Georgian England and Ancien Regime Bibliography

1700 to 1790

copyright 1997 by Historical Novelists Center


As usual, check the Atlas of Civilization series for the era, especially The Cultural Atlas of France.

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Aldin, Cecil

The Romance of the Road ***
Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1928; now from Bracken Books, London; 123 pg, no index
A memorium by an excellent illustrator of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Includes a survey of the high roads out of London originally published in 1799. The illustrations tend to concentrate on 1825 or so, but much of the gossip is mid-18th century, so watch yourself. T2

Arnold, James

All Drawn By Horses *****!
Newton Abbott, Long & NY; David & Charles, 1979
Good text with line drawings by the author, and an invaluable 2-page glossary of coach terms. Freight wagons as well as phaetons; in fact, heavier on the wagons, which do all the duty of trucks, while on the streets of old only the richest had the carriages equivalent to cars. T2

B.E., Gentleman

Dictionary of the Canting Crew ****
London, 1698-9
Thieves' cant (a heavily slanged dialect) of the period. T3

Bloch, Ivan

Sexual Life in England, Past & Present *****!
1938; now from Oracle; 664 pgs !!
What had to be privately printed in 1938 can be of general interest now. Despite the title, only covers from the Anglo-Saxon period through the late 1800's, but in a full range, from streetwalkers to the escapades of royalty, from staid marriage arrangements to kinky erotica. T2

Blum, Stella, editor

Eighteenth-Century French Fashion Plates in Full Color ****
Dover Publications, Inc., NY; 79 pg, 64 plates
Full-colour engravings from the Galerie des Modes, 1778-1787. T1

Boucher, Francois

Twenty Thousand Years of Fashion; the History of Costume and Personal Adornment ****
Harry N. Abrams, 1966; 440 pg, index, glossary
Strong in this French-dominated period, nonetheless detailing the differences of dress in other nations. T1

Bray, Peter, editor

Transport Through the Ages **
Taplinger Publishing Co., Inc., NY, 1971; illos by Barbara Brown
Covers a bit of everything, from dugout canoes on. Emphasis on later periods. T1

Brett, Gerard

Dinner is Served ***
Archon Books, Hamden, CN, 1968
British meals of the day and their conduct; Part Two covers 1660 to 1900. T2

Brockett, Oscar G.

History of the Theatre ***
Allyn and Bacon, Inc., 1977
Good university-level text on staging conventions, acting forms, audience behavior, etc. T3

Burney, Frances, a.k.a. Madame d'Arblay

The Famous Miss Burney: The Diaries and Letters of Fanny Burney, edited by Barbara G. Schrank and David J. Supino. ***
The John Day Co., NY, 1976
A native's view of the world, from 1768 to 1840. Known as an author in girlhood, she later married an emigre, thus the two names. T2

Calder-Marshall, Arthur

The Grand Century of the Lady ***
Gordon Cremones, London, 1976
All aspects of the life of an upper-class woman, 1720 to 1820. T2

Chippendale, Thomas

The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker's Director ****
1762; now from Dover
200 engraved plates of what your characters sit on, write on, store in, and sleep in -- or rather under, the lambrequins are so important. Includes 24 photos of surviving Chippendale pieces. This style book was a guide for many cabinetmakers and commonly a wealthy customer walked in and said, "Make me that." T3

Burton, Elizabeth

The Pageant of Georgian England ****
Charles Scribner's Sons, NY, 1967; British title, The Georgians at Home, illos by Felix Kelley
Excellent on medicine, cosmetics, science, food. Watch the dates: much is pre-1752, when England changed its calendar. T2

Chisman, Isabel and Hester Emilie Raven-Hart

Manners and Movement in Costume Plays *****!
H. F. W. Deane & Sons, London, 1934
Gives select dances, as well as how to handle one's sword, fan, walking-stick, and hat. Manners are very different from the 19th century! What you think is right before reading this, is often very wrong. T3

de Barri, Kinsman

The Bucks and Bawds of London Town ***
Leslie Frewin Publishing, Ltd., London, 1974
The less respectable portions of 18th century British Society. T2

Delbrueck, Hans

The Dawn of Modern Warfare: History of the Art of War, volume IV ****
University of Nebraska Press, 1990, trans. Walter J. Renfroe, Jr.; orig. 1923; 487 pg, index
From the late 1400's through the Napoleonic Wars, the most detailed and clearly written exposition of the development, theory, practicality, and organization of armies. T3

Duffy, Christopher

Fire and Stone: The Science of Fortress Warfare, 1660-1860 ****
Hippocrene Books, NY, 1975; now from Greenhill
Well-written, well-illustrated and well-designed, making the theory and practice of Vauban fortifications quite clear. The Fortess Wargame for Miniatures is tactical fun while teaching you how things can work or go wrong. The other appendix, on how to tour old fortifications, is good if you get to make the research trip. T3

Ehrlich, Blake

London on the Thames ***
Little, Brown & Co., NY, 1966
Each chapter tours London at a different period, often in the newest neighborhood of the expanding metropolis. T2


The School of Manners *****!
1701, available in reprint
Though designed for children of the period, it instructs them in approved behavior at home, in school, and at church. Not only are you allowed to have children in your books, we barbarians of the future need a reminder of how decorous things were. T3

Grose, Capt. Frances

1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue; A Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit, and Pickpocket Eloquence ***
Follet Publishing Co.; unnumbered page facsimile of original
Lots of thieves cant, as well as obscene slang that no brother is going to explain to the heroine. Capt. Grose originally brought out his gem in 1785, with further revisions in 1788. He died in 1791, and the 1811 is revised by unknown hands, that have indeed added new meanings. But much of the slang is appropriate here, if this is the only book of period language you can find. However, better, less temporally confused are available. T3

Hale, William Harlan, and the editors of Horizon Magazine

The Horizon Cookbook and Illustrated History of Eating and Drinking Through the Ages ****
American Heritage Publishing, Inc., 1968
Part One has the description of customs and habits, foods available, and some interesting art. Part Two has the tastiest recipes, done for the modern kitchen. Especially hits this period in Part One. T1

Hibbert, Christopher

George IV: Prince of Wales, 1762-1811 ****
Harper & Row, NY, 1975
A detail biography in 22 chapters with references, sources, and index; only 40 illos. T2

London, the Biography of a City ***
William Morrow & Co., Inc., NY, 1969
Runs it all down through time, with good coverage of your period. T2

Hogg, Ian V.

The History of Fortification ***
St. Martin's Press, NY, 1981
Clear, interesting and accurate overview from 7000 BC through the 1970's, well illustrated with photos and diagrams; bibliography and glossary. T2

Hyde, Ralph

A Prospect of Britain ****
224 pg, 13.5" x 11.5"
Panoramic engravings by the Buck Brothers, done throughout England and Wales, the closest you will get to photos of the towns, done 1728 to 1753. T3

Inglis, Brian

Trance: A Natural History of Altered States of Mind ****
Paladin/Grafton Books, London, 1990
A history of animal magnetism, mesmerism, hypnotism, and related phenomena, especially the parts that do not fit materialist scientism. Details the researchers and their studies through this century. T3

Ingraham, Holly

People's Names: A Cross-cultural Reference Guide to the Proper Use of Over 40,000 Personal and Familial Names in Over 100 Cultures *****!
McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, Jefferson, NC; 1997; 613 pgs, index, select annotated bibliography
The Contemporary half will do for all of Europe at this period. Unlike most books this one gives both family names and personal names for men and women. T1

Jarrett, Derek

England in the Age of Hogarth ***
The Viking Press, Inc., NY, 1974
Chapters on child-raising, one on women, and one on the home, all copiously illustrated with Hogarth's work. Good "Suggestions for Further Reading." T1

Kohler, Carl

A History of Costume ****
Dover Publications, Inc., NY
Hand-sized, info-packed, based on surviving clothes first and artwork secondarily. Author's line drawings of construction and detail. Neophytes should use with a picture book, which it will greatly clarify. T1

Laver, James

The Age of Illusion: Manners and Morals 1750 to 1848 ***
D. McKay Company, NY, 1972
How people think and act, as well as how they thought they ought to think and act. T2

Milligan, Jean C.

Introducing Scottish Country Dancing ****
Collins, 1968; 96 pg, index, illos by Irene B. Stewart
When not dancing the minuet, the somewhat similar contra-dance will take its place in later periods or lesser company. T3

also in the series

99 More Scottish Country Dances ***
101 Scottish Country Dances ***

Mitchell, R. J., and M. D. R. Leys

A History of London Life ***
Penguin Books, Inc., NY, 1958
Different areas of the town at different periods. T2

Perouse de Montclos, Jean-Marie

Versailles *****!
Abbeville; 1996; 424 pgs, 400 photos, most color
This is the book we've been hunting for on Versailles! Glorious, grandiouse, resplendent, oversize, and you can keep it next to your chair for reference, which you can't do with a trip (though this is one place so frozen in amber we really recommend one if you can and are set on writing a story set there). T2

Reader's Digest Books, the editors

Reader's Digest Book of the Road ****
Reader's Digest Association, Ltd., London
Identifies the wildflowers, trees, shrubs, birds, wild mammals, butterflies, sea shells, reptiles, fish, and farm animals of the British Isles. Lets you know what blooms in which month, especially useful if you are writing in Taos or Sydney. T3

Richardson, Albert Edward

The Old Inns of England *****!
B. T. Batsford, Ltd., London, 1952, 6th Ed.
Includes a map of the Principal Coaching Routes. Photos of some survivors, with descriptions out of history of how they were run. T2

Salmonson, Jessica Amanda

The Encyclopedia of Amazons: Women Warriors from Antiquity to the Modern Era *****!
Paragon House, NY, 1991; 290 pg, no index, bibliography
This period saw a number of women serving as marines and foot soldiers for the British, usually in drag and secret to begin with, then having proved themselves, being accepted by their comrades. T2

Sands, Mollie

Invitation to Ranelagh, 1742 to 1803 *****!
John Westhouse, Ltd., London, 1946
A history of the public entertainments at the famous gardens, with notes on how fashionable or safe it is at various times. T3

Smith, Charles Saumarez

Eighteenth Century Decoration: Design and Domestic Interiors in England ****
Abrams; 1996, 407 pg, 388 illos
Get a good idea of through what your characters are moving and how it affects their motion (and interacts with their costume) just by enjoying the pictures. Not just the grand manors of the wealthy, but middle-class homes and garrets. T3

Smith, William C., compiler

The Italian Opera and Contemporary Ballet in London 1789 to 1820 ****
The Society for Theatre Research, London; 1955
Lists the operas and ballets performed at King's Theatre by year, with composers and choreographers, performers, dates of performance when known, and bits of reviews and criticism. Has a chart of which peers rented which boxes. T3

Somerset, Anne

Ladies-in-Waiting, from the Tudors to the Present Day ****
Knopf, dist. by Random House, NY; 1984; 341 pg, index, bibliography
Discusses the duties and personalities, how appointments were made, kept, and lost in the English court down the centuries T3

Squire, Geoffrey

Dress and Society, 1560-1970 ***
The Viking Press, Inc., NY, 1974
Actually about fashion 1525 to 1860, with a coda for post-1860. Not the same six pictures, unusual theory tying art, architecture and fashion. T2

Stone, Lawrence

Road to Divorce: England 1530-1987 *****
Oxford University Press, 1990; 459 pg, index
This whole trilogy is a must read. You do not realize how much difference the suffragettes made, or what they fought against, until these books teach you what marriage law used to be. Peels off a lot of romantic gloss. At last, an explanation in detail of why couples elope to Gretna Green! Also secret marriages, Fleet marriages, marriage by avowal. Fascinating tabloid stories, not overly pedantic. T2

by the same author (the rest of the trilogy):

Broken Lives *****!
Uncertain Unions *****!
Family, Sex, and Marriage in England, 1500-1800 *****!
London, 1977; think of this as the compact version, with a slightly earlier edge, less emphasis on law change. T2
with Jeanne C. Fawtier Stone:
An Open Elite? England 1540-1880 *****!
About the landed classes, and social mobility in these periods. T2

Swift, Jonathan

Polite Conversation *****!
London, 1783; reprint 1963
Swift's satirical conversations string together the maximum in slang and catch phrases of the day, showing how long you can talk in this period, being witty and up-to-date, without passing a single bit of information worth the name. In case you are overly concerned with having everyone speak perfect English. T3

Tarr, Laszlo

The History of the Carriage ****
Arco Publishing company, Inc., NY, 1969
A favorite description of how carriages work, therefore telling you why they do not corner like automobiles. T3

Waugh, Norah

Corsets and Crinolines *****!
Theatre Arts Books, 1954
Underpinnings, 1600's to 1925, in period art. T3

The Cut of Men's Clothes 1600-1900 *****!
Theatre Arts Books, 1964
The most fashionable men's dress, in period illustrations, with tailor's patterns, period comments on colours and fabrics, etc. Superb. T3

The Cut of Women's Clothes, 1600 to 1930 *****!
Theatre Arts Books, 1968
The same for women. Both books show fastenings! T3

the Countess of Wilton

The Book of Costume or Annals of Fashion, by a Lady of Rank *****!
1812; 500 pg
Detailing fashionable dress in England and France from the Middle Ages to 1800, this is invaluable for its near contemporaneousness with this whole period. Also covers the folk costume or peasant dress of all Europe, also the Middle East and Asia. T2

Wise, Arthur

The Art and History of Personal Combat *****!
Arma Press, New York Graphic Society Ltd, Greenwich, CN, 1971
Necessary for proper duelling techniques and behaviors, also good on the fencing instructors and salons. T2


Composers in the Classical section to snag are:

Bach, Handel, Hayden, Mozart, Scarlatti, Telemann, Vivaldi; also "The Beggar's Opera" by John Gay (1728)


Watching movies to research your book is a lot like reading novels for the same, except that a good costume movie can show you the people in the costumes and headdresses moving amidst the architecture. Often, you do this best and are influenced least by turning off the sound, putting some period music on the stereo, and just watching without connecting with the plot.

Barry Lyndon ****

Technological advances allowed this to be shot by natural light, including candlelight. Slooooow going, as action-packed as a novel of the period. Turn off the sound, put on some chamber music, watch this with a friend and discuss the details to death. T3

Dangerous Liasons ****

You're writing in this period and you haven't seen this? Gorgeous visuals. T3

On the other hand, there are some good documentaries out there, too.

Salamandre: Chateaux of the Loire ***

The Voyager Company, 1988; laserdisc, 30 min.
Tours eighteen of the chateaux, which may provide you with grounds and interior for one of your settings. T3

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The Alchemy Web Site and Virtual Library ****

"70 megabytes of information on alchemy in all its facets. Divided into over 1300 sections and providing thousands of pages of text, over 1700 images, over 200 complete alchemical texts, extensive bibliographical material on the printed books and manuscripts, numerous articles, introductory and general reference material. There is also a searchable graphics database with 800 images, and a database of alchemy books with 4600 entries and 5 megs of text. It was first launched on 7th May 1995 and new pages are continually being added. There are about 400 people accessing this site each day."

Yes, alchemy was still a going concern. St. Germaine and Cagliostro were both involved in it.

H-GIG Historical Times & Places ***

A thorough-going linksite maintained by the University of California at Riverside, H-GIG sorts by area, by era (ancient, Medieval, early Modern, Modern<yours>, and 20th C), or by topic (military, women, etc.). It's a good place to start a hunt for books and essays online.

The Phrenology Page ***

"Phrenology is the science which studies the relationships between a person's character and the morphology of the skull." Includes a historical overview, definitions of words and concepts, and images with meanings of various characteristics.

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