Friday, October 30, 2009

A New Contest and all my Regency World news

I have been busy all week preparing for my new contest, so for this blog I thought I would bring you up to date on developments in my Regency World.

A New Contest for the Holiday Season

The winner of the September/October contest for the Regency Fancies' tote bag with artwork by Shakoriel from "Lost in Almack's" is Vanessa from the U. S. A. Congratulations, Vanessa! Thank you to everyone for signing the guestbook during the autumn.

The prize in the November/December contest is an out-of-print book "Panoramas of England". I found another copy of this great book, and thought you might enjoy a chance again to win it. And because it is the holiday season, and Christmas will soon be upon us, I will be including in the prize a delightful reproduction fan, in its own silk case. Visit my contest page to see larger pictures of both the book and the fan.

I hope you will sign the guestbook by December 30, 2009 to be entered for the new draw.

There is a new page added to my Regency World--Views of Regency London. London in the Regency era was very different from the present day city, and these pictures give the Regency reader a glimpse of the world we all would love to visit.

There is also a new picture on the Colouring Book page--of an English lady dressed for a showery day with her umbrella. This picture is period, not by Shakoriel, but I find it absolutely charming.

Perfect Christmas gifts for all lovers of the Regency World are available at Regency Fancies the store at that artist Shakoriel and I have established. You can buy the Fashions of Regency England Colouring Book and a variety of other products there all embellished with Shakoriel's Regency art. Christmas Gifts from Regency Fancies -- at

Now Available! - "Lost in Almack's"

I am delighted to announce that my new 'Novel Byte' short Regency fiction piece "Lost in Almack's" is now available from Uncial Press.

When Lady Genevra Haven becomes lost in the back corridors and staircases of Almack's she needs courage and ingenuity, as well as charm and confidence, to avoid social ruin and salvage her successful debut.

Romance Reviews Today says "a delightfully fun and lively foray".

Click here to purchase "Lost in Almack's"

And don't forget you can find me all over the Internet:
I'll be back next week, with more Regency research and information,
'Til then,

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Advertising the Regency World

Our present age is not the first to be inundated by advertising. The Regency era had its share of promoters, sponsors and hawkers.

The itinerant sellers displayed their wares in the street with ‘cries’ that became the stuff of legends and subject of books. The building owners painted their warehouses with messages in letters several feet tall. The prosperous manufacturers posted their advertisements on buildings and hoardings and hired men to carry signs in the streets touting their products. The merchants hung the exteriors of their shops with their wares, and posted ‘window bills’ to illustrate particular goods within the shop.

And merchants and manufacturers advertised their merchandise and commodities in magazines and journals. Ackermann’s Repository of Arts, Literature, Commerce, etc. of 1815 has—I was delighted to discover—advertisements in the back of each issue. They give a wonderful picture of the merchandising practices of the Regency period, and the products available to my Regency characters.
For example:

French Fashions
“BROWN and CO. Wholesale and Retail Silk-Manufacturers have the honour to announce to the Public, that they have commenced the Silk Trade, in all its Branches, at No. 15, Henrietta-Street, Covent Garden, where their Ware-Rooms will be found to contain a splendid assortment of Silk Goods of the most novel design—rich Satins, Washing Silks, Figured Sarsnets, and Satin Brocade Gauzes, from French Models, Lustres, Tabbinets, Satin Cloths, Gossamere Italian Nets, Scarfs, etc. etc...”

A Wonderful Saving in Silk Stockings
“The Nobility and Gentry are most respectfully informed, by purchasing at the original and old-established Nottingham Stocking Warehouse, No. 81, Charlotte-street, Fitzroy-Square, they will realize a saving of near 20 per cent in that fashionable and elegant part of dress, silk stockings.”

There is much more than fashions advertised...

Malabar’s Dentifrice, or Indian Tooth-Powder, decidedly the best preparation in the university, for cleansing, preserving and beautifying the teeth and gums. This tooth-powder is astringent, cleansing, antiputrescent, a fine aromatic, a most excellent stomachic, extremely grateful to the palate and pleasant to use, and is so perfectly innocent that the contents may be eaten by an infant. 9d per box.”

“Pears’ Liquid Bloom of Roses
gives a most delightful tinge to the female countenance, and to such a degree of perfection, that it may with propriety be said, that art was never so successfully employed in improving the charms of nature. 3s. 6d per bottle.”

“Stephenson’s Patent Filtering Machines
are portable, never out of repair, and are the best invention ever produced for purifying water, at the unexampled rate of 200 gallons per day, rendering the water beautifully transparent.”

Morgan and Sanders have, at a very considerable expence, established a large manufactory, and also built extensive warerooms, for the purpose of exhibiting for sale a great variety of Upholstery ad Cabinet Furniture, for the furnishing of houses; a great part of which are articles perfectly new in principle, extremely fashionable, and universally approved of.”

“Bayley’s True Essential Salt of Lemons
, for taking Ink-spots and stains out of Lace and Linen. The genuine is signed ‘W. Bayley’ on the Box and Wrapper. Also his Scouring Drops, for taking Grease out of Silk, Stuff, Woollen Cloth, price 1s. Each”

More was advertised than simply Goods for Sale:
“Denis Jacob begs leave to inform the Public, he gives the full value, in ready money, for Diamonds and Pearls, at No. 57, Margaret-street, Cavendish-square.”

I find these advertisements fascinating! Do you?

If you would like to investigate advertising and trade cards a little further, visit the John Johnson Collection at the Bodleian Library, or download the Ackermann’s Repository from Google Books and read all the adverts yourself!

Until next time,


Friday, October 16, 2009

"Lost in Almack's" A brand-new release!

I am delighted to announce the release today of my newest Regency romance novella "Lost in Almack's. It is available from Uncial Press; click here for further information.

The reviewers have been kind:

From Romance Reviews Today: "In only twenty pages, Lost In Almack's is a delightfully fun and lively foray...It's only one of the short and long Regency romances by Ms. McLeod, a talented and highly original author"

From Romance Junkies: "...a lighthearted humorous venture through the blurred vision of a young woman's introduction to the creme de la creme of the ton."

From Coffeetime Romance: "...a very well written short story...amusing...adventures for its main character."

From Mistress Bella Reviews: "'s a great short story, a great regency theme story."

From Dear Author: "This is a delight of a short story."

Here is an excerpt to whet your curiosity:

Halfway through the assembly, Genevra had regained her happy insouciance. The lack of clarity to her evening seemed less important as her confidence grew. Several of the young ladies she knew were in attendance, and their nervousness eased her own. She had the satisfaction of being solicited to dance every set, and her mama nodded approvingly from her seat with the other mothers and chaperones. Finally she banded together with her friends and, after asking permission, they made their way to the withdrawing room opposite the ballroom. Their whispers were all about the young gentlemen they had met and the ensembles they had seen.

They entered the chamber on gales of laughter, and much primping and pinning took place in front of the half dozen looking glasses. They had all become good friends and mild rivals during their first season, and their conversation reflected their ease with each other. Genevra in her turn refreshed herself in a screened corner. As she splashed a little water on her hot cheeks, a sudden silence fell in the room. She rounded the japanned screen to find her companions had abandoned her. The chamber was quite empty.

A panicky anxiety clawed her stomach. She would have to make her way back to the ballroom alone. It sounded simple, but all of her unease about her abysmal vision was in an instant revived. Standing alone in the middle of the room, she revolved slowly. No more than an impression of gilding, nile green walls, and white plaster could she gain, even by squinting. And there were three doors. She had no notion by which she had entered the room; she had been chattering with her friends on her entry.

And don't forget--if you like the cover art for "Lost in Almack's" you still have time to enter the contest on my website for a Regency Fancies totebag with "Lost in Almack's" artwork.

"Lost in Almack's" was great fun to write--I hope you enjoy reading it!

Until next time,


Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Repository of Arts, Literature, Commerce, Manufactures, Fashions, and Politics

I have been aware of Rudolph Ackermann’s journal The Repository of the Arts, Literature, Commerce, Manufactures, Fashions, and Politics since I first began reading Regency romance novels a good many years ago. I have long wanted to hold one in my hands, read it as the folk of the Regency read the magazine, see for myself if it was interesting or charming or entertaining.

There are no major libraries near where I live holding such a periodical. To purchase an edition of the journal could cost anywhere from five hundred and five thousand dollars. For years, I was stymied—always hearing of The Repository, never able to see it.

But thanks to my friends at Google Books, I am now reading a copy of The Repository of Arts, Literature, etc. They have an entire year—1815—available and I downloaded the document immediately upon finding it.

The magazine is terrific. I can see why the ladies and gentlemen of the Regency enjoyed it from 1809 to 1829, and why it influenced public opinion. It has everything—just the sort of newsmagazine we enjoy nowadays. It compares very favourably I think to Time and Macleans. It has more meat to it than Us and People and enough variety to be enjoyed by every adult in the family.

For example, in the Intelligence (the word is used in the sense of 'news') column one can find book reviews, notices of publication, and advertisements for upcoming lectures.

“Mr. Singer will commence a course of Lectures on Electricity and
Electro-Chemistry, at the Russell Institution, on Monday, January 16, 1815 at eight o’clock in the evening. These lectures will include all the recent electro-chemical discoveries, and are to be illustrated by Mr. Singer’s powerful and exgtensive apparatus, which includes a series of electric columns, containing 50,000 zinc and silver plates.”

There is a Medical Report:

“As usual at this season, coughs and various affections of the lungs are prevalent. Some severe cases of small-pox have occurred, and the prejudice against inoculation with either vaccine or variolous matter, has proved fatal to many poor children.”
For those interested in fashion, there were both illustrations and descriptions, and in some issues of the magazine, swatches of the latest fabrics.
“Evening Dress (illustrated) – Light pink satin gown, trimmed round the bottom with a lace flounce, laid on richly, worked and beaded with tufts of the same; short full sleeve, trimmed with lace. A shell lace tippet. White kid gloves, drawn over the elbow. An Indian fan of carved ivory. Slippers of white kid, Full crop head-dress, ornamented with flowers.”

There are articles on the Congress of Vienna and the politics of each of the countries involved in it. Agricultural reports are followed by market reports, stock quotes, and meteorological (weather) reports.

The latest in fashionable furniture is discussed and illustrated –
as with this 'French cottage bed'.

And Musical Reviews are extensive. One article on the piano-forte discusses the great advances made in forty years of piano-forte development and suggests that more and more amateurs will become proficient with the instrument in the following years.
A short science article (I have read one on spiders and one on canines so far) is usually part of the contents, a biography might be included, an opinion piece Italic(On the Marriages of Minors sprang to my notice) and letters to the editor were sometimes printed. A short story or historical article is often included in an issue. Occasionally notable buildings of London are pictured and their history recounted. This is St. Luke's Lunatic Hospital which replaced the Bethlehem Hospital (Bedlam). Each issue of The Repository was sixty-two pages packed full of information. It is a privilege to gain this insight into the world of the Regency which I love. Now if only I could visit Mr. Ackermann’s shop, also called Repository of Arts, and located at 101 Strand, I should be perfectly happy. According to the illustration I have seen, he handled a complete line of drawings, pictures, silhouettes, books, journals, and some sculpture and stationery. All the things I love best...

It is two hundred years since Mr. Ackermann’s journal first rolled off the presses. Have you seen a copy of The Repository of Arts, Literature, Commerce, Manufactures, Fashions, and Politics? Or are you like me, only now able to experience what Regency folk knew two hundred years ago?
'Til next time,

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Two Late-Regency Artists

If the names Bonington and Shotter Boys don’t ring any bells, you are not alone. Richard Parkes Bonington and Thomas Shotter Boys were both prolific artists of the late Regency period and, in my opinion, wonderful painters. Unlike Constable and Turner however, they are not commonly recognized names in the 21st century.

Richard Parkes Bonington was born in 1802 and he lived only twenty-six years. In those years his accomplishments and his output were astonishing. He required very little formal instruction; he was one of those born artists who simply know.
His family moved to Calais in 1816 and his career commenced there. He early mastered a luminous landscape style and excelled in both watercolours and oil. He was very interested in historical subjects, and many of his pencil sketches show an historical bent.
By 1827, Bonington was famous, and he was sick. His hectic work schedule and his extensive travels had worn him out, and he contracted tuberculosis. Throughout the following year he fought increasing weakness and continued his prodigious output. By September 1828 he was dead.

Thomas Shotter Boys was a friend and fellow artist of Bonington, a contemporary born in 1803. But unlike Bonington, he lived a long life, well into the Victorian era, dying in 1874.
Their careers intertwined when in 1823 or 24 Boys moved to Paris. Boys’ early instruction in art was not academic but gained during an apprenticeship to an engraver. That early training gave his work an attention to detail and draftsmanship that never disappeared. He worked mainly in watercolours, unlike Bonington, and in later years he became one of the chief developers of the process of lithography.

Bonington and Boys, along with Callow, Cooke and others, ranged Paris in the 1820s painting the same scenes and occasionally buying each other’s work. Boys, in about 1826, drew a pen and ink of the interior of Bonington’s studio in the Rue des Martyrs, Paris.

Despite his long life, Boys never achieved the fame and fortune that Bonington did in his few years. Boys died in poverty, but left a legacy of achievement in watercolour and lithography.

Neither artist is well known now; of the two Bonington is more widely recognized. I like Boys’ work a little better—something in his architectural approach to street scenes and his attention to detail appeal greatly to me.

I hope you will have the opportunity to explore their work—so alike, yet different. And I hope you will let me know which you prefer...

'Til next time,