|c. 1811 –1820|
|Preceded by||Georgian era|
|Followed by||Victorian era|
|Leader(s)||George, Prince Regent|
|Periods in English history|
The Regency in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was a period when King George III was deemed unfit to rule due to his illness and his son ruled as his proxy as Prince Regent. On the death of George III in 1820, the Prince Regent became George IV. The term Regency (or Regency era) can refer to various stretches of time; some are longer than the decade of the formal Regency which lasted from 1811 to 1820. The period from 1795 to 1837, which includes the latter part of the reign of George III and the reigns of his sons George IV and William IV, is sometimes regarded as the Regency era, characterised by distinctive trends in British architecture, literature, fashions, politics, and culture. It ended in 1837 when Queen Victoria succeeded William IV.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was a sovereign state established by the Acts of Union 1800, which merged the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland.
George III was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of the two countries on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death in 1820. He was concurrently Duke and prince-elector of Brunswick-Lüneburg ("Hanover") in the Holy Roman Empire before becoming King of Hanover on 12 October 1814. He was the third British monarch of the House of Hanover, but unlike his two predecessors, he was born in Great Britain, spoke English as his first language, and never visited Hanover.
A regent is a person appointed to govern a state because the monarch is a minor, is absent or is incapacitated. The rule of a regent or regents is called a regency. A regent or regency council may be formed ad hoc or in accordance with a constitutional rule. "Regent" is sometimes a formal title. If the regent is holding his position due to his position in the line of succession, the compound term prince regent is often used; if the regent of a minor is his mother, she is often referred to as "queen regent".
The Regency is noted for its elegance and achievements in the fine arts and architecture. This era encompassed a time of great social, political, and economic change. War was waged with Napoleon and on other fronts, affecting commerce both at home and internationally, as well as politics. Despite the bloodshed and warfare, the Regency was also a period of great refinement and cultural achievement, shaping and altering the societal structure of Britain as a whole.
Napoléon Bonaparte was a French statesman and military leader of Italian descent who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars. He was Emperor of the French as Napoleon I from 1804 until 1814 and again briefly in 1815 during the Hundred Days. Napoleon dominated European and global affairs for more than a decade while leading France against a series of coalitions in the Napoleonic Wars. He won most of these wars and the vast majority of his battles, building a large empire that ruled over much of continental Europe before its final collapse in 1815. He is considered one of the greatest commanders in history, and his wars and campaigns are studied at military schools worldwide. Napoleon's political and cultural legacy has endured as one of the most celebrated and controversial leaders in human history.
One of the greatest patrons of the arts and architecture was the Prince Regent himself (the future George IV). Upper-class society flourished in a sort of mini-Renaissance of culture and refinement. As one of the greatest patrons of the arts, the Prince Regent ordered the costly building and refurbishing of the beautiful and exotic Brighton Pavilion, the ornate Carlton House, as well as many other public works and architecture (see John Nash, James Burton, and Decimus Burton). Naturally, this required dipping into the treasury and the Regent, and later, the King's exuberance often outstripped his pocket, at the people's expense.
George IV was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and King of Hanover following the death of his father, King George III, on 29 January 1820, until his own death ten years later. From 1811 until his accession, he served as Prince Regent during his father's final mental illness.
John Nash was one of the foremost British architects of the Regency and Georgian eras, during which he was responsible for the design, in the neoclassical and picturesque styles, of many important areas of London. His designs were financed by the Prince Regent, and by the era's most successful property developer, James Burton, with whose son Decimus Burton he collaborated extensively. Nash's best-known solo designs are the Royal Pavilion, Brighton, Marble Arch, and Buckingham Palace; his best known collaboration with James Burton is Regent Street; and his best-known collaborations with Decimus Burton are Regent's Park and its terraces and Carlton House Terrace. The majority of his buildings, including those to the design of which the Burtons did not contribute, were built by the company of James Burton.
Lieutenant-Colonel James Burton was the most successful and imperative property developer of Regency and Georgian London. By the time of his death in 1837, Burton had built over 3000 properties, and his buildings covered over 250 acres of central London. His imperative contribution to the development of the West End has been acknowledged by James Manwaring Baines, John Summerson, and Dana Arnold. Steen Eiler Rasmussen, in London: The Unique City, commended Burton's buildings, but did not identify their architect. The 21st century Oxford Dictionary of National Biography contends that Burton were 'the most successful developer in late Georgian London, responsible for some of its most characteristic architecture'.
Society was also considerably stratified. In many ways, there was a dark side to the beauty and fashion in England at this time. In the dingier, less affluent areas of London, thievery, womanising, gambling, the existence of rookeries, and constant drinking ran rampant.The population boom—the population increased from just under a million in 1801 to one and a quarter million by 1820 —created a wild, roiling, volatile, and vibrant scene. According to Robert Southey, the difference between the strata of society was vast indeed:
London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.
A "rookery" is a colloquial English term given in the 18th and 19th centuries to a city slum occupied by poor people and frequently also by criminals and prostitutes. Such areas were overcrowded, with low-quality housing and little or no sanitation. Poorly constructed dwellings, built with multiple storeys and often crammed into any area of open ground, created densely-populated areas of gloomy, narrow streets and alleyways.
Robert Southey was an English poet of the Romantic school, one of the Lake Poets along with William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and England's Poet Laureate for 30 years from 1813 until his death in 1843. Although his fame has been eclipsed by that of Wordsworth and Coleridge, his verse still enjoys some popularity.
The squalor that existed beneath the glamour and gloss of Regency society provided sharp contrast to the Prince Regent's social circle. Poverty was addressed only marginally. The formation of the Regency after the retirement of George III saw the end of a more pious and reserved society, and gave birth of a more frivolous, ostentatious one. This change was influenced by the Regent himself, who was kept entirely removed from the machinations of politics and military exploits. This did nothing to channel his energies in a more positive direction, thereby leaving him with the pursuit of pleasure as his only outlet, as well as his sole form of rebellion against what he saw as disapproval and censure in the form of his father.
Driving these changes was not only money and rebellious pampered youth, but also significant technological advancements. In 1814, The Times adopted steam printing. By this method it could now print 1,100 sheets every hour, not 200 as before—a fivefold increase in production capability and demand.This development brought about the rise of the wildly popular fashionable novels in which publishers spread the stories, rumours, and flaunting of the rich and aristocratic, not so secretly hinting at the specific identity of these individuals. The gap in the hierarchy of society was so great that those of the upper classes could be viewed by those below as wondrous and fantastical fiction, something entirely out of reach yet tangibly there.
The Times is a British daily national newspaper based in London. It began in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register, adopting its current name on 1 January 1788. The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers, since 1981 a subsidiary of News UK, itself wholly owned by News Corp. The Times and The Sunday Times do not share editorial staff, were founded independently, and have only had common ownership since 1967.
Fashionable novels, also called silver-fork novels, were a 19th-century genre of English literature that depicted the lives of the upper class and the aristocracy.
In recent decades historians have used social and cultural history to study crime and criminal justice as a major aspect of social history. Studies of criminality criminal trials, punishment, legislation, and penal reform have focused especially on England, with special attention to London. The issues addressed include the class to mention of how the middle and working classes used the judicial system to their own advantage, even though it was controlled by a small upper-class the influence of the emerging industrial revolution is attracted attention to crime and rapidly growing cities.
The following is a list of places associated with the Regency era:
For more names see Newman (1997).
Regency dance is the term for historical dances of the period ranging roughly from 1790 to 1825. Some feel that the popular use of the term "Regency dance" is not technically correct, as the actual English Regency lasted only from 1811 until 1820. However, the term "Regency" has been used to refer to a much broader period than the historical Regency for a very long time, particularly in areas such as the history of art and architecture, literature, and clothing. This is because there are consistencies of style over this period which make having a single term useful.
A prince regent, or prince-regent, is a prince who rules a monarchy as regent instead of a monarch, e.g., as a result of the Sovereign's incapacity or absence. While the term itself can have the generic meaning and refer to any prince who fills the role of regent, historically it has mainly been used to describe a small number of individual princes who were regents.
The Royal Pavilion, also known as the Brighton Pavilion, is a Grade I listed former royal residence located in Brighton, England. Beginning in 1787, it was built in three stages as a seaside retreat for George, Prince of Wales, who became the Prince Regent in 1811. It is built in the Indo-Saracenic style prevalent in India for most of the 19th century. The current appearance of the Pavilion, with its domes and minarets, is the work of architect John Nash, who extended the building starting in 1815.
George Bryan "Beau" Brummell was an iconic figure in Regency England and for many years the arbiter of men's fashion. At one time he was a close friend of the Prince Regent, the future King George IV, but after the two quarrelled, and Brummell got into debt, he had to take refuge in France. Eventually he died shabby and insane in Caen.
Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was the wife of King George III. She served as Queen of Great Britain and Queen of Ireland from her wedding in 1761 until the union of the two kingdoms in 1801, after which she was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until her death in 1818. She was also the Electress of Hanover in the Holy Roman Empire until the promotion of her husband to King of Hanover on 12 October 1814, after which she was also queen consort of Hanover.
A shrubbery is a wide border to a garden where shrubs are thickly planted, or a similar larger area with a path winding through it. A singular shrub is also known as a bush.
The Georgian era is a period in British history from 1714 to c. 1830–37, named after the Hanoverian kings George I, George II, George III and George IV. The sub-period that is the Regency era is defined by the regency of George IV as Prince of Wales during the illness of his father George III. The definition of the Georgian era is often extended to include the relatively short reign of William IV, which ended with his death in 1837.
Regency architecture encompasses classical buildings built in the United Kingdom during the Regency era in the early 19th century when George IV was Prince Regent, and also to earlier and later buildings following the same style. The period coincides with the Biedermeier style in the German-speaking lands, Federal style in the United States and the French Empire style. Regency style is also applied to interior design and decorative arts of the period, typified by elegant furniture and vertically striped wallpaper, and to styles of clothing; for men, as typified by the dandy Beau Brummell, for women the Empire silhouette.
The Regency Acts are Acts of the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed at various times, to provide a regent in the event of the reigning monarch being incapacitated or a minor. Prior to 1937, Regency Acts were passed only when necessary to deal with a specific situation. In 1937, the Regency Act 1937 made general provision for a regent, and established the office of Counsellor of State, several of whom would act on the monarch's behalf when the monarch was temporarily absent from the realm. This Act forms the main law relating to regency in the United Kingdom today.
Carlton House was a mansion in London, best known as the town residence of the Prince Regent for several decades from 1783. It faced the south side of Pall Mall, and its gardens abutted St. James's Park in the St James's district of London. The location of the house, now replaced by Carlton House Terrace, was a main reason for the creation of John Nash's ceremonial route from St James's to Regent's Park via Regent Street, Portland Place and Park Square: Lower Regent Street and Waterloo Place were originally laid out to form the approach to its front entrance.
The Regency period in the United Kingdom is the period between 1811 and 1820, when King George III was deemed unfit to rule and his son, later George IV, was instated to be his proxy as Prince Regent. It was a decade of particular manners and fashions, and overlaps with the Napoleonic period in Europe.
Events from the year 1811 in the United Kingdom. This is a census year and the start of the British Regency.
Events from the year 1820 in the United Kingdom. This year sees a change of monarch after a nine-year Regency.
William Arden, 2nd Baron Alvanley was a British Army officer, peer and socialite, who was one of a close circle of young men surrounding the Prince Regent.
Jane Austen lived her entire life as part of a family located socially and economically on the lower fringes of the English gentry. The Rev. George Austen and Cassandra Leigh, Jane Austen's parents, lived in Steventon, Hampshire, where Rev. Austen was the rector of the Anglican parish from 1765 until 1801. Jane Austen's immediate family was large and close-knit. She had six brothers—James, George, Charles, Francis, Henry, and Edward—and a beloved older sister, Cassandra. Austen's brother Edward was adopted by Thomas and Elizabeth Knight and eventually inherited their estates at Godmersham, Kent, and Chawton, Hampshire. In 1801, Rev. Austen retired from the ministry and moved his family to Bath, Somerset. He died in 1805 and for the next four years, Jane, Cassandra, and their mother lived first in rented quarters and then in Southampton where they shared a house with Frank Austen's family. During these unsettled years, they spent much time visiting various branches of the family. In 1809, Jane, Cassandra, and their mother moved permanently into a large "cottage" in Chawton village that was part of Edward's nearby estate. Austen lived at Chawton until she moved to Winchester for medical treatment shortly before her death in 1817.
George IV of the United Kingdom has been depicted many times in popular culture.