Friends of the English Regency

Site Last Updated
5 April 2008


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For over thirty years we have been fascinated by the English Regency period, roughly the year 1800. This was the age of Jane Austen and Beau Brummell, when the cut of a man's coat was as important as his politics, and when, incidentally, Brummell offended the Prince Regent by asking "Do you really call that a coat?"

A regent rules a monarchy while the monarch is alive but unable to rule, such as by youth, illness, or absence. England has had only one in modern times, the man who was eventually crowned George IV in 1820. When his father George III began to go mad around 1790, the Prince's star began to rise, so that his era may be thought to begin then, although he was not made Regent until 1811. The Regency writer Jane Austen is a great name in literature. Many of us were first infected by the 20th Century Englishwoman Georgette Heyer, who wrote three dozen novels set in this time, witty, accurate, and delicious.

We have no officers, no organization, and no formal membership, but we do get together once a year for an Annual Assembly -- a Regency word meaning party -- and more often when we like. Period costume is welcome at our affairs, although not required. We have had tastings of Madeira wine and Ping Suey tea, a balloon ascension, card parties, a Rossini concert, and mock duels with swords and with black powder pistols. Also we like to dance.

Regency ballroom dances, as reconstructed by our Choreographer, John Hertz, are charming, and thank Heaven not very difficult. Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven all wrote dance music. Regency dancing has caught on in the oddest places, like science-fiction conventions. Dancing is now our most conspicuous activity, but we do not mind. You are welcome to try it.

Do join us, especially if you're at least reasonably frivolous.

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