Regency England Bibliography

1810 to 1830

copyright 1997 by Historical Novelists Center


The Regency Romance is a field unto itself, often rather divorced from the actual, historical behavior as exemplified by the novels of Jane Austen. Still, they're a load of fun, and can't be hurt by a dose of authenticity. You may find a whole new plot twist to set yours apart from the vast mass. As well, people write novels in this period that aren't Regency Romances, and may appreciate the books below.

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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

Ashton, John

Social England: volume I, Under the Regency ****
Word & Downey, 1890; repub. E. P. Publishing Ltd, East Ardsley, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, 1975
Covers a great range of subjects from the creation of the office of Regent to Napoleon's escape from Elba in 1815; many cartoons and caricatures. Volume II, "The Dawn of the Nineteenth Century," covers 1800 to 1810. 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

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. However, only the end enters into this period. Will tell you lots about rakehelly uncles and fathers! T3

Baynton-Williams, A.

Town & City maps of the British Isles: 1800-1855 ****
Studio Press
Beautiful engraved maps for your major centers as they were then. T2

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

Boucher, Francois

Twenty Thousand Years of Fashion; the History of Costume and Personal Adornment ***
Harry N. Abrams, 1966; 440 pg, index, glossary
Fairly good in this period. T1

Braynard, Frank O.

S. S. Savannah: The Elegant Steamship
University of Georgia Press, Athens, GA, 1963; now Dover Publications, Inc., NY; 249 pg, index, bibliography
Just about everything relevant that can be known about the first transatlantic steamship, that sailed from Savannah to England and around the Baltic in 1819. T3

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

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. T3

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. T3

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. What you think is right before reading this, is often very wrong. 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. The West End for ours, of course! T2

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 how many are still in use is a matter of judgement. Base it on how much slang has changed in the last 20 years of your life, and how much thieves will change their cant when it has been long published. 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

Heath, Ernest Gerald

The Grey Goose Wing ***
New York Graphic Society, Greenwich, CN, 1971
Excellent history of the bow; last part Anglocentric, with some coverage of the Turks. The Prince Regent was patron of one of the several "toxophilite" (archery-loving) societies of the day. T2

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

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 Victorian American chapter refers to slightly older practice, but on the whole this period falls through the cracks between the Renaissance and the Nineteenth Century. However, all the proper rules for naming a character from Russia to Spain are available in the Contemporary half, with big pick-lists of personal and family names. 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." T2

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. T1

Margetson, Stella

Regency London ***
Praeger Publishers, Inc., NY, 1971
An emphasis on buildings and architects, and some "happenings" are not as well dated as they ought to be, as the reference to the Four-in-Hand Club is anachronistic and perhaps ought to be the Four Horse Club. Numerous period engravings and prints. T3

Milligan, Jean C.

Introducing Scottish Country Dancing ****
Collins, 1968; 96 pg, index, illos by Irene B. Stewart
At Almacks' until approved for waltes, young ladies can only dance the contra dances -- whence the name country dancing -- which dominate the programme. This refined, toe-pointing style, not the rolling 19th C. rustic form, is what your characters will dance. And until 1814 NO-ONE in polite Society dances the waltz, even at Almacks'. It was only forced through by the insistence of the visiting Czar. T3

also in the series

99 More Scottish Country Dances ***

101 Scottish Country Dances ***
Look for all of these in Scottish shops, the sort that carry all the clan tartans.

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

Moers, Ellen

The Dandy: Brummell to Beerhohm *****!
The Viking Press, Inc., NY, 1960
An absolute must-read! The first seven chapters are in this period, and will give you a fine feeling for exclusivity and ton. T2

Moule, Thomas

The County Maps of Old England *****!
Studio Editions, London; 127 pg
An edited facsimile of Moule's 1830 The English Counties Delineated. Besides the counties, has maps for London, Bath, Boston, Bristol, Plymouth and Devonport, Exford, Cambridge, Isle of Thanet, etc. A lot of things don't exist yet! T3

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. 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


Richmond: Scenes in the Life of a Bow Street Runner *****!
1827, London; now Dover Publications, Inc., NY; 266 pg, 8.5" x 11"
This is how people of the time expected adventures to happen, and how they would have expected other people to act under this sort of stress. Introduction covers the Bow Street system. T2

Rush, Richard

A Residence at the Court of London ****!
833; Century, NY; 239 pg, no index
Walk the halls of power, dine with the mighty, with the American Minister in London from 1817 to 1825. Written from his diaries. 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
In this period, there were many surviving war-women of the Napoleonic wars, however the growing repression in England that led to the Victorian complex, and a lack of British wars, makes this a very dull period.

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. Two and a half chapters in this era. 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! 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

Tarr, Laszlo

The History of the Carriage ****
Arco Publishing Co., Inc., NY, 1969
Favorite description of how carriages work, and a discussion that sheds new light on the term "high-perch phaeton" (tell the truth: most of you wouldn't know what one looked like if it ran over you). T1

Trease, Geoffrey

The Grand Tour ***
Holt, Rinehart, & Winston, NY, 1967
A must for someone taking the Grand Tour, or generally travelling about the Continent. T2

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

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


Classical composers of the period to listen to: Beethoven; Chopin, Mendelssohn, Weber


Do we all know to get the Jane Austen films done since the mid-Eighties? Good. Earlier versions are often visual barbarities, full of anachronisms.

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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.

Regency Fashions *****!

Cathy Decker runs an excellent site with lots of graphics of period fashion plates and surviving garments, 1790-1830. However, as she says she's very busy with her teaching schedule, any requests for info not on the site should be framed as suggestions for additions, rather than asking her to do your research for you.


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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