The Wedding!

The Kiss!

[Image from]

See more pictures at the British Monarchy Flickr photostream, and more of everything at the offical wedding website.

Royal Wedding Dresses at Kensington Palace

From the BBC News website:

To celebrate the marriage of Prince William and Kate, Kensington Palace has brought out six sumptuous gowns – seldom seen by the public – all worn by royal brides over the past 200 years.

Take a look with Senior Curator Joanna Marschner, and see how fashions changed through the decades.

[Image: Princess Margaret’s wedding dress, 1960, from the Kensington Palace website]

Watch the slideshow with close-up detail of the dresses here at Kensington Palace:

 or here at the BBC News


[Image: Princess Charlotte’s 1816 wedding dress at Kensington Palace; on right, the wedding dress of Princess Alexandra of Denmark in 1863]

Copyright @2100 by Deb Barnum of Jane Austen in Vermont

Coming Soon to Your Mailbox! ~ Jane Austen’s Regency World Magazine Issue 51

The May/June 2011 issue [ Number 51] of Jane Austen’s Regency World magazine is now on sale and has been mailed to subscribers.

In the new issue: 

  • Americans in Bath ~ Celebrating 50 years of the American Museum in Britain
  •  Battle Wounds and Bedlam ~ Living with illness in Georgian times 
  •  Loitering with James ~ Maggie Lane asks if Jane Austen helped her brother with his periodical, The Loiterer
  •  Amanda Vickery Interview ~ Meet the academic who has brought the Georgians to life on TV
  •  Correspondence Culture ~ Kelly M McDonald* on the art of letter writing
  •  Our Chawton Home ~ Louise West on her plans for Jane Austen’s House Museum
  •  Fantastic Ferens ~ The Canaletto on display in the Ferens Gallery, Hull

Plus: All the latest news from the world of Jane Austen, as well as Letters, Book Reviews, the always difficult Quiz, a Competition,  and Jottings from JAS and JASNA.

For further information, and to subscribe, visit:

*We are very pleased to see that our very own JASNA-Vermont member Kelly McDonald has another article in JARW – congratulations Kelly! You can follow Kelly on her blog Two Teens in the Time of Austen.

Copyright @2011 by Deb Barnum, of Jane Austen in Vermont

Your Austen Library ~ ‘A Jane Austen Education’


In A Jane Austen Education, Austen scholar William Deresiewicz turns to the author’s novels to reveal the remarkable life lessons hidden within. With humor and candor, Deresiewicz employs his own experiences to demonstrate the enduring power of Austen’s teachings. Progressing from his days as an immature student to a happily married man, Deresiewicz’s A Jane Austen Education is the story of one man’s discovery of the world outside himself.

A self-styled intellectual rebel dedicated to writers such as James Joyce and Joseph Conrad, Deresiewicz never thought Austen’s novels would have anything to offer him. But when he was assigned to read Emma as a graduate student at Columbia, something extraordinary happened. Austen’s devotion to the everyday, and her belief in the value of ordinary lives, ignited something in Deresiewicz. He began viewing the world through Austen’s eyes and treating those around him as generously as Austen treated her characters. Along the way, Deresiewicz was amazed to discover that the people in his life developed the depth and richness of literary characters-that his own life had suddenly acquired all the fascination of a novel. His real education had finally begun.

Weaving his own story-and Austen’s-around the ones her novels tell, Deresiewicz shows how her books are both about education and themselves an education. Her heroines learn about friendship and feeling, staying young and being good, and, of course, love. As they grow up, they learn lessons that are imparted to Austen’s reader, who learns and grows by their sides.

A Jane Austen Education is a testament to the transformative power of literature, a celebration of Austen’s mastery, and a joy to read. Whether for a newcomer to Austen or a lifelong devotee, Deresiewicz brings fresh insights to the novelist and her beloved works. Ultimately, Austen’s world becomes indelibly entwined with our own, showing the relevance of her message and the triumph of her vision.

A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter

ISBN 9781594202889
272 pages
Release date: 28 Apr 2011
The Penguin Press:  available in hardover for $25.95;  ebook / adobe reader for $12.99

About the author:   

William Deresiewicz was an associate professor of English at Yale University until 2008 and is a widely published literary critic who writes for a popular audience. His reviews and criticism regularly appear in The New Republic, The Nation, The American Scholar, the London Review of Books, and The New York Times. In 2008 he was nominated for a National Magazine Award for reviews and criticism.

Text From the  publisher’s website:  Penguin Press

Deresiewicz also authored Jane Austen and the Romantic Poets  (Columbia UP, 2005)

He will be conducting a blog tour as follows:  info from TLC Book Tours]

Copyright @2011 by Deb Barnum, at Jane Austen in Vermont

Happy Easter!

[Vintage Postcard from my collection]

Hope your day is filled with Love, Jane Austen, and Chocolate!

Copyright @2011, by Deb Barnum of Jane Austen  in Vermont

Follow Friday [a day early!] ~ Regency

Regency Dancing was how young ladies and young gentlemen met and courted, and the dance floor was often the only place they could talk without being overheard by their chaperones. As was to be expected, the dancing was lively and flirtateous. The dancing needs to be accurate and elegant, but always remember that it is also about love and young people having fun.

A lovely email from a Gentleman in England alerted me to this new website on Regency Dances [ ]. 

From his email:

Launched in January, the site is a free learning resource for Regency Dances. As well as providing dance notations, the dances are shown as animations.  This combination of watching the animation while following the notation has been found to be an excellent way of quickly understanding the structure of a dance.  The dances are taken from original 18th -19th century sources and written into modern notation by experienced dancers under the watchful eye of a recognised international expert. 

Two or three new dances are added each week.  To keep informed you can “follow” them on Twitter at

The objective of is to create an international shared website resource independent of any specific dance group for (a) sharing genuine Regency dances of known provenance, (b) sharing news of upcoming Regency balls, and (c) sharing information about other Regency groups. 

The site includes a history of the dances, the various dance steps presented in animations, lists of dances and music sources, plans on how to organize a Regency party, a listing of various societies and upcoming events, and a very informative section on “What to Wear” which includes the details of the era fashions and how to locate or make your very own costume.

Please visit the site if you have any interest in the dance of Jane Austen’s period – new information is being constantly added, and the site editors are “looking for sources of recorded music that we may use, videos of single dances to be selected as examples of ‘good practice’ and a few more editors.”

If you are a member of a Regency dance group, certainly add your name and events to their growing list.

[Image: Regency Dances website]

Copyright @2011 by Deb Barnum of Jane Austen in Vermont.

Royal School of Needlework

I happened to catch this on CBS’s Sunday Morning while trekking on my tredmill – a very nice piece on the Royal School of Needlework, located in the Hampton Court Palace:

The RSN is the international centre for teaching, practicing and promoting hand embroidery across a wide range of techniques.

We offer hand embroidery courses for all levels; conservation and restoration of historic needlework or creation of new embroideries in our Studio; tours to see some of our needlework Collection and more. [you can schedule private tours to see pieces in the collection that are not viewable to the general public]

There are various books offered in the shop – here are two examples:


You can order the whitework sampler kit celebrating the upcoming royal wedding of William and Kate for £30:

You can view the CBS video here:

[Hampton Court Palace:  image from Evan Evans Tours]

Embroidery images from the RSN website; you can join their Facebook page here:

Copyright @2011 by Deb Barnum at Jane Austen in Vermont

Regency England at the Huntington Library

The Huntington Library is hosting an exhibit “Revisiting the Regency: England, 1811-1820” from April 23 – August 1, 2011:

A new exhibition takes a closer look at a glittering yet turbulent era.  In October of 1810, England’s King George III slipped into that final madness from which only death would release him, nearly a decade later. The following February, Parliament authorized the king’s estranged and profligate eldest son, the Prince of Wales (the future George IV), to rule in his place as regent. Extravagant, emotional, controversial, and self-indulgent, the prince regent lent his name and many of his characteristics to a glittering era. 

In commemoration of the 200th anniversary of this extraordinary decade, The Huntington presents an exhibition titled “Revisiting the Regency: England, 1811–1820.” Opening April 23 in the West Hall of the Library and continuing through Aug. 1, the exhibition draws on The Huntington’s extensive holdings of rare books, manuscripts, prints, and drawings documenting this historic era.

The term “Regency England” usually evokes Jane Austen’s world of graceful country-house living and decorous village society, the elegance of London’s fashionable elite, or the licentious activities of the prince and his aristocratic Carlton House set. Ladies followed the latest fashions in La Belle Assemblée while gentlemen copied Beau Brummell’s severe elegance. Readers found new works by a generation of England’s greatest poets and novelists: Austen, Lord Byron, John Keats, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Sir Walter Scott. Londoners enjoyed a rich theatrical and musical life, watching Edmund Kean’s premiere in Richard III or hearing the first English production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Art lovers followed the latest exhibits at the Royal Academy. Under the prince’s patronage, architect John Nash created the fantasy Royal Pavilion at Brighton and remade London’s West End with the new developments of Regent’s Park and Regent Street.

Yet underneath this ordered upper-class surface lay a far more complex and turbulent world: more than a century of intermittent war with France ended at Waterloo, but peace revealed wrenching poverty, social unrest, the strains of rapid industrialization, and growing calls for political reform. The first railroads, gas lighting, and other advances in technology altered the landscape of everyday life.

This rich cavalcade of people and events provided irresistible targets for a brilliant generation of visual satirists. The witty, savage, and iconic images of George Cruikshank and his fellow caricaturists, well represented in the exhibition, capture all the vagaries of an extraordinary decade in English arts, letters, science, and society.

[Text and images from the Huntington Library website]

Copyright @2011, by Deb Barnum of Jane Austen in Vermont

Regency Life ~ Savannah Style

The Owens-Thomas House in Savannah, Georgia is considered by architectural historians to be one of the finest examples of English Regency architecture in America. Inspired by classical antiquity, this style of architecture takes its name from England’s King George IV, who ruled as Prince Regent from 1811 to 1820.

The house was designed by the young English architect William Jay (1792-1837), one of the first professionally-trained architects practicing in the United States. The elegant residence was built from 1816-1819 for cotton merchant and banker Richard Richardson and his wife Francis Bolton. Mr. Richardson’s brother-in-law was married to Ann Jay, the architect’s sister.

Three years after the house’s completion, Richardson suffered financial losses and sold his house, which later came under possession of the Bank of the United States. For eight years, Mrs. Mary Maxwell ran an elegant lodging house in the structure. Revolutionary War hero Marquis de Lafayette was a guest of the city in 1825 and stayed at the home. On March 19, he is believed to have addressed a throng of enthusiastic Savannahians from the unusual cast-iron veranda on the south facade.

In 1830, planter, congressman, lawyer, and mayor of Savannah, George Welshman Owens, purchased the property for $10,000. It remained in the Owens family until 1951 when Miss Margaret Thomas, George Owens’ granddaughter, bequeathed it to the Telfair Museum of Art.

A National Historic Landmark, the stately former residence is now a historic house museum. It boasts a decorative arts collection comprised primarily of Owens family furnishings, along with American and European objects dating from 1750-1830. The site also includes a beautiful English-inspired parterre garden and an original carriage house—which contains one of the earliest intact urban slave quarters in the South.

[From the website]

Elevation - LOC

Floor Plans - LOC


Exterior 1934 - LOC

I had the fortune to visit the House last fall – I am just getting to posting these pictures!  Unfortunately, no pictures are permitted inside the house, so I only have several exterior and garden shots.  The Museum publishes an illustrated guidebook which does contain interior views. If you want to get an idea of what Regency life in America was like during Austen’s lifetime, I highly recommend a visit if you are in the area.

Further Reading:

A Look at Life In Miniature

You must look in on this online exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History: The Miniature World of Faith Bradford

Faith Bradford Dollhouse

The scale of this 23-room house is one inch to one foot, accommodating the miniatures that Faith Bradford (1880–1970) played with as a girl and collected as an adult. She imagined the dwelling as the turn-of-the century household of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Doll, their ten children, two visiting grandparents, five servants, and twenty pets.

You can select from the “Additional Pages” drop down menu and take a tour through the various floors of rooms.


You can also visit the online exhibition of the Thorne Miniature Rooms at the Art Institute of Chicago:

Thorne Miniature


The 68 Thorne Miniature Rooms enable one to glimpse elements of European interiors from the late 13th century to the 1930s and American furnishings from the 17th century to the 1930s. Painstakingly constructed on a scale of one inch to one foot, these fascinating models were conceived by Mrs. James Ward Thorne of Chicago and constructed between 1932 and 1940 by master craftsmen according to her specifications.


So you may wonder how this may tie in with Jane Austen? – I want to share with you the pictures of the amazing miniature collection of a good friend of mine – she gives me permission to post these, just no names  or location – but at the end you will see the Jane connection ~ enjoy the tour!

The Library

[Note the third shelf down on the right!]

And now for our Hero:

Captain Wentworth's cabin ~ or Jack Aubrey's?


Patrick O’Brian’s Post Captain, his tribute to Jane Austen – now does that JA stand for Jack Aubrey or is it indeed Jane Austen that O’Brian named his Hero after?

Thank you, good buddy, for letting me into your sanctuary of miniatures!

Copyright @2011, by Deb Barnum, at Jane Austen in Vermont