Posted by JennieC on October 27, 1997 at 17:39:39:
In response to Regency Deportment, written by Sue on October 27, 1997 at 11:34:29
] Can anyone offer an insight into the way Regency ladies
] carried themselves ? Was their carriage the result of training and education (Sit up straight, don't slouch) ?
] Do the movies of today recreate the orginal movement and
] deportment ?
] All comments welcome !
Young women were, indeed, trained to carry themselves beautifully and gracefully. If you read Regency Etiquette: The Mirror of Graces by "A Lady of Distinction," you will find many passages about this very subject. The author encourages young ladies to study the "corps de ballet" in order to learn gracefulness in walking and dancing.
As for sitting and standing up straight, it was made easier by the type of corsets women wore then. While they weren't as restrictive or tight as the later Victorian corsets, they often had a long, skinny strip of wood (a "busk") inserted vertically into the front seam of the corset, making slumping or bending over virtually impossible.
Also, because the Regency styles were so greatly influenced by the classic Greek modes, women were encouraged to stand tall and lithe like those model statues. The flowing, fairly loose-fitting gowns enhanced this look, which I find both beautiful and comfortable for everyday wear. I don't understand why women didn't rebel when Dame Fashion dictated the cinched waist and multitudinous layers twenty years later!
As for the adaptations, I think the actress who came the closest to the Regency ideal was Susannah Harker, who played Jane in the A&E P&P. The girl who played Lydia Bennet was the exact opposite, lolling about and throwing herself into a heap every now and again. ;-]
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