Tuesday, June 5, 2018

June in Regency England

Of all the months of the year, June is my favourite. May runs a very close second, but for me the crowning glory of the year is June. So I thought it would be interesting to explore June in the Regency era in England from a number of aspects.

The gardens and fields and all the natural world are glorious in June and The Shepherd's Calendar by John Clare, though written a little after the true Regency period (1827), is wonderfully descriptive.


NOW Summer is in flower, and Nature’s hum
Is never silent round her bounteous bloom;

Fine cabbage-roses, painted like her face;                
The shining pansy, trimm’d with golden lace;
The tall topp’d larkheels, feather’d thick with flowers;
The woodbine, climbing o’er the door in bowers;                                 
The London tufts, of many a mottled hue;
The pale pink pea, and monkshood darkly blue:
The white and purple gilliflowers, that stay
Ling’ring, in blossom, summer half away;
The single blood-walls, of a luscious smell,
Old-fashion’d flowers which housewives love so well;
The columbines, stone-blue, or deep night-brown,
Their honeycomb-like blossoms hanging down,
Each cottage-garden’s fond adopted child,
Though heaths still claim them, where they yet grow wild;
With marjoram knots, sweet-brier, and ribbon-grass,                                          
And lavender, the choice of ev’ry lass,
And sprigs of lad’s-love—all familiar names,
Which every garden through the village claims.
 The ladies' fashions echo the colours of the garden and the airy delights of June.
Evening Dress Ackermann's Repository of Arts June 1820
The Lady's Magazine Paris Dress June 1802
Cobourg Walking Dress La Belle Assemblee June 1816
The cookery books of the period were assiduous in listing seasonal foods of all kinds. Modern Domestic Cookery, published in 1819, covered every month thoroughly.

Home furnishings reflected, and framed, the joys of early summer:
Three designs for window draperies from Ackermann's Repository of Arts June 1820
Books like The Gardener's Pocket Journal of 1808 listed in great detail the tasks that June gardens required done, following these introductory paragraphs.

Likewise The Farmer's Calendar of 1804 has lists of tasks, but it has no time for niceties such as introductions; it plunges directly into work:
 But always I return to gardens in June. Whether cottage or castle, June is made for gardens.

And I offer you this bouquet, from June.

'Til next time,