The random—and not so random—musings of a quirky Regency romance writer.
No one with that many people in her head can possibly be normal...

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

~Regency Wednesday~ 1819 Window Draperies

How's this for a special treat? While perusing Ackermann's Repository (Dec 1819) I stumbled across this charming plate for Regency window draperies.

  AN ingenious artist will communicate to the commonest theme an inexhaustible variety of design: in doing this he must, however, give liberty to his ideas, which, if well instructed in the first instance, will never take their flight beyond the limits prescribed by fitness and true taste. The imagination so controuled is properly distinguished from fancy, which wantonly oversteps all limitations, and trespasses alike on the most sacred and on the profanest grounds of theory and practice; and hence the distinction between the works of an artist and of an amateur, as well in the higher departments of art, as in that of mere upholstery.
  The annexed subject presents features of perfect novelty, without a departure from its guiding principles. The centre draperies, in two colours, are composed for a Venetian or Palladian window: they are supported by a bow-like ornament, and by pilasters, to which the curtains are connected; the sub-curtains are also festooned by the bow, and guarded by a lateral transom, that passes from pilaster to pilaster. 
  The designs on the right and left are light and elegant: they should be composed of silk, and the sub-curtains of transparent materials richly embroidered: so executed, the delicacy of their combinations makes them suitable to a cabinet or boudoir. 
  For these designs we are indebted to Mr. Stafford of Bath.

*Image and description clipped from Ackermann's Repository, Dec 1819, p. 365. Typed description is taken verbatim from the above magazine clipping. 

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ FFXIII-2 ~ Endless Paradox

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

~Regency Wednesday~ Mourning

To go along with last week's post on funerals and wills, this week's post is about mourning customs and mourning attire. 

The mourning period differed depending on which relative died. The longest period of mourning was reserved for a spouse, 12 months. Half that time (6 months) was spent mourning a parent or a parent-in-law. Half again (3 months) for a brother or sister, uncle or aunt. Six weeks of mourning was for a sister-in-law (brother-in-law too, I assume), aunt or uncle (I wonder if this was for an aunt or uncle by marriage, rather than blood; one source suggests closeness to the aunt or uncle as a possible reason for the repetition). For three weeks one would mourn the loss of an uncle or aunt (now I'm just confused), an aunt who remarried, or a first cousin. Two weeks was considered the proper length of time to mourn a first cousin (not sure on the redundancy here), and one week of mourning was acceptable for a first and second cousin, and husband or stepmother's sister.

It sounds as though the mourning periods were a bit flexible when it came to more distant relatives.

During this period of mourning, black was worn and the one grieving wouldn't attend entertainments. According to several sources, crêpe or silk bombazine were the materials of choice for their matte finish. Jet or black amber jewelry could be worn, also acceptable due to their matte finish. Dying gowns black or trimming clothing with black were common practices for mourning, especially if one couldn't afford to purchase new mourning clothes. Ladies went about in black until a period of half-mourning, or second mourning, was reached. Then grays and lavenders were acceptable.

Gentlemen typically wore black anyway so they weren't held to such strict rules when it came to mourning attire. Black gloves, cravat, shirt, or an armband were the norm.

In my Regency serial, My Lady Coward, Maria must don mourning. (She hates jet.) She would have had to mourn for six months, though her grief went much deeper than simply observing proper etiquette.

In The 11th Commandment, the serial Regency I'm writing for InD'tale Magazine, the story opens just after the death of the Duke of Jarvis. His widow returns to England for the reading of the will and she was so rushed to arrive and get the visit over with that she didn't have time to have mourning clothes made. She settled for the darkest colors in her wardrobe, though, out of respect.

My fictional character, the Duke of Derringer, wears all black all the time. More than one of his acquaintances commented on him going about in constant mourning.

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Hinder ~ I Don't Wanna Know

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

In the Editing Cave

Martin Hlauka (Pescan) [Attribution],
 via Wikimedia Commons
I spent the weekend in the editing cave. It wasn't until I crawled out that I remembered just how bright the real world can be.

What was I editing, you wonder? I was working on Intrigue, another of my full-length Regencies. It is connected to the others, #5 according to the list on my website

So now you are probably wondering why I publish my books out of order. It's been a source of annoyance for some of my fans, I know. 

The answer to that is simple, really. I don't write them in order. I never have. I write them as I'm inspired to and that doesn't always happen in a chronological fashion. 

That said, I'm hoping Retribution will be the next one I complete (#10 according to my list), though I also want to get Temptation out there soon (#4 on the list). I have a ton of work ahead of me so I better get back to it. 

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Chicago ~ Will You Still Love Me

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

~Regency Wednesday~ Funerals and Wills

Most of you know I've been writing a serial Regency romance for InD'tale Magazine called The 11th Commandment. The story focuses on a woman, Katherine, who committed adultery, was caught, and sent to Scotland to live alone. The first part features her return to London after her husband's death for the reading of his will. (If you didn't know about this serial and want the story, click on over to InD'tale's site and subscribe. You only get messages when the issue is delivered and subscriptions are FREE. You can find past issues in the site's archive, after you've registered and logged in.)

OK, let me get to the point of mentioning this. For this story I had to delve a bit into the death angle of the Regency world, a topic that isn't written about very often. I found some great info in regard to wills on Courtney Milan's site and a bit about funerals at Regency Reader

Later research revealed that things I'd only guessed at, such as Katherine being present at her husband's burial and whether or not she'd have made it back to London in time to see him before he was buried, I've since been able to confirm. (There are times that you just gotta wing it 'cause the deadline's looming.)

Just a few things I've learned and links to where I found the info: 
  • Katherine would not have been at the burial, as women rarely attended the burial. See the post at Regency Reader titled Regency Reader Questions: Funeral Rites.
  • Katherine would not have made it back from Scotland in time to see his body before the burial. They didn't embalm bodies then and I believe my particular characters would have wanted him in the ground fairly quickly to avoid the overpowering smell. The bit on embalming can be found in an article titled Regency Death and Burial at Historical Hussies.
  • For Katherine to become engaged within a year of her husband's death would be a huge scandal, especially since her husband was a duke. OK, I already knew that. That's kind of a "duh" when mourning for a husband was typically 12 months. 
As for the reading of the will, I assume that took place after the burial. I have not been able to confirm this but it makes sense to me that they would want to lay the deceased to rest before reading the will. I could be wrong on this bit and would love it if someone who knows better can either confirm or deny my assumption.

That's it for now. Next week's post will be about mourning attire. Such cheery subjects I've picked! 

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ FFXIII-2 ~ Countless Partings

Monday, March 11, 2013

Rachel Rossano's "Duty" Blog Tour

I forgot to mention that I hosted Rachel Rossano on my book reviews blog two additional times after her original post on heroic attributes. Following on the heels of that topic was The Makings of a Strong Heroine and then we did a delightful interview where we learned some very important things about Rachel, such as how she deals with negative reviews and the importance of characters' names in her novels. 

Please stop by and give the articles a read (linked above ), and leave a comment if you are so inclined. It was great fun having Rachel and helping her get the word out about her fabulous new novel. 

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Alex Clare ~ Too Close

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

~Regency Wednesday~ Scoundrel

I really have to learn not to overbook my time. That said, here's a simple slang definition [or two] for your edification. Also, I will prepare something different for next week's Regency Wednesday post. I promise.

A man void of every principle of honour.

A rogue, or man of bad character.

*Taken verbatim from the Kindle edition of 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. Get your free copy HERE

♥Happy reading, writing, and blogging!!♥

There's a jukebox in my head. It's currently playing
♫♪ Smeagol Sings Mad World (see youtube video below▼, LOL)


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