Quote Jane

“There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.” ― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

maandag 15 september 2014

New Bond Street

Bond Street, particularly New Bond Street, was considered to be the most fashionable shopping street in London from the eighteenth century right through the Regency. But all those rooms on the floors above the shops were not just relegated to the dwellings of the shop-keepers. Bond Street was a fashionable residential address and many shop-keepers let some or all of their upper rooms to distinguished lodgers, including Dean Jonathan Swift, George Selwyn, Edward Gibbon, William Pitt the Elder, Henry Fielding, Laurence Sterne, Sir Joshua Reynolds and James Boswell, most of whom lived in Old Bond Street. Some of those who took rooms in New Bond Street include Sir Thomas Lawrence, Sir Walter Scott, Admiral Lord Nelson, and later, in a different house, Lady Emma Hamilton.

Bond Street was certainly the most fashionable shopping area of Regency London. The best dress-makers and tailors, jewellers and boot-makers, tobacconists and haberdashers all had well-appointed shops along that street. However, the overtly masculine atmosphere which prevailed along that street meant that young ladies, certainly gently-bred, unmarried ladies, must always be accompanied by a chaperon and must not be seen in public along that street anytime after mid-day. But keep in mind that mid-day in the Regency did not mean high noon, as we would assume today. Rather, young ladies would be expected to make themselves scarce by four or five o’clock in the afternoon. At that time, they should be strolling or driving through Hyde Park, or on their way home to change for dinner and their evening activities. They should most definitely not be seen strolling along Bond Street for any reason as the dinner hour approached. Mornings (in the Regency, the time between arising and dinner) on Bond Street belonged to the ladies. The remainder of the day on Bond Street belonged to the gentlemen.regencyredingote

One of the most up-market fabric shops were Wilding & Kent at Grafton house on the corner of New Bond Street and Grafton Street. On 17 April 1811 Jane and Manon, Eliza Austen’s maidservant,

‘…took our walk to Grafton House, & I have a good deal to say on that subject. I am sorry to tell you that I am getting very extravagant & spending all my Money; & what is worse for you, I have been spending yours too…’

she told Cassandra. It was a very busy shop and in November 1815 Jane complains of ‘the miseries’ of shopping there and most of her references to it mention an early start and long waits to be served – not that this stopped her going there frequently. janeaustenslondon/london-history

The streets were full of enormous coaches, sometimes gilt, hung on high springs, drawn by four, and even six horses; footmen, to the number of four or six, ran beside them, and the wheels splashed heavily in the dirt described, sending up the mud in black spurts. It was early in the nineteenth century that a new kind of paving was tried, blocks of cast-iron covered with gravel, but this was not a success. Resides the large coaches there were hackney coaches, which would seem to us almost equally clumsy and unwieldy. Omnibuses were not seen in the metropolis until 1823.

Hackney coaches were in severe competition with sedan chairs, for to call a chair was as frequent a custom as to send for a hackney coach. The chairmen were notorious for their incivility, just as the watermen had previously been, and as their successors, the cabmen, became later, though now the reproach is removed from them. These chairs were kept privately by great people, and often were very richly decorated with brocade and plush; it was not an unusual thing for the footmen or chairmen of the owner to be decoyed into a tavern while the chair was stolen for the sake of its valuable furniture. The chairs opened with a lid at the top to enable the occupant to stand up on entrance, and then were shut down; in the caricatures of the day, these lids are represented as open to admit of the lady's enormous feather being left on her head.
Austen werd geboren in Hampshire. Haar vader was een geestelijke. Het grootste deel van haar leven bleef zij in haar geboortestreek. Austen had zes broers en een oudere zuster, Cassandra, met wie zij zeer hecht was. Het enige onbetwiste portret van Jane Austen is een gekleurde schets die door Cassandra werd gemaakt en nu in de National Portrait Gallery in Londen hangt. In 1801 verhuisde de familie naar Bath. In 1802 werd Austen ten huwelijk gevraagd door de rijke Harris Bigg-Wither en zij stemde toe; de volgende dag deelde ze echter mee dat zij haar woord niet kon houden en trok haar instemming in. De reden hiervoor is niet bekend, maar Austen is nooit getrouwd. Na de dood van haar vader in 1805 woonden Jane, haar zuster en haar moeder daar nog verscheidene jaren tot zij in 1809 naar Chawton verhuisden. Hier had haar rijke broer Edward een landgoed met een plattelandshuisje, dat hij aan zijn moeder en zusters schonk (dit huis is tegenwoordig open voor het publiek). Zelfs nadat zij naam gemaakt had als romanschrijfster bleef zij in relatieve stilte leven, maar haar gezondheid ging sterk achteruit. Er wordt nu aangenomen dat zij de ziekte van Addison had, waarvan toen de oorzaak nog onbekend was. Ze reisde naar Winchester om behandeling te zoeken, maar stierf daar en werd begraven in de kathedraal.
Tot Austens beroemdste werk behoort de roman Emma. Het boek wordt vaak aangehaald vanwege de perfectie van vorm. Moderne critici blijven ook nieuwe perspectieven ontdekken op het scherpe commentaar van Austen betreffende de klasse van jonge, ongehuwde, aristocratische Engelse vrouwen in de vroege 19e eeuw.


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Fashion - Regency 1

Edward Austen Leigh wrote down this description of Jane's appearence in the years just after the family left Southampton.

"She was tall and slender; her face was rounded with a clear brunette complexion and bright hazel eyes.

Her curly brown hair escaped all round her forehead, but from the time of her coming to live at Chawton she always wore a cap, except when her nieces had her in London and forbade it."

Henry Austen said of his sister, " Her stature rather exceeded the middle height; her carriage anad deportment were quiet but graceful; her complexion of the finest texture, it might with truth be said that her eloquent blood spoke through her modest cheek." Henry applied these lines to Jane: " Her pure and eloquent blood spake in her cheeks and so distinctly wrought that you had almost said her body thought."

Austen's niece Caroline recollected: "As to my aunt's personal appearance, hers was the first face I can remember thinking pretty. Her face was rather round than long, she had a bright, but not a pink colour—a clear brown complexion, and very good hazel eyes. Her hair, a darkish brown, curled naturally, it was in short curls around her face. She always wore a cap