Thursday, October 8, 2009

1823 England

For my upcoming release, The Forbidden Chamber, as well as for a Samhain November free-read followup story, I've uncovered a few interesting tidbits while researching England and Scotland in the year 1823. Why 1823? Well, when I decided what time period to set Chamber, I was drawn to the idea of the diorama which depicted many Gothic settings in its heyday.
  1. In 1823, Daguerre opened the first diorama in London's Regent's Park.
  2. In the same year, "Ruins of Holyrood Chapel," a Gothic diorama by Daguerre, opened in Edinburgh. (pictured above)
  3. A diorama was a large theater with landscape paintings, illusions, and tricks to thrill the audiences.
  4. The modern kerosene lamp was created in 1853 by polish inventor Ignacy Łukasiewicz, which is too late for my stories, so I stayed with candles and sconces.
  5. The Regency period is so called because the Prince Regent ruled England when his father, King George III was deemed incompetent in 1811. The period is said to end in 1820 when King George IV came into power. It is sometimes described as extending through George IV and William IV until Queen Victoria came into power in 1837.
  6. King George IV was known for his decadence and his affairs. His preoccupation with epicurean pursuits helped bring about the fashions of the Regency period.
  7. Shockingly, William IV was not known to have had affairs during his nearly 20-year marriage to Queen Adelaide. He did however, before his marriage, live for 20 years with the actress known as Mrs. Jordan. They had 10 children.
  8. White gloves were a sign of status since they soiled so easily.
  9. The high-waisted fashions of the Regency period (Empire waisted gowns) didn't require the classic corset to slim the waistline. Shorter corsets, called "stays" were used.
  10. King George IV was known to have a corset that measured fifty inches.
  11. The Redingote was a mix between a riding coat and a cloak, worn open to reveal the dress underneath. I just like the name Redingote. Neat, isn't it?
  12. The Romantic movement in the arts was in full swing in 1823, which brought many of the Gothic novels which helped inspire Chamber.
  13. Generally claimed as the first Gothic novel, The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole was published in 1764. "The Vampyre" by John William Polidori was first published in 1819. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, first published anonymously in in 1818, then under her name in 1831.


Midnight Moon Cafe said...

Okay, this is freaky, but I like the word Redingote too. Think we should start a group or something? People who like to say Redingote. hehe

Awesome T13, sugar!

Our T13 is up at the Midnight Moon Cafe:

Mary Quast said...

Truely enjoyed your post. I love researching for a story.

Hugs & Happy TT.

Heather said...

Great post! Research can produce such fascinating tidnits. I actually have a 2-in-1 volume of Otranto/Vampyre. Really must unearth that...

Alice Audrey said...

Have you been reading Mr. Al's posts?

Shelley Munro said...

Interesting post. Cripes - Mrs Jordan was busy having children, wasn't she?

Ms Menozzi said...

I can't stop thinking about Mrs Jordan... Dang! LOL!

Interesting stuff - and like most of the other respondents, I love the research phase, too. :)

Happy TT!

cmtorrens said...

Wow, great stuff. What a cool post.

You know, I heard they use to wash coins at nice shops just so the ladies wouldn't soil their white gloves.

One of those weird random facts that suck in my head for some reason. lol.

Happy T13

Ella Drake said...

Redingote, Redingote, Redingote!

Mary, I love research. Sometimes I think a little too much.

Heather, I need to get around to reading Vampyre. Haven't done it yet.

Alice, nope, haven't been reading his posts!

Shelley & Ms Menozzi, yes she had tons of children. And those are the ones on record. She could have had more!

Chris, that's a cool tidbit. Glad you shared it.

Adelle Laudan said...

I'm blissfully happy in research right now, as well. Only my world is filled with Indian chiefs and a Medicine Man lol Great list. Happy T13!

Inez Kelley said...

I did not know most of these. Not my time period but dang, poor Mrs. Jordan.

Cambria Dillon said...

10 children back then? How did she even survive one? Wow. I didn't know a lot of those things. Thanks for sharing!

Jennifer Leeland said...

Ahhhhh research. Good times.
Great information.

Brenda ND said...

Lots of interesting research. Thanks for sharing. Let me know when Forbidden Chamber becomes a paperback. I can't wait and kudos on your latest release.

Alice Audrey said...

A pity since he talks about all this from a wry point of view.

Paige Tyler said...

Interesting facts! Congratulations on your new release!


My TT is at

Elise Logan said...

fabulous list! I love research.

Janice said...

Cool facts, but I thought they used a lamp that ran on whale oil as well as candles?

Happy TT.