By Cheryl Bolen
As an author whose first Regency historical romance
was published in 1998, I've long been a student of the period, and
recently had the opportunity to visit a fabulous exhibit on the English
Regency at the Huntington in Los Angeles County.
The Huntington (Library, Art Museum and Botanical
Gardens) offered the exhibit to commemorate the 200th
anniversary of the Regency, which began in 1811 when George III was
declared too mad to rule. His eldest son served as Prince Regent until
his father died in 1820, whereupon the regent became King George IV.
I particularly enjoyed reading the era's
newspapers. The following advertisement (these were intermingled with
news stories) I think must be geared to men, but could also apply to
A new oil
which gradually changes white, gray or red hair to a
beautiful brown – gives softness, elasticity, curl and
thickens – 7 shillings, 6 pence per bottle
A loan office, located at 2 Craven, Strand, advertised that
it gave loans "to persons of fashion, promisary notes to persons of
known credit and consequence." The office was open from 10-4.
The most well-known jewelry store of
the era offered this advertisement:
Rundell, Bridge, Rundell
Goldsmiths & Jewelers
Their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales
and the Duke of York and Royal Family
And the last advertisement I'm going to feature was for an
on-premises auction by "Mr. Christie." Yes, that
Christie's auction house!
Library Richmond Surrey – By Mr. Christie on the premises by
order of the Executors of Miss Hotham deceased, 6,000
volumes. Catalogues are preparing.
The Huntington Library and Art Museum itself is a
treasure to visit. The former estate of rail magnate Henry Huntington,
it's nestled on a few hundred acres of lush botanical gardens in the
foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. The Huntington collections of
rare manuscripts and old master paintings is particularly geared for
English history. It houses Gainsborough's Blue Boy (as well as Pinkie),
first editions of Jane Austen, and an original Chaucer manuscript. And
almost half a million rare manuscripts.