Friday, 30 September 2011

Jane Austen Festival 2011 - Part 2

Part 2 of my Regency adventure :).

On the Monday I started the day with a walking tour entitled 'Shopping, Shopping Shopping'. As the name implies, it was all about shopping in Bath during Jane Austen's time. It was extremely interesting, but sadly I didn't have much time to take any photos. We went all over the place but I have to admit the highlight was going to the original Molland's pastry shop, and then the one used in the 95' Persuasion. Both of which are now clothes shops!!! Sadly I didn't take photos of either Molland's.

I did however manage to get a shot of the original Georgian entrance to the Theatre Royal. I think it is rather beautiful. The entrance that is used now was built in the Victorian era. With the original, your carriage could drive right up to the front door and drop you off. But with the present entrance there is not enough room, you have to alight elsewhere and walk to the entrance!!! I think I prefer the Georgian entrance. :)

In the afternoon I attended a talk on bonnets by the wonderful Serena Dyer of Dressing History. It was really interesting, and afterwards I realised that I previously knew next to nothing about Regency bonnets!!

Serena beautifully dressed as usual. Her Regency hairstyles are always so amazing, I don't know how she does it. My hair never curls it just stays frizzy! :(

Loved this bonnet. It is the same style as one of Miss Lizzie Bennet's in '95 P&P.

Loved this one too. :)

A calash

That evening I attended two events (yes it was rather a busy day - I was exhausted by the end!!). The first one was 'Drawing Room Theatricals' which was hilarious. It consisted of a modern-day retelling of P&P, an audience with the Regency actress Sarah Siddons (in her dressing room before a performance) and two actors performing P&P at a record speed!

The modern Lizzie telling us how she met her future husband, whilst folding laundry! :)

Sarah Siddons

These two ladies sang and played between the acts - very talented.

The second event of the evening was a Q&A with the historian Amanda Vickery!!!!!! I was so excited about this event as I loved her tv series 'Behind Closed Doors: At Home in Georgian England'. It was so surreal and odd seeing her sitting there right in front of me, but wonderful :)

The great historian in person - a bit blurry. My camera seriously dislikes me. :(

The next day was much more relaxing. I only had one event - a reticule making workshop. It was run by a lovely lady called Charlotte "Charlie" Raine (who made my first Regency gown - the pink one), and was a wonderful and relaxing event.

Everyone sitting round sewing, drinking tea, eating chocolate biscuits, and of course gossiping! :)

The Royal Crescent on a lovely sunny morning.

Part 3 will be coming soon. :)

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Jane Austen Festival 2011 - Part 1

On Sunday I arrived home after spending ten days of Regency fabulousness in Bath and Chawton. The Jane Austen Festival runs for 9 days and this year I decided to treat myself and stay for the entire festival, and then went on to Chawton to a ball. It was definitely worth it - not only did I meet some wonderful people, but I also had a fabulous time. I went to events ranging from Regency dancing, reticule making, bonnet talks, Regency breakfasts, to walks of Regency Bath, plays, balls and much more. It was a very tiring ten days, but great fun and I learnt loads!!

On the first Saturday there was the Grand Regency Promenade through the streets of Bath. My friend wasn't taking part so ran round taking loads of photos with my camera. The result being there is many a photo of me looking very strange as I had no idea I was being photographed!! :)

Promenaders outside the Abbey. I am the last white-dressed lady at the back with my parasol.

Getting ready to go...

This is me walking at the start. I love this photo - very cleverly shot! :)

Am not a big fan of purple but I love this lady's riding habit.

A naval officer and his wife walking up Milsom Street.

I love the pink spencer. :)

Soldiers from a Napoleonic reenactment group (I can't remember which one), with the town crier; and two ladies (who every year dress in the most wonderful costumes) who are arm-in-arm with the Jane Austen Centre's meeter and greeter.

Up on the Royal Crescent. The dance group 'Steps in Time' performing a few Georgian and Regency dances. It is usually an all girls group but this year they had one very young Mr Darcy.

Inside the Guildhall at the Regency Country Fayre. Beautiful room but it is always so crowded that you can hardly move. They have giant tables in the centre of the room for promenade-goers to have lunch. They don't remove them after lunch, and the vendors' stalls are squashed to the edge of the room, resulting in what I can only describe as being very similar to Monday mornings at London Victoria train station - it is mayhem. But there are some lovely things to buy. :)

The next day we went to a dance class at the old Theatre Royal in Orchard Street, which is now a Masonic Lodge.

It was good fun but rather cramped as the room was small and there were too many people. It was a bit like Regency dancing bumper cars.

In the evening I went to a concert of eighteenth century music by the 'League of Harmony'. Sadly my friend had left by then as she had to go back to London for work, so I went alone but met some lovely people there. The League is a trio of musicians - a harpist, flutist and cellist. My camera was acting up as usual so I didn't manage to take an un-blurry photo of the cellist!!

There was a group of ladies from Spain who attended the festival this year. They based their costumes on ones seen in Goya's paintings, so dressed as early nineteenth century Spaniards. They had the most amazing costumes, and it really was like Royalty had entered the room when they swept in with their veils and beautiful gowns. On the evening of the concert one of them was wearing a gorgeous pink gown. This was the best photo I could get of it. :)

Stay tuned for part two. :)

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Regency Readers' day

On Saturday 8th October the Romantic Novelists' Association are holding a Regency Readers' Day at the Royal Overseas League in London. It is a celebration of Jane Austen's and Georgette Heyer's novels, as well as the novels that they inspired. Apparently there will be talks on the two authors and their novels, as well as regency dancing, a talk on clothing, a chance to try out games, a walk, and of course afternoon tea. :) It sounds like a fabulous event. There is more info on their website

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Jane Eyre - the newest adaptation

I have just got back from seeing the new film adaptation of 'Jane Eyre' at the cinema. I have to admit that I have never read the book, but I have seen most of the previous adaptions, and the one I saw today was by far the best. Michael Fassbender *dreamy sigh* and Mia Wasikowska are fabulous in their roles as Rochester and Jane, and the costumes, though apparently from the wrong decade- when Jane is at Thornfield they are 1840s (I am not entirely sure when Jane Eyre is set but I think 1840s/1850s), are beautiful though the colours are a bit to dark and dull for my liking.

The only problem I had with it was the ending. It is so abrupt and doesn't show them living their lives together as the 06 version does. I find it so annoying when films just stop suddenly, I like to see the hero and heroine living their happy lives together (cheesy I know :)). Apart from the ending it was fabulous and  is definitely worth seeing.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Pride and Prejudice the Comic Book

When I went to Bath a couple of weeks ago, to see the 'Dressing the Stars' exhibition at the Fashion Museum, I of course had to go and visit the Jane Austen Centre. Whilst perusing the array of Austen related items that the Centre's shop sells, I came across 'Pride and Prejudice' the comic book. I had previously read a blog post on the books impending publication, and distinctly remember vowing never to read it. But somehow I found myself by the till presenting the book and my money to the lady behind the counter.

Well what can I say... there were numerous things about the comic book that seriously annoyed me, and many a time did I have to stop reading for a bit because of them. But now that I have finally finished reading it I have to admit that it is quite fun. It reminds me of the 05 film version - if you pretend that it has nothing to do with Austen and her novels, then it is a sweet romantic story.

The thing that most annoyed me is, that it seems that the illustrator just watched Austen film adaptations and copied the costumes, instead of looking at museum pieces, fashion plates etc.

Here are some stellar examples:

Caroline Bingley 05 P&P


Same as above

Mrs Bennet and her daughters visiting Jane at Netherfield. Very similar to 05 once again.

Lizzie's gown for the Netherfield Ball - 05 again.

Lady Catherine de Bourgh - me thinks comic Catherine is wearing similar gown to Dame Judi

In the comic the gown that Lizzie is wearing looks very similar to one worn by Hattie Morahan in S&S 08.


The spencer and hair ribbon that lizzie wears in this image is almost identical to those worn by Charity Wakefield in S&S 08

Well this I can't fault as Lyme Park will always be Pemberley :)

And here are just some odd bits:

I don't know if it is just me who thinks this, but Jane looks really like Emma Watson/Hermione Granger in this image!!!

Suddenly Jane's blonde hair turns black, though Lizzie's stays the same. odd... 

And here everyone's hair turn's black apart from Mrs Bennet's and Kitty's.

The strangest of all - Georgiana Darcy's hair goes from blonde to red. That's some pretty good regency hair dye!

Mrs Bennet looks like she is wearing red lipstick and nail varnish. It doesn't seem very regency to me. I know make up did exist, but I thought that during the Regency a more natural complexion was prefered.

Lizzie seems to be wearing lipstick as well.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Battle in the Park - Loseley Park, Guildford

Last weekend I went to my first proper re-enactment. I think I said the same thing in my post about the Battleprom, but this was a very proper re-enactment (not sure if that is good English!!), anyway this one had battles, traders and camps. It was a 3 day, multi-period event that was organised by The Sealed Knot (they re-enact the English Civil war and are the oldest and largest historical re-enactment society in the UK), and held at Loseley Park (which I realised after I had left, was used as Barton Park in 2008 version of Sense and Sensibility!) .

I have to admit that I was slightly apprehensive about the whole weekend as I am not a camping person, but I was pleasantly surprised. The tents were large, the portaloos stayed relatively clean throughout the event and all the food was fresh (no horrible 'add water' pasta). Far from having flashbacks of the hideous experience of camping on Duke of Edinburgh Bronze at school, I actually really enjoyed myself.

Apart from The Sealed Knot, there was also Napoelonic French and English groups (I'm a member of an English one, though most members of the French groups are actually English!), and a Vietnam War reenactment society. Every day was pretty much the same - the Napoleonic groups would have a battle and then The Sealed Knot would have an enormous one which went on for a least half and hour, and despite the commentary, it was rather hard to tell who was winning and whose side everyone was was on. I didn't know this before, but apparently each army, whether they were Royalist or Parliamentarian, had their own uniform, and it wasn't until after the Civil War that an official British army was formed and they started wearing the red uniforms that they still wear today (but now only on ceremonial occasions). I also learned that the colour red was chosen as it was the cheapest option!

The Vietnam society didn't really have a battle, unless you can call just continually firing their giant guns at some trees, a battle!

As well as the battles, The Sealed Knot also put on displays of Civil War fine dining, and had traders selling everything you would ever need if you did English Civil War reenacting. Sadly they weren't selling anything Regency as they had no idea that any Napoleonic groups were going to be there. Thought it was interesting to wonder round and see all the items that were for sale.

I spent most of my time talking to the lovely lady who I mentioned in my Battleprom post (her and her husband have been so kind and welcoming), drinking copious amounts of tea, doing my new Jane Austen cross-stitch :) (I wanted to do one that was historically accurate - though regency ladies probably weren't stitching portraits of Jane Austen!) and wandering around the "shops". It was a lovely relaxing weekend, minus the insanely loud cannon fire and constantly stinking of cannon smoke! I am very glad that I went, and look forward to the reenactment season starting again next year.

Here are some photos: They're not great as we couldn't really take photos when the public were around, and once again my camera was misbehaving.

The Sealed Knot on the battlefield 

Our Camp (the British Camp)

The French Camp 

Marie - the really nice lady who I spent most of my time chatting to.

Napoelon's Army on the battlefield

The British on the battlefield

The Sealed Knot display camp

The 95th Rifles (British) on the battlefield

A friend of Marie's who I met 

The Sealed Knot and a lone Frenchmen

The Sealed Knot lining up to enter the battlefield. There were over 1500 of them, and apparently that was a bad turnout!!!!

Cromwell's Cavalry

The Sealed Knot on the battlefield

The Sealed Knot bringing on a cannon

More Sealed Knot

I thought this was really sweet - father and son in civil war costume. :)

I thought this was adorable - people who had children who were really young 0-4, dressed them in full period garb and wheeled them around in these small carts which were lined with sheep's skin. 

Sealed Knot drummers

The back of Loseley Park House - we weren't meant to go near the house as it wasn't opened to the public during the weekend, but I squeezed through a hedge that was separating the camps from the house, and took a few photos. :) Sadly I couldn't get any closer as there was a moat between where I was standing and the lawn!

Oh forgot to mention that there was one Polish Regiment - apparently they fought with the French. Here they are pushing cannons through the camp to the battlefield.

And again

The Vietnam War reenacters driving onto the battle field with their very load automatic gun/cannon thing. As you can tell I am very up on all things weapon-related! lol :)

Another photo of Cromwell's Cavalry

Have found a website which has loads of photos of the event. They were taken by a professional photographer so are very good. There is one photo of the back of me! :) It's of my group sitting round our table talking.