the lady on the left, who seems to be wearing some kind of coronet or crown beneath the feathers in her headdress). Two men spy out the situation in some distate, from behind some bushes.
Text of dialogue in image:
- One lady to the other:
- "Little does he imagine that he has a female rival"
- Nautical gentleman (Nelson?):
- "What is to be done to put a stop
to this disgraceful Business?"
- Other gentleman:
- "Take her from W???"
"Modern Antiques" by Rowlandson, 1806 (a satire on the craze for imitations of things ancient-Egyptian):
In the Morning Chronicle in 1805, a lady complained that ``since this accursed Egyptian style came into fashion... my eldest boy rides on a sphinx instead of a rocking-horse, my youngest has a papboat in the shape of a crocodile, and my husband has built a watercloset in the shape of a pyramid, and has his shirts marked with a lotus.''
"Farmer Giles"; this 1809 caricature by Gillray satirizes a prosperous farmer's family aspiring to female musical "accomplishments" and other middle class refinements:
Text in oval on wall: "Cheese Farm"
Music on Piano: "Blue Bells of Scotland sung by Mrs. Jordan"
On back wall: Sampler sewn by "Betty Giles"
Smaller wider view of 1809 engraving by Gillray satirizing young ladies' "accomplishments" in the family of a prosperous farmer:
The following 1843 poem, in much the same spirit as the Gillray caricature, summarizes the difference between the lifestyles of the "genteel" vs. the tenant-farmer classes, and predicts that the latter will come to an impecunious end if they imitate those of the former:
- Old Style
- Man, to the plough;
- Wife, to the cow;
- Girl, to the yarn;
- Boy, to the barn;
- And your rent will be netted.
- New Style
- Man, Tally Ho; [i.e. hunting]
- Miss, piano;
- Wife, silk and satin;
- Boy, Greek and Latin;
- And you'll all be Gazetted. [i.e. notice of bankruptcy will be published in official Gazette]
Caricature by (George or Robert?) Cruikshank, 1816 (probably an allusion to some specific event or gossip):
THE BERKELEY SLIP, or a Lesson for Spinsters
"Not one false Slip entirely damns her Fame."
Trust not to Man, however Debonair,
Nor trust your bottoms on a slippery Chair.
(Dialogue in image here)
For pictures which are primarily satires of women's fashions see the caricatures section of the Regency women's fashions page.
Caricatures which involve soldiers or sailors in some way (even though they may not be the main target of the satire).
"An Interesting scene, on board an East-Indiaman, showing the Effects of a heavy Lurch, after dinner", print by George Cruikshank, Nov. 9th 1818, after a drawing by Captain Frederick Marryat (Large JPEG image):
The sailor on the right is saying "My precious eyes, Tom!!! here's a smash!! !! -- hold on, my hearties!! hang on by y'r eyelids"
A print that will make you wish you lived in the Regency, when things were decorous and elegant!
"A Milling Match Between Decks", by W. Elmes, July 13th 1812. (A caricature satirizing situations which arose in some navy ships when officers appeased the seamen by turning a blind eye to indulgences below decks -- especially allowing women who were not the sailors' wives to freely come on board when a ship was in port):
The devotee of terpsichore on the left is saying "I love a bit of hop -- Life is ne'er the worse for it when in my way do drop a Fiddle -- that's your sort." and the pugilistic spectator on the right is saying "Now Jack -- Brail up his peepers or Mungo will tip you yankey-doodle-doo." ("Hop" = "dance", "brail" nautical for "to haul up a sail", "peepers" = "eyes". The name "Mungo" is probably at least as much in honor of Scottish explorer Mungo Park as it is authentically African.)
Here's a watercolor which shows a more respectable version of visits by women to ships in port: "The Sailor's Sweetheart" by Isaac Cruickshank (probably done in the 1790's).
"The Merry Ship's Crew, or Nautical Philosophers" a satirical caricature on severe naval discipline, from the late 1810's, signed by "Williams":
- "Well, Mate! Just come on shore? How did you leave the ship's crew?"
- "Why Captain, I left them all to a man the merriest fellows in the world -- I flogged seventeen of them as your Honor commanded, and they are happy it is over; and the rest are happy because they have escaped."
"For all the happiness mankind can gain,
"Is not in pleasure, but in rest from pain." -- Dryden
"Portsmouth Point" by Thomas Rowlandson, ca. 1811 mainly satirizing various types of lower-class boisteriousness and carousing in Portsmouth harbor:
A Natural Curiosity... (my caption for this slightly naughty caricature of 1815):
Yes, she really did need to tie her shoe right at that very moment!
"Stretchit", a slightly naughty English caricature of the early 19th century, commenting on a few young females who were daring enough to ride astride, rather than sidesaddle (gasp!):
(Part of the intended humor is suposed to come from the confrontation between the genteel, though "fast" young lady and the salty British tar.)
(Dialogue in image here)
For an image of a woman riding sidesaddle, as was normal, see the Regency women's clothing illustrations page.
A hobby horse built for four (English caricature, ca. 1817):
Text in image:
- 1st woman:
- "Vy, Poll, this beats the Delly!!" ["delly"="dilly", a shortening of "Diligence", which is an older and foreign word for "stagecoach"]
"Vy, Poll, it's capsized" [Using the nautical word "capsize" instead of normal "overturn"]
- 2nd woman:
- "And we have capsized a Dandy"
- 1st sailor:
- "D--n it Jack, this is rare sailing without a wind"
- 2nd sailor:
- "A very pretty invention, Tom!"
"D--n it we shall run down the Dandy!"
- "Curse you, you tarpauling!" ["tarpaulin"="sailor"]
"Wy don't you mind how you steer?"
"Female Opinions on Military Tactics", Sept. 30 1790 caricature engraved by Isaac Cruikshank. Despite the title, this doesn't really mock feminine ignorance of military matters, but instead derives its humor from situations involving inexperienced soldiers of the militia or volunteers -- and adds in a good number of double entendres:
Text in Image:
- Rustic Couple:
- "I have made good the Accident of last night, -- and now John, though thee dost not look very like a Soldier, there shall not be a man in the Regiment with a better Ramrod."
- Old Couple:
- "I can't conceive what is the matter with my Old Gun. I can't do any thing with it."
- "It's owing to the Cock, my Dear; it has been so a long time!!"
- Third Couple:
- "Is not that very Gentlemanly and upright."
- Young Lady:
- "Yes, and I hope you will always continue so. I doat upon everything upright."
- Fourth Couple:
- "Oh -- had you but seen me Fire last night; I astonish'd every Lady on the ground. I don't think I wink'd once during the whole evening."
- "I am happy to hear you improve in any thing -- I had almost given you up, I assure you.
- Fifth Couple:
- "A mere Flash in the pan, as I am a Gentleman and a Soldier!"
- "That's nothing uncommon my Dear -- the only way is to try again."
- Sixth Couple:
- "Bring me the Hammer, Wife -- I want to make an improvement in my Tailpipe."
- "That I will, my Dear; I love improvements of any kind."
- Seventh Couple:
- Young Man:
- "This, Miss, is what we call the Cock -- and this is the Swell."
- Young Miss:
- "Well, I never knew so much of a Musket before -- how I should like to marry a soldier!"
- Eighth Couple:
- "That a Military tail? I would not give a farthing for a Cart-load of them! I am told it is his Majesty's orders that every Gentleman Soldier in this Village shall at least have a tail of nine inches, to set a good example."
"The Comforts -- and -- Curse of a Military Life" by T. Colley, a 1781 print which expresses indignation that military benefits (promotions, staying on active duty at full pay, etc.) weren't distributed according to merit, but rather according to connections, political influence, bribery, etc.
On the left: "FULL PAY - Borough Interest" (Two full-pay officers drinking claret, promotion papers received, offering a toast "To the Peace Makers").
On the right: "HALF PAY - Ingrata Patria" [Latin for "Ungrateful Homeland"]
A one-legged veteran in a garret, with three children (one of whom is about to drink "Small Beer"); a picture on the wall is labeled "The Soldier Tired[??] of War", while hanging on the wall are his officer's sword, and a tricorne hat.
Note that the full-pay pair are in favor of peace because they they don't need to depend on their military valor or the chances of war to advance in service, while the other man has little chance of returning to full-pay active service or being promoted except in wartime.
Caption: "To the Commander in Cheif and Secretary of War -- Under All Administrations:
You have ever been found callous to the Meritorious claims of Veteran Soldiers and remain heroically unmoved by their memorials unless accompanied by a Bribe to your Secretaries or a Vote in a dirty Borough. In hopes that the pencil may Succeed where the pen has not, these contrasted Situations are humbly inscribed to you by an Injured&npsp;&npsp;&npsp; Miles" [Miles = Latin for "soldier"]
A caricature of Napoleon and his officers reviewing their troops on the retreat from Moscow in November 1812; a detail of a May 27th 1813 print by George Cruikshank, based on a Russian print.
"Crying for a New Toy", a Jan. 25th 1803 caricature attributed to Isaac Cruikshank which portrays Napoleon's planned coronation in a rather undignified light:
Nurse -- "Well Child, you shall have it, but I don't think you'll be
a bit better for it, nor quieter when you've got it."
Nappy -- "I will have it, I will, or else I'll cry -- give me the Crown!"
(Torn picture of "the world" and broken crowns and scepters litter the floor.)
"A Swarm of English Bees hiving in the Imperial Carriage!! -- Who would have thought it! -- A Scene at the London Museum, Piccadilly, or a peep at the spoils of ambition taken at the battle of Waterloo, being a new tax on John Bull, &c. &c.", caricature by George Cruikshank, Jan. 1816. (Of course, the "Museum" would have been a private business, charging admission to curiosity-seekers.):
The museum employee is saying "This is one of Napoleon's shirts, Ladies", one would-be fashionable is saying to the other perched on the carriage "You're prime bang up!!", the rustic is saying to his wife "Look at zaber gashes", the gentleman whose shirt-front is being stepped on says "Oh! my Frill", the desolate Frenchman in the corner says "Oh! Mon dear Empreur, dis is de shattering sights", the man in the lower left corner is looking at a box labelled "This box contained upwards of 100 articles of solid gold &c.", and the mother ignoring the whole scene is telling her son, "Look at the Horses, Tommy."
Detail of "1812 or Regency À la Mode", caricature of the Prince Regent as an aging dandy or "fat Adonis of fifty" by W. Heath, redrawn for Social England under the Regency by John Ashton, 1899:
A smaller color scan of the whole original caricature is at haleysteele.com.
A caricature of the Prince Regent by George Cruickshank illustrating "The Political House that Jack Built" by William Hone (1819):
"This is THE MAN -- all shaven and shorn,
All cover'd with Orders -- and all forlorn;
THE DANDY OF SIXTY, who bows with a grace,
And has taste in wigs, collars, cuirasses and lace;
Who, to tricksters, and fools, leaves the State and its treasure,
And, when Britain's in tears, sails about at his pleasure:
Who spurn'd from his presence the Friends of his youth,
And now has not one who will tell him the truth;
Who took to his counsels, in evil hour,
The Friends of the Reasons of lawless Power;
That back the Public Informer,
Who would put down the Thing,
That, in spite of new Acts,
And attempts to restrain it, by Soldiers or Tax,
Will poison the Vermin, that plunder the Wealth
That lay in the House,
That Jack Built."
(The "wealth" is Magna Carta, Bill of Rights, and Habeas Corpus; the "thing" is a printing press.)
Colored engraving of Peterloo Massacre (1819) by George Cruikshank:
(Not a caricature.)
Not all details strictly accord with contemporary descriptions; the banner the woman is holding should read: Female Reformers of Roynton -- "Let us die like men and not be sold like slaves".
"The March of Roguery", 1830 caricature by C. J. Grant:
Text in image:
- State [king, holding sceptre]:
- "I Rule"
- Church [bishop, with "£10000" under the crook of his arm]:
- "I Pray"
- Farmer [in smock]:
- "I Work for Both"
- "I Cheat you Three"
- "I Fleece you Four"
- "I Poison you Five"
- "I'll have all Six"
A ca. 1833 caricature of the political establishment from a Radical point of view, suggesting that the Whigs were not all that different from the Tories (see further information at top of image):
A few humorous pictures from the mid 1820's to the early 1830's (not including political caricatures from this period, which are in the immediately preceding section -- nor women's fashion caricatures, which are on the Victorian page):
"Corinthian Steamers, or Costumes and Customs of 1824", Feb. 26 1824 caricature by W. Heath. This shows the very beginnings of the transition from Regency to Victorian with respect to facial hair and smoking (both of which were considered outlandish and un-English during the Regency, and are ridiculed here, but later would come to be considered highly respectable during the Victorian period):
- Flaming dandy (2nd from left):
- "Fire! Fire! oh Dear, my best Mustacios will be quite Destroyd!"
- Alarmed dandy (next to left):
- "Fire! Fire!"
- Irish fireman (at left):
- "My Master, I must fetch our Engine to put out your Steam Engine"
At the right of the image a dandy is blowing smoke in a lady's face, in flagrant violation of the etiquette of the time (in which smoking was mostly not done indoors at all, and never in the presence of ladies). Caption is "Fond of Steaming Ladies! do you smoke it, eh!" (The steam engine was a shiny new technology in 1824, so smokers are jocularly compared to steam-engines...) Moustaches were associated with foreign (continental European) and military influences at the time (and so had a secondary association with conspicuous dandyism), while beards were totally out of fashion (generally only a few elderly working-class people and invalids would have had them).
"Term Time", satire on lawyers, from "Illustrations of Time" by George Cruikshank, 1827:
- In background:
- The formal procession which marks the opening of a legal "term" (court season).
- Legal individual:
- "Gentlemen, it was a very fine Oyster! The court awards you a shell each."
- In bag of legal documents:
- "Noodle v. Doodle"
- Noodle and Doodle don't appear to be pleased with the legal resolution of their dispute.
- Over donation box, at the barred window of jail (presumably debtor's prison):
- "Pray Remember the Poor Debtors"
- On piece of paper on ground:
- "Pray Remember the Poor Creditors"
[This was an old joke -- in 1791 a caricature engraved by Bowles after Dighton, with the title "A Sharp between Two Flats", showed a legal gentleman (the "sharp") dividing an oyster among the opposing parties in a lawsuit, with the caption "A Pearly Shell for HIM and THEE -- the OYSTER is the Lawyer's Fee".]
Teaching one's aged progenitress the proper way in which to do the thing ("The Age of Intellect", humorous illustration on a proverbial phrase by George Cruikshank, 1829):
Notice that the tyke has Shakespeare, Halley, Bede, Hume, Gibbon, Flamsted, Milton, Bentley, Boyle, Newton, and Euclid in his toy-basket, and Theology, Algebra, Bacon, and Locke on the floor (and scientific apparatus and Torricelli on the table), while grandma is reading "Who killed Cock Robin?" (a nursery rhyme).
(Dialogue in image here)
"Locomotion", a late 1820's satire by George Cruikshank on the coming of the Age of Steam; the inventions to be expected in the wake of the newfangled steam railroad are, from left to right: a steam walker ("Walking by Steam"), a steam carriage ("Riding by Steam"), and a steam ornithopter ("Flying by Steam") --
There's a second companion plate "A few small inconveniences -- There's nothing perfect" that shows the newfangled steam inventions breaking down and blowing up.
Satire on the coming age of steam ("A View in Whitechapel Road", after H. T. Alken, 1831):
The two large steam coaches are named "The Infernal Defiance -- From Yarmouth to London" and "The Dreadful Vengeance -- Colchester, London"
On the rear of the coach in front is a banner proclaiming "Warranted free from Damp", the small delivery wagon has "Bread served Hot" on its side, and the service station proclaims "Coals Sold Here: only 4s. 6d. per Pound(?)"
As Paul Johnson has documented in his book The Birth of the Modern, the early British railroad companies were at pains to preclude any possible competition from free-running steam coaches (which may not have been too practicable anyway...).
For Victorian caricatures, see my Victorian page.
The following scans are mainly taken from the 1806 book
Microcosm, which contains William Henry Pyne's engravings of
rural and working-class life, with an accompanying commentary.
"Mower's family travelling" (original uncolored engraving):
A mower and his family on the move. (If this family had a more or less secure base to return to during the agricultural off-season, then they may not have been quite as badly off as you would think by looking at them -- but if they were carrying all their worldly possessions on their backs, then their lives were likely to have been rather grim.)
A hand-colored version of "Mower's family travelling" (larger scan):
"Man and woman washing linen in a brook", from William Henry Pyne's Microcosm, 1806:
"Woman and Child with a cat", "Cottager and Child" from "Cottagers Plate 2" in William Henry Pyne's Microcosm (1806):
Merry-go-round in an English village (probably part of a village fair), by W. H. Pyne, ca. 1810. (It doesn't conspicuously seem to be an enjoyment of the genteel classes.)
"Chaise and pair loading" from William Henry Pyne's Microcosm (1806). Travel speed: 7 to 8 miles an hour.
"Chaise and four in full gallop" in William Henry Pyne's Microcosm (1806). Travel speed: 10 miles an hour.
"A stage-coach with four horses coming down hill" from William Henry Pyne's Microcosm (1806):
Pavel Petrovich Svinin was a Russian who visited the United States
(as secretary to the Russian diplomatic representative) in the early
1810's, during which he painted a number of watercolors of life in
America. Later he published the book Voyage Pittoresque Aux
Etats-Unis de l'Amérique par Paul Svignine en 1811, 1812, et
1813. A German translation of the book is available on-line here. Later scholars agree that the paintings are not Svinin's but those of John Lewis Krimmel.
Note: These paintings belong to The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Pavel Petrovich Svinin, Merrymaking at a Wayside Inn (watercolor):
This depicts travellers grabbing a very hurried and impromptu dance on the road in early 1810's America (in rural Pennsylvania?), and so shows practices that would have been considered rather inelegant in genteel circles in England at the time (such as smoking in the presence of ladies, smoking indoors, taking off one's tailcoat in the presence of ladies -- leaving a man wearing only waistcoat and shirt -- and holding onto one's horsewhip while dancing!).
A grayscale scan (lower quality, but slightly less cropped around the edges) is also available.
Pavel Petrovich Svinin, Oyster Barrow in front of the Chestnut Street Theater, Philadelphia, Watercolor 1811-1812:
Pavel Petrovich Svinin, "Worldly Folk" [i.e. non-Quakers] Questioning Chimney Sweeps and their master before Christ Church, Philadelphia, Watercolor, early 1810's:
(John Lewis Krimmel was a painter active in Pennsylvania during the 1810's.)
Painting of Celebration of July 4th 1819, Philadelphia:
(A huge scan which lets you make out some of the lettering; if you don't want to load this, then the inscription over the entrance to the leftmost tent reads "Don't give up the Ship", that over the entrance to the rightmost tent reads "The Battle of New Orleans", and the words on the flag are "Virtue, Liberty, Independence".)
"The Country Wedding" by John Lewis Krimmel, 1820 painting depicting the marriage of the daughter of a moderately prosperous Pennsylvania farmer in the 1810's (the bride's wedding dress will probably be used as her regular "Sunday best" dress for the next year or so):
Here's some commentary that accompanied an engraving of the painting printed in Analectic Magazine (1820):
The Country Wedding is engraved from a painting by Krimmel, an artist not sufficiently known to be duly appreciated. He is a native of Germany, but long since chose this country for his residence, and has painted many pictures in which the style of Wilkie -- so much admired in England -- and Gerard Dou so much celebrated of yore -- is most successfully followed. He avoids the broad humor of the Flemish school as much as possible, as not congenial to the refinement of modern taste, and aims rather at a true portraiture of nature in real, rustic life.
In the picture here presented he has delineated a scene of no rare occurrence in the dwelling of our native yeomenry. The whole is in admirable keeping. The furniture and decorations of the rooms, the costume and attitudes of the characters show perfectly the inside of a farmer's dwelling, and the business that occupies the group. The old clergyman appears to have just arrived, his saddlebags, hat and whip, lie on the chair near the door, the bride stands in all her rustic finery, rustic bloom and rustic bashfulness. The bride-groom's hand on her shoulder, seems intended to revive her courage, while the manner in which he grasps her hand is at once affectionate and awkward. The distress of the mother solaced by the father, who points to the younger daughter, as if indicating her as the successor to her sister's rank in the family, is well expressed. And the by-play at the door, which is opened by a servant girl to admit an old woman, the awkward affectation of grace and importance in the bride's-maid, whose attention seems to be attracted by what is passing between the young man and young woman on the other side of the room, all are full of life and true character of painting.
Mr. Krimmel's painting room, in Spruce street above Seventh, in Philadelphia, contains many admirable specimens in the same style. His country dance, Return from camp, Return from boarding school, &c. afford the amateur a rich and varied repast.
Sketch of a Christmas celebration among German immigrants to Pennsylvania in the 1810's:
Notable features (according to commentary by Milo M. Naeve) include a small Christmas tree on the table with a fence enclosure surrounding it; presents heaped on plates; and a switch included among the presents for a child who had been naughty. (Note that this is not the way that most Americans would have celebrated Christmas at the time -- much less most English families...)
[More to come.]
"Mrs. Van [Hagen] and Harry Sperling fighting for the shuttlecock" -- watercolor by Diana Sperling, about 1812:
"The Review at Dynes Hall [Essex]: June 1816" -- watercolor by Diana Sperling:
"Mrs. Van [Hagen] murdering a Spider. Sept. 10th 1816. Tickford." -- watercolor by Diana Sperling:
"Newport Pagnell. Mrs. Hurst dancing. Sept. 17 1816." -- watercolor by Diana Sperling:
Walking through the mud: "Nov. 2nd. 1816. Tickford -- Dinner waiting at a neighbour's house." -- watercolor by Diana Sperling:
Playing around with static electricity -- watercolor by Diana Sperling, 1817 or 1818. -- Caption: "May 25th. Henry Van [Hagen] electrifying -- Mrs. Van, Diana, Isabella, Harry, Isabella, Mum and HGS. Dynes Hall."
For some reason, semi-sentimentalized depictions of Regency young ladies or children were popular in the late Victorian and the first decades of this century (on Valentines and such); here's a few examples of this genre (provenance generally uncertain):
Hmmm, wonder what she's thinking....
Humorous light caricature of Regency dancing, drawn by one "W. G. Baxter" (if I'm reading the signatures correctly), probably in the late Victorian or early twentieth century:
Picture of Regency young lady smelling the coffee, by Alphonse Mucha:
In The Wood-carver's Shop, illustration by Howard Pyle for "By Land and Sea", published in Harper's Monthly, December 1895:
A Victorian illustration of a Regency young lady posing as a model for the carving of a ship's figurehead (the man dozing in the background is her father the ship-owner, who's commissioning the figurehead).
You can read the Pyle "story" (such as it is) on-line at Cornell University's web-site.
Here's another illustration from this article, A Sailor's Sweetheart, showing the young lady demurely and discreetly favoring a grinning sailor over the woodcarver. [Mediocre scan] (Pyle is fairly accurate in depicting Regency clothing, but in this picture she's shown as still wearing the same dress when outdoors -- even though it's a very indoors dress, and not at all a "walking dress".)
Illustration of a Regency mother and daughter sewing, from the 1920's(?):
"Greeting from Cupid" (detail of Valentine)
"Two Strings To Her Bow", a Victorian "genre" painting by John Pettie, 1882 ("two strings to one's bow" is a traditional English proverb):
This depicts a Regency young lady delighted at being the focus of attention of two rival beaux, and even seeming to enjoy playing them off against each other. It would probably have struck a somewhat false note for a Victorian artist to portray a contemporary respectable young lady uninhibitedly rejoicing in playing such a game (unless the illustration was didactically disapproving), but by moving it back to the Regency, it all somehow became quaint and historical, and the artist was freed from any perceived necessity to be morally disapproving. (In Pettie's painting, the bodice of her dress and the sharp vertical creases spaced widely around the hem are not really authentic Regency styles.)
A more recent example:
A retouched woodcut purporting to depict a Regency lady using a personal computer:
Contrariwise, below is an "Anti-Regency" picture (i.e. one depicting
conspicuously non-Regency fashions in a context where Regency styles should
have been shown to be historically accurate). It seems that in the
mid-Victorian period (when Kate Greenaway was still unknown) the Victorians
often preferred to draw a discreet veil over Regency fashions -- since at the
time some thought that such styles had been shamelessly indecent; many would
have felt slightly uncomfortable to be reminded that their mothers or
grandmothers had once promenaded about in such fashions (see this 1857 cartoon); and perhaps the majority would have found
it somewhat difficult to really empathize with (or take seriously) the
struggles of a heroine of art or literature if they were being constantly
reminded that she was wearing Regency styles. (This is why Thackeray drew the
women wearing 1840's fashions in his illustrations to his 1847 novel
Vanity Fair, set in the 1810's. And in her account of her
childhood in post-Civil War Kansas, Kate Stephens wrote: "We were past the
hoop-skirt era. But the idea which brought the hoop-skirt forward still
survived -- the idea that skirts are to conceal and let escape no suggestion
of women's nether extremities; not even the line of the knee to show. For a
woman's dress to hint that the wearer had legs was, in that mid-Victorian day,
immodest.") See the women's Regency fashion and
women's Victorian fashion pages on this site for
more discussions and illustrations on Regency styles, and the differences
between Victorian and Regency styles.
"Before Waterloo", by Henry Nelson O'Neil (1868); this presumably attempts to depict the Duchess of Richmond's famous ball on the eve of the battle of Waterloo:
The fashions shown seem to be based on elements of 1830's and early 1860's fashions, and show no particular resemblance to the actual styles of 1815 (except perhaps in having slightly highish waistlines).
(For sites with on-line illustrations of Regency women's clothing styles specifically, see the links section of my page on the subject.)
Return to Jane Austen info page table of contents
Go to notes and illustrations of Regency women's clothing styles
Go to links to depictions of Jane Austen and her family
Go to illustrations to Pride and Prejudice by C.E. Brock and others
Go to illustrations to Jane Austen's other novels, by C.E. Brock and others
If you have the stomach for it, you can also visit my slightly silly Victorian page