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Life in Regency and Early Victorian Times

An Account of the Days of Brummell and d'Orsay 1800-1850

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Title: Life in Regency and Early Victorian Times; an Account of the Days of Brummell and d'Orsay 1800-1850

Author: E. Beresford Chancellor, M.A., F.S.A.

First published 1926 in country by B. T. Batsford, Ltd., London. This edition reprinted in 1927 and 1933. Paperback edition published 2007 by Jeremy Mills Publishing

ISBN: (2007 edition) 1905217781, 978-1905217786

210 pages, 1 color and 80 b/w plates; illustrated throughout with line drawings.

Excerpt (Chapter 1):

It is easier to reconstitute the outward appearance of the London of the first half of the 19th century, although its constant architectural changes makes this no light task, then to present a picture of the life of the streets during such a time of evolution. So many marked differences occurred between the manners and the customs of the citizens of the early years of the new century and the later, that one finds it well-nigh impossible to realize we are dealing with the same people who in 1800, wore buckskin breeches, large brimmed round hats, and long-tailed, deep-collared coats; and who in 1840, sported trousers and overcoats and hats, not markedly dissimilar to those now in fashion. If you take a picture by Rowlandson or a caricature by Gilray and compare it with, say, the figures in one of Phiz's illustrations of contemporary novels or one of Boys' beautiful views of London, you will see at a glance what a change had come over the dress and appearance of the male sex during the first half of the 19th century. The mere man hesitates to enlarge on ladies apparel, not only because it is a vast and complicated subject, but also because of the vagaries of fashion are so responsible for a throw-back to earlier modes, that dates do not always accurately show development in this direction; but a glance at the accompanying fashion plate will afford a comparative idea of the essential changes that took place during the period.


If you enjoy Georgette Heyer’s books you will without doubt like the writing style of Beresford Chancellor. It is my personal opinion this book, as well as his The XVIIIth Century in London, were the starting point of her historical research. Naturally over time she expanded on it but, even today, these two books are not a bad beginning to getting a grasp of the Georgian era.

Chancellor's books are a fascinating mix of general history, interspersed with personal vignettes of the most interesting people in politics, society and the arts; architecture and style; as well as brief excursions into the fashions, manners and mores of those times. Although first published in 1926, the writing style is quite modern, accessible and simply fun reads.

Lavishly illustrated with black and white line drawing, and more than 80 pages of plates, depicting places, people and fashions, as well as reproductions of many caricatures of the day, it is indeed a great introduction to the Regency era. I warmly recommend it.


    Note of Acknowledgment
  1. General Aspects of London
    (i) Manners and Modes
    (ii) "Stucco and Paint"
  2. The Reign of the Dandies
  3. Social Centres
  4. Gaming and Gamesters
  5. Art and Literature
    (i) Art
    (ii) Literature
    (iii) Music
    (iv) The Theater
  6. Funs and Frolic
    Health Resorts

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