Thursday, February 5, 2009

Regency Houses

There was such a vast array of house types in the Regency World. In an ancient country like England, many of the homes are aged treasures of past generations. But the Georgian era--early, late and Regency--was a golden age of neo-classicism and left England dotted with architectural gems.

I've always been a bit of an architecture freak. I like buildings; particularly, I like houses. So I have all Mark Girouard's country house books, and many more on interiors and their care and keeping. I have books on cottages, on castles, great houses, farmhouses, and towns and villages and cities. I even have a rare little monograph from 1941 by Vita Sackville-West titled 'English Country Houses'.

And I have a few essentials for researching Regency houses. "London's Georgian Houses" by Andrew Byrne, published by The Georgian Press in 1986 is amazing. With chapter titles like 'The London Terrace', 'The Building Acts' and 'Structure and Fabric' you can see that he covers it all. With lots of photos, he explains everything one needs to know about London homes from the Regency and the previous Georgian eras. He does not have a lot of floor plans however.

For those I turn to "Architectural Drawings of the Regency Period 1790-1837" by Giles Worsley, published by The American Institute of Architects Press, 1991. This wonderful book has drawings of many of the great buildings of Regency England, and floor plans of every last one of them. This includes country houses, large and small, and town houses. If you want to see where your favourite characters live, or understand how the characters you are creating move around their homes, this book is essential.

Lastly, but certainly not least, there is a little (expensive) book I received for Christmas this year. Titled "Georgian and Regency Houses Explained", it is part of the 'England's Living History' series from Countryside Books. It was written by Trevor Yorke and published in 2007.
First I must say what a great draftsman Mr. Yorke is--his drawings are clear, concise and most informative, as well as charming. This book, despite its small size, really does explain houses. From mouldings and balusters to roofs and bricks, this book covers it all. And includes some great floor plans of even the meanest back to back terraces.

Ah, of the great joys of being an historical fiction writer.

Til next time,



Laurel Ann (Austenprose) said...

Thanks for sharing this excellent resource list. I love architecture too. One book in my library that I adore is Classic Georgian Style, by Henrietta Spencer Churchill (1997) You might check it out. It is out of print, but you could probably find it at the library.

Thanks again, What a lovely blog.

Cheers, Laurel Ann

Lesley-Anne McLeod said...

Thanks, Laurel Ann, I'll look up Classic Georgian Style. HSC does lovely books. Are you familiar with Regency Style by Steven Parissien? It is the ultimate guide, and now in paperback I think.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lesley,

It is amazing the resources that are out there to help with research. I think it is also great that people in the past have recorded and preserved their lives for others in the future to learn from and use.

In one of my next blogs, I'm hoping to talk about research and how we can use the librarians and libraries that are in our communities.

I find it interesting that you were talking about architecture in your blog, and that I checked it out today. Just at supper, my husband and I were talking about how the buildings and other structures built in Europe, Egypt, and Mexico have lasted centuries. What do we have in North America in comparison?

Lesley-Anne McLeod said...

Hi Suse...
I really like built heritage, and I have a lot of trouble with our lack of it in North America. Eastern Canada and the U.S. are the best we can do--and that's only a couple of hundred years. I was born in the wrong place!