Regency era

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Regency era
c.1811 1820
George IV bust1.jpg
Prince George by Lawrence (c.1814)
Preceded by Georgian era
Followed by Victorian era
Monarch(s)
Leader(s) George, Prince Regent [1]
Periods in English history
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Timeline

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.

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Historical sovereign state from 1801 to 1921

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 of the United Kingdom King 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".

Contents

Society

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.

Napoleon 19th century French military leader and politician

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. [2]

George IV of the United Kingdom King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of Hanover

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 (architect) British architect

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.

James Burton (property developer) British businessman and architect

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. [3] The population boom—the population increased from just under a million in 1801 to one and a quarter million by 1820 [3] —created a wild, roiling, volatile, and vibrant scene. According to Robert Southey, the difference between the strata of society was vast indeed:

London Capital of the United Kingdom

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 British poet

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. [4]

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. [5] 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.

<i>The Times</i> British daily compact newspaper owned by News UK

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.

Crime and punishment

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. [6]

Events

1811
George Augustus Frederick, Prince of Wales, [7] began his nine-year tenure as regent and became known as The Prince Regent. This sub-period of the Georgian era began the formal Regency. The Duke of Wellington held off the French at Fuentes d'Onoro and Albuhera in the Peninsular War. The Prince Regent held a fete at 9:00 p.m. June 19, 1811, at Carlton House in celebration of his assumption of the Regency. Luddite uprisings. Glasgow weavers riot.
1812
Prime Minister Spencer Perceval was assassinated in the House of Commons. Final shipment of the Elgin Marbles arrived in England. Sarah Siddons retired from the stage. Shipping and territory disputes started the War of 1812 between the United Kingdom and the United States. The British were victorious over French armies at the Battle of Salamanca. Gas company (Gas Light and Coke Company) founded. Charles Dickens, English writer and social critic of the Victorian era, was born on 7 February 1812.
1813
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen was published. William Hedley's Puffing Billy, an early steam locomotive, ran on smooth rails. Quaker prison reformer Elizabeth Fry started her ministry at Newgate Prison. Robert Southey became Poet Laureate.
1814
Invasion of France by allies led to the Treaty of Paris, ended one of the Napoleonic Wars. Napoleon abdicated and was exiled to Elba. The Duke of Wellington was honoured at Burlington House in London. British soldiers burn the White House. Last River Thames Frost Fair was held, which was the last time the river froze. Gas lighting introduced in London streets.
1815
Napoleon I of France defeated by the Seventh Coalition at the Battle of Waterloo. Napoleon was exiled to St. Helena. The English Corn Laws restricted corn imports. Sir Humphry Davy patented the miners' safety lamp. John Loudon Macadam's road construction method adopted.
1816
Income tax abolished. A "year without a summer" followed a volcanic eruption in Indonesia. Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein . William Cobbett published his newspaper as a pamphlet. The British returned Indonesia to the Dutch. Regent's Canal, London, phase one of construction. Beau Brummell escaped his creditors by fleeing to France.
1817
Antonin Carême created a spectacular feast for the Prince Regent at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton. The death of Princess Charlotte (the Prince Regent's daughter) from complications of childbirth changed obstetrical practices. Elgin Marbles shown at the British Museum. Captain Bligh died.
1818
Queen Charlotte died at Kew. Manchester cotton spinners went on strike. Riot in Stanhope, County Durham between lead miners and the Bishop of Durham's men over Weardale game rights. Piccadilly Circus constructed in London. Frankenstein published. Emily Brontë born.
1819
Peterloo Massacre. Princess Alexandrina Victoria (future Queen Victoria) was christened in Kensington Palace. Ivanhoe by Walter Scott was published. Sir Stamford Raffles, a British administrator, founded Singapore. First steam-propelled vessel (the SS Savannah) crossed the Atlantic and arrived in Liverpool from Savannah, Georgia.
1820
Death of George III and accession of The Prince Regent as George IV. The House of Lords passed a bill to grant George IV a divorce from Queen Caroline, but because of public pressure the bill was dropped. John Constable began work on The Hay Wain . Cato Street Conspiracy failed. Royal Astronomical Society founded. Venus de Milo discovered.

Places

The following is a list of places associated with the Regency era: [8]

Change in Bond Street, James Gillray High-Change-in-Bond-Street-Gillray.jpeg
Change in Bond Street, James Gillray

Important people

Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, Portrait by Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1814 Lord Arthur Wellesley the Duke of Wellington.jpg
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, Portrait by Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1814

For more names see Newman (1997). [18]

Newspapers, pamphlets, and publications

Images

See also

Related Research Articles

Regency dance

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.

Prince regent

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.

Royal Pavilion former royal residence located in Brighton, England

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.

Beau Brummell English man of fashion

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 Queen consort of the United Kingdom as the wife of King George III

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.

Shrubbery

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.

Georgian era period of British history encompassing the years 1714–1830 (or –1837)

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

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 former mansion in London, best known as the town residence of the Prince Regent for several decades from 1783

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.

Regency novel

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 British Army officer, peer and socialite

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.

Timeline of Jane Austen

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.

References

  1. E. B. Pryde (23 February 1996). Handbook of British Chronology. Cambridge University Press. p. 47. ISBN   978-0-521-56350-5.
  2. Parissien, Steven. George IV: Inspiration of the Regency. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2001. p. 117.
  3. 1 2 Low, Donald A. The Regency Underworld. Gloucestershire: Sutton, 1999. p. x.
  4. Smith p. 14.
  5. Morgan, Marjorie. Manners, Morals, and Class in England, 1774–1859. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1994. p. 34.
  6. Joanna Innes and John Styles, "The Crime Wave: Recent Writing on Crime and Criminal Justice in Eighteenth-Century England" Journal of British Studies 25#4 (1986), pp. 380-435 [https://www.jstor.org/stable/175563 online.
  7. "George IV (r. 1820–1830)". The Royal Household. Retrieved 12 April 2015.
  8. Nelson, Alfred L.; Cross, Gilbert B. "The Adelphi Theatre, 1806–1900". Archived from the original on 8 June 2007.
  9. "Attingham Park: History". National Trust. Retrieved 12 April 2015.
  10. "Roman, Regency and really nearby". 14 April 2006 via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  11. StephanieSanders (6 December 2013). "Explore the Regency spa town of Cheltenham". visitengland.com.
  12. "Circulating Libraries, 1801–1825". Library History Database. Archived from the original on 14 April 2008. Retrieved 12 April 2015.
  13. "Jane Austen: Sports". Jane's Bureau of Information. Archived from the original on 9 May 2008. Retrieved 12 April 2015.
  14. 1 2 "Jane Austen: Places". Jane's Bureau of Information. Archived from the original on 8 May 2008. Retrieved 12 April 2015.
  15. 1 2 "Jane Austen: Gardens". Jane's Bureau of Information. Archived from the original on 13 May 2008. Retrieved 12 April 2015.
  16. 1 2 "Jane Austen: Theatre". Jane's Bureau of Information. Archived from the original on 13 May 2008. Retrieved 12 April 2015.
  17. Gerald Newman, ed. (1997). Britain in the Hanoverian Age, 1714-1837: An Encyclopedia. Taylor & Francis. ISBN   9780815303961.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  18. "British Journalists 1750–1820". Spartacus Educational. Retrieved 12 April 2015.
  19. "Newspapers and publishers at dawn of 19th century". Georgian Index. Retrieved 12 April 2015.

Further reading

Crime and punishment

  • Emsley, Clive. Crime and society in England: 1750-1900 (2013).
  • Innes, Joanna and John Styles. "The Crime Wave: Recent Writing on Crime and Criminal Justice in Eighteenth-Century England" Journal of British Studies 25#4 (1986), pp. 380-435 [https://www.jstor.org/stable/175563 online.
  • Low, Donald A. The Regency Underworld. Gloucestershire: Sutton, 1999.
  • Morgan, Gwenda, and Peter Rushton. Rogues, Thieves And the Rule of Law: The Problem Of Law Enforcement In North-East England, 1718-1820 (2005).

Primary sources

  • Simond, Louis. Journal of a tour and residence in Great Britain, during the years 1810 and 1811 online