Looking Well to the Ways of our Households, by Susan Karsten

An aspect of the Regency that is so different from today were the menus. Granted, we read much more about the meals of the wealthy than the poor, but it gets me thinking about managing the meals in one of those grand homes.

Just for fun, I have a passage for you from the The Poor Relation, by Marion Chesney, published in 1984. It gives us a taste of the type of menu expected for breakfast at a country house party:

“Amaryllis walked over to the sideboard, which was laden with cold joints, collared and potted, meats, cold game, veal and ham pies, game and rumpsteak pies, and dishes of mackerel, whiting, herring, dried haddock, mutton chops, rump steak, broiled sheep’s kidneys, sausages, bacon, and eggs.”

One more thing to be thankful for is that we don’t have to plan or prepare meals like this!

If you’ve read even a few Regencies, you’ll have come across the concept of young ladies being prepared for the marriage market. One way they prepared was by learning to run a large home and its staff of servants. Many rules operated in this arena, and the young lady had to master them all.

Today, we have other things to master, such as shopping, cooking meals, cleaning (oh, where are those servants?) and possibly gardening, a home business, home education and more. God still equips his saints and doesn’t give them more than they can handle, with or without servants. The following proverb applied then and does today:

She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Proverbs 31:27

It’s always amazing when we notice how God’s word is so timeless!

 

Originally posted 2012-08-17 10:00:00.

Interview and a Give-A-Way with Author Jamie Carie

Regency Reflections Welcomes Author Jamie Carie

We are so thrilled to welcome author Jamie Carie to Regency Reflections! Jamie, the author of the Forgotten Castles series, has stopped by to tell us a little bit about her upcoming release, A Duke’s Promise, which will be available September 1st.

Jamie is kindly offering a free book (Paperback or Kindle download) to one lucky visitor!  For your chance to win a book from the Forgotten Castles series, leave a comment on this post.

1. Tell us a bit about the inspiration behind your Forgotten Castles series.

It started with the idea of doing something similar to my second book, The Duchess and the Dragon, but with a Regency spin. I love writing about royalty from that time period! I also knew I wanted something adventurous with a mystery to solve. Then the characters took over, which is the best part.

2. Setting plays a very important role in this series.  Can you tell us what drew you to using castles in your setting, and more specifically, how you tied the setting to the time period?

I had the idea of three I’s – Ireland, Iceland and Italy as the settings. Each book takes place in one of those countries and features tucked away, crumpling and forgotten or fairy-tale like castles. I had a moments panic when I discovered that Iceland doesn’t have any actual castles but then I discovered the Dimmuborgir, black lava formations that look enough like a castle that they are called the Black Castles of Iceland. It was perfect for a creepy scene!

How I tied the setting to the time period? Having Alexandria grow up on a very secluded island in an old, crumpling castle gave me more leeway with her behavior in Regency England. She couldn’t be expected to be quite so strict in her role as a woman of that time because she was never taught the rules of society and hadn’t lived among the elite until she meets her guardian, the duke, and lives for a time in London. It was fun to see how she changed and grew over the course of the three books.

3. The book covers in the Forgotten Castle series are stunning.  Can you tell us about the design process?

Thank you!! I have to give all the credit for the gorgeous covers to Diana Lawrence, Art Director at B&H Publishing. Diana always gets the “feel” of my books and carries it so well to the cover designs. I only consult and there were very few changes that I recommended. Here’s the link to the making of the first cover – The Guardian Duke.

4. Tell us a bit about your upcoming release, A Duke’s Promise.

I am so excited to have A Duke’s Promise come out in September! God gave me an ending that took my breath away, tying up all the details and answering all the questions that are raised in the first two books. I can’t give anything away, so here is the back of the book blurb:

From the Land of Fire and Ice back to England’s shores, Alexandria Featherstone finds herself the new Duchess of St. Easton. Her husband has promised a wedding trip to take them to the place where her imperiled parents were last seen — Italy and the marble caves of Carrara — but a powerful Italian duke plots against Alex and her treasure-hunting parents.
Hoping to save them, Alex and Gabriel travel to Italy by balloon. Fraught with danger on all sides and pressured by Gabriel’s affliction to the breaking point, they must learn to work and fight together. The mysterious key is within their grasp, but they have yet to recognize it. This journey will require steadfast faith in God and each other — a risk that will win them everything they want or lose them everything they have.

5. You have an amazing ability to weave the details of everyday Regency life into your novels.  If you had to pick, what would you say is your favorite aspect of Regency life?

I love the gallantry of the men of that day and age. Men (the good ones at least!) were very protecting toward their mothers, sisters, wives and daughters. Gabriel, the duke who is Alexandria’s guardian, takes very good care of his family (even though some members drive him bonkers). He treats Alexandria like a princess. I love how he loves her – tender, sweet, hot, completely besotted but not a dolt – sigh! I think he is my favorite hero to date!

6. What do you think is the biggest challenge of writing a Regency?

Probably getting the “feel” (the cadence of the language and dialog, the perspectives of the characters, etc.) of the time period. I suggest reading lots of Regencies and absorb the tone before trying to write one.

7. Do you have a favorite Regency author?

I grew up reading Georgette Heyer which probably started my love of romance novels. Also Amanda Quick, Julia Quinn, Judith McNaught and LOVE Laura Kinsale!

8. Tell us a bit more about you.  

I’m a preacher’s daughter. I grew up in Vincennes, Indiana and my entire childhood was immersed in the Charismatic movement with Bible teachers like Derek Prince, Kenneth Copeland and many others sounding by cassette tape in the background. This upbringing was both wildly crazy when it came to some of the error of that movement but also deeply theological and Bible based. I’ve had a lot to sort out as an adult, I can tell you! I think God has used all this in my writing and I’ve learned to be thankful for it and proceed with the faith that He can make beauty from ashes. Here’s my short bio:

Born and raised in Vincennes, Indiana, Jamie is the daughter of a preacher man. Road trips with her dad—to and from Bible studies across Indiana—were filled with talks of things beyond earth’s bounds – creation and the fall, God and Jesus and the rapture, the earthly walk compared to the spiritual walk, and how we are born for more than what we can see or touch.

The highlight of those nights was stopping at a truck stop in the middle of the night where her dad would spend a little of the offering basket on two slices of pie and a couple of Cokes. Nothing ever felt so special as a middle of the night slice of pie with her dad. And nothing could stop the writing pouring out of her.

Piles of poems, short stories, skits and song lyrics later, Jamie grew up and married. When her eldest son turned five she decided to try her hand at novels. Snow Angel was published and won the USA Book News “Best Books 2007” Awards winner, and 2008 RITA Awards® Best First Book finalist. Her third book, Wind Dancer, won Best Books of Indiana in 2010.

Jamie and Tony have been married for twenty-four years and live in Indianapolis with their three sons, a giant of a dog named Leo, and their new addition – a half Siamese/half Snow Shoe kitten named Luna.

If she could only say one thing to her readers it would be, “Live the dreams God has destined you for!”

9. How can readers connect with you to learn more about your other projects or get in touch with you?

Website: www.jamiecarie.com
Blog: http://jamiecarie.com/blog
Facebook: http:www.facebook.com/jamie.carie?ref=profile
The Forgotten Castles series FB Pagefacebook.com/ForgottenCastles
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/#!/jamiecarie
Email: jamie@jamiecarie.com

10. One last question:   Pride & Prejudice or Sense & Sensibility?

Pride and Prejudice! I’ve seen the movie at least a dozen times. I love Sense and Sensibility and Emma too though. Now, you’ve done it!! I’m going to be craving some Jane Austen and have to squeeze that into my schedule!

Thanks again to Jamie Carie for stopping by and sharing her story. Be sure to leave a comment to be entered it the giveaway for the winner’s choice of a book in the Forgotten Castles series!

Originally posted 2012-08-15 10:00:00.

Bride Cakes

The multi-tiered extravaganzas with frosting flowers and sometimes fanciful designs we now associate with wedding cakes are a Victorian invention, as are most of our modern wedding customs. That does not mean, however, that wedding cakes did not exist before Victoria and Albert’s 300 pound confection.

Cake at a wedding dates back at least to Roman times when a cake of wheat or barley was partially eaten by the groom, then broken over the bride’s head, followed by the crumbs being tossed into the crowd. This represented prosperity and fertility and good fortune.

In various forms, the custom continued through the middle ages and into our time of the Regency. Some evolutions took place along the way. Wheat poured onto the bride’s head replaced the cake breaking, though some evidence reports that an oat cake was broken over the bride’s head in Scottish weddings well into the nineteenth century.

In the Regency, bride cakes ranged from what sounds like what we recognize as fruit cake such as those passed around at Christmas, though much, much larger, to flour cakes stacked and held together with icing.

Stacking cakes was a more modern form of the “stack” a pile of wheat rolls piled high to represent prosperity over which the bride and groom kissed. Cakes replaced the rolls, but piling them together created the problem of keeping them piled, making sure they did not crumble away, and keeping them from going stale. Frosting them together seemed like a natural way to solve this problem.

Not too long before the Regency, bride pies became the custom. This was a savory, not a sweet pie. A glass ring was baked into this pastry, and the lady who received the piece with the ring was sure to wed within the next year, rather like the ring in a Christmas pudding.

Many cake customs had not died by the Regency. One that seems to have survived was the cutting the cake into small pieces to distribute through the guests. Young women took their pieces home to lay beneath their pillow. They thought this would help them dream of the men they would marry. Other brides carried this further and the piece of cake had to be drawn through the wedding ring as many as nine times before it would reveal the recipient’s future spouse.

Here is a recipe for bride cake from an 1818 housekeeping book by Elizabeth Raffald.
(Note: I have changed the s that look like f to a modern s for ease of reading.)

To make a Bride Cake.

TAKE four pounds of fine flour well dried, four pounds of fresh butter, two pounds of loaf sugar, pound and sift fine a quarter of an ounce of mace, the same of nutmegs, to every pound of flour put eight eggs* wash four pounds of currants, pick them well, and dry them before the fire, blanch a pound of sweet almonds, and cut them lengthways very thin, a pound of citron, one pound of candied orange, the same of candied lemon, half a pint of brandy: first work the butter with your hand to a cream, then beat in yeur sugar a quarter of an hour, beat the whites of your eggs to a very strong froth, mix them with your sugar and butter, beat your yolks half an hour at least, and mix them with your cake, then put in your flour, mace’, and nutmeg, keep beating it well till your oven is ready, put in your brandy, and beat your currants and almonds lightly in, tie three meets of paper round the bottom of your hoop to keep it from running out, rub it well with butter, put in your cake and lay your sweetmeats in three lays, with cake betwixt every lay, after it is risen and coloured, cover it with paper before your oven is slopped *ip: it will take three hour* bakings

To make Almond-Icing for the Bride Cake.

BEAT the-whites of three eggs to a strong froth, beat a pound of Jordan almonds very fine with rose water, mix your almonds with the eggs lightly together, a pound of common loaf sugar beat fine, and put in by degrees; when your cake is enough, take it out, and lay your icing on, then put it into brown.

To make Sugar-Icing for the Bride Cake.

BEAT two pounds of double refined sugar with two ounces of fine starch, sift it through a gauze sieve, then beat the whites of five eggs with a knife upon a pewter dish half an hour; beat in your sugar a little at a time, or it will make the eggs fall, and will not be so good a colour, when you have put in all your sugar, beat it half an hour longer, then lay it on your almond icing, and spread it even with a knife ; if it be put on as soon as the cake comes out of the oven it will be hard by the time the cake is cold.

Originally posted 2012-08-13 12:04:09.

Food and Work

It’s no secret that America has a problem with disordered eating. In a land of abundance, food isn’t just fuel; it’s comfort, it’s reward, it’s entertainment.

I’m no exception to this trend, so this devotional is written from a place of weakness, not strength. But as I’ve been thinking about this month’s theme of “Food and Frolic”, I find myself meditating on St. Paul’s dictum that he who does not work shall not eat.

This verse comforts me because it reminds me what food is for. Food is a thing with a purpose. Food lets us work, and work is such a great good that it existed even before the Fall.

Working for some very sweet food indeed.

So in some ways food is a reward. It’s the proper end to a day full of employment. It’s the proper preparation for a day full of good work. It’s both a reward and a necessity. We need food to do the good things God has given us to do, and we are blessed with food after we do those good things. (Because, after all, if you plant the garden, you get to enjoy its fruits. If you put in the hours, you get the paycheck.)

I think this is why saying grace before our meals is one of the best correctives to the disordered American appetite. So many traditional table prayers contain within themselves a proper theology of food. My favorite is the very simple, “Bless, O Father, thy gifts to our use and us to thy service; for Christ’s sake.”  This to us, Lord, and us to You. Or, as I prayed regularly once upon a time, “Lord, please bless this food, and may I use the energy I get from it to serve You.”

Indeed. Amen!

Peace of Christ to you,

Jessica Snell

Originally posted 2012-08-10 10:00:00.

What Happened to the Traditional Regency?

The “Traditional” Regency is a subgenre of the historical romance field whose style, tone, and mores were imitated by and solidified by Georgette Heyer and followers like Clare Darcy, Marion Chesney, and after that so many great authors I still read again and again such as Carola Dunn, Jo Beverley and her early books, Kasey Michaels, another favorite, I could go on and on. These are comedies of manners, which doesn’t mean they’re funny, though the tone is generally fast-paced and lighter than historical romances. These books were squeaky clean. If a couple was married or even indiscreet beforehand, we received no graphic details about their relationship. At one time, about the time I got interested in the genre, every publisher had a traditional Regency line, including some smaller presses. Regency readers were smart, savvy, and up on the time and details of the Regency.

Then the genre died. Door after door closed to the traditional Regency. Those of us who preferred it to the steamier replacements were reduced to reading our old books over and over again, or giving in and just skipping a few pages here and there.

But why did this happen?

Cinnamon sticks and ground cinnamon
Cinnamon. Photo by Wiki Commons.

Yvonne of the Regency information web site http://hibiscus-sinensis.com/regency explains the problem with a story about something that happened in Sweden, her home country, in the 1930s.

“Back in the 1930s there were two toothpaste companies that basically shared the market. The bigger brand had about 70% of the market and the runner up 30%. The most popular toothpaste had mint taste, not surprisingly, while the other had cinnamon. Market researchers told company #2 to switch to mint also, since it was the more popular taste. So they did. But… People that liked mint toothpaste still bought brand #1, while all those that had bought the cinnamon tasting toothpaste certainly weren’t interested in mint. Company #2 folded due to lack of sales.

The bottom line: Publishers never understood, or rather, wanted to accept that Regencies, like cinnamon toothpaste, are a niche market. Not even in their heyday did they appeal to the general mass market.”

Some claim authors gave into reader and/or publisher demand for steamier love scenes. Some claim the stories got too hung up on historical facts and not enough on character and story. Still others say the problem lay in too much inaccuracy in the stories and readers got disgusted.

Although all of the above are contributing factors, the bottom line is what is usually the situation in business—the bottom line in the accounting books. The traditional Regency just did not sell enough books. Authors moved on to bigger books for which they could get higher advances and more room for character and plot development.

Cover for Family Guardian by Laurie Alice EakesYet readers still wanted—still want—the traditional Regency. Thanks to digital books and the Christian market, readers can get them again. Many of the authors of the traditional Regency have gotten the rights to their books and made them available through Amazon and other e-book venues. My first Regency was sold to the family friendly–translate squeaky clean—Avalon Books. Family Guardian won the National Readers Choice Award for Best Regency in 2007 (and may end up available digitally now that Amazon owns Avalon). That opened the door for me to sell Regencies in the Christian market. Many others have come along, too. Love Inspired publishes Regencies on a regular basis.

My bottom line on this is that readers are the driving force and will cry out for cinnamon instead of mint until someone makes it available.

(My thanks to the ladies on the Regency fans Yahoo group for their input on this subject and for Yvonne for giving me permission to quote her.)

Originally posted 2012-08-08 10:00:00.

Breakfast at Lady Tiffany’s

I absolutely adore breakfast foods. In my house we frequently eat breakfast for dinner. I make a wonderful omelet, if I do say so myself. Bacon, sausage, biscuits, grits, and the like are some of my favorite foods in the world. Unfortunately, I rarely actually eat these for breakfast.

When I get up, I’m hungry. My kids are hungry. The very first order of our morning is breakfast and no one wants to wait around for me to cook so our morning meals consist of toast, muffins (already cooked), waffles (of the frozen variety), and toaster pastries.

The morning food offered in my house fits right in with a Regency breakfast, but that’s where the similarity ends.

Breaking Your Fast Meant You Had To Fast

Woman riding sidesaddle
Photo courtesy of WikiCommons

While the concept of lunch was emerging in the Regency time, it was still not a normal meal. With only two meals in the normal day, breakfast was often delayed several hours after rising. Country farmers or those who worked for a living might eat as early as 8:00AM, but families of leisure would delay the meal until nearly 10:00AM.

Many people would rise, dress, and go for a ride, read books, shop, or write letters for two or three hours before eating. Just thinking about it makes me cringe. I’m so hungry when I first get up in the morning, there is no way I’d be able to concentrate on anything until I had breakfast.

Surprisingly Light for One of Two Meals

Given that it was one of two common meals in the day, one would think that breakfast would be filled with rich, delectable foods that would stay with you for hours. On the contrary, it was frequently toast with butter, honey, or marmalade.

mug of chocolate with whipped cream and chocolate shavings
Modern hot chocolate. A little sweeter, a little more elaborate. Picture from WikiCommons.

It could be accompanied by meat such as ham or bacon, eggs made an occasional appearance, and those striving to impress a guest might include kippers (a fish dish), cold meat pies, or other types of pastries. Sometimes cake was even served.

Coffee, tea, and chocolate were served as well. I’m not much or a coffee or tea drinker, but I may pick up the habit of a mug of hot chocolate in the morning. It sounds rather appealing.

Of course, chocolate of the Regency period was more bitter, being much closer to raw chocolate than our sweetened version topped with whipped cream and chocolate sauce.

The Creation of Lunch

Because breakfast was such a light meal and dinner creeping later and later, especially for those living in Town, another meal emerged during the Regency.

At first luncheon was considered a feminine thing. Women unable to endure the eight to ten hours between breakfast and dinner started gathering for luncheon. Men, considering it too feminine a pursuit, simple grabbed some food at the pub or club without calling it luncheon. Later in the 1800s it became a more accepted endeavor, morphing into the essential business meal we still have today.

The Modern Variation of Breakfast Habits

Victorian Family at Breakfast
Photo courtesy of Wiki Commons

Today, breakfast has as many variations as there are people. Some people, like me, eat a breakfast along the lines of Regency fair, simple, light, and fairly high on the carb scale. Others keep alive the tradition of waiting to eat, skipping breakfast and eating an early lunch or a light mid-morning snack. Others swear by that first cup of coffee.

What are your breakfast habits? Do you cook a big breakfast as a family? Grab the most convenient thing on your way out the door? Share your breakfast habits in the comments below.

 

Originally posted 2012-08-06 10:00:00.

We Have A Winner

Dawna from Dayton, Washington  won:

 A Captain’s Courtship by Regina Scott. Thank you Regina for stopping by and gifting one of readers. Keep visiting Regency Reflections for more chances to win.


Originally posted 2012-08-05 12:58:46.

(A Regency) Christmas in July!

Keeping with this month’s theme of holidays, I bring you a regency Christmas in July, er, August. Having authored a non-fiction book on the subject (Regency House Christmas: The Definitive Guide to a Remarkably Regency Yuletide), I thought it would be appropriate to share a fun fact about the holiday that even many authors have got wrong.

A Christmas Tree?
If you see a Christmas Regency romance in the bookstore with a big tree on the cover, all decorated with baubles and sparkly stuff, it is certain the author and/or publisher and/or illustrator didn’t research adequately.

While the tall tree was introduced to England in 1800 by Queen Charlotte (the Regent’s mother), it wasn’t copied except by a few wealthy aristocrats, if at all. Queen Charlotte was of Germanic descent, and Christmas trees had been used in her country for ages. It was a new idea to England, however, and very few people even got to see it.

During the regency, if there was a tree at all, it was a table-top specimen, much smaller than what we are accustomed to, nowadays. Dickens recounts memories of one Christmas of his youth and describes a great, wondrous tree beneath which lay wonderful presents and toys. (No wrapping paper, by the way. Another sign of an ill-informed publisher/illustrator or author is a description of wrapped gifts beneath a tree during the regency. Christmas wrapping paper just wasn’t around, yet.) We have to assume that Dickens was remembering an early experience, in which case even a table-top tree would appear large. We know he was young, because by the time he was 12, his father was sent to debtor’s prison, and you can rest assured that put an end to his having Christmas trees for a time.

In any case, it wasn’t until Prince Albert (also of Germanic descent) once again introduced the really tall Christmas tree in it’s glorious splendor, (in 1845, if memory serves) that it suddenly became all the rage and everyone everywhere started putting up tall ones like his. The newspapers ran a picture of the royal tree and that did it. The growing middle class, now with the power of spending money, ran out to copy the wonderful sight and the upper classes did so, also. But this was long after the regency

Left: Even the larger, royal tree is upon a table! And this is 1845

(When I refer to the regency, by the way, I use the stylistic parameters; in other words, not the POLITICAL regency which was a mere nine years, from 1811 to 1820. But even using the stylistic regency, which extends to the death of George IV (formerly the regent) in 1830, Prince Albert’s large tree is still fifteen years away.)

So, now you know one cool Christmasy fact about this fascinating period. Stay tuned for the 2012 update of my Christmas ebook to learn much more!
Warmest Blessings,

Linore

Originally posted 2012-08-03 19:47:48.

Call Me Maybe, Autumn?

Vanessa here,

My child is bored and now looking forward to the purchase of new scissors and paper. She’s awaiting change, the exchange of one season for the next. Call it back to school or progress. We’ll soon be tracking across hot parking lots and crowded malls for the best deals on back-to-school fair. Hopefully, we’ll catch a breeze and a 40% off sale.

Overhead the leaves haven’t started to turn. Sweeping my wet brow, I long for cold sweet tea. The heat of summer still maintains it grip, but with the advent of August, it’s only a matter of time for autumn to come a callin’. Maybe it will call tomorrow?

I love all things Autumn: The hues of ruby trees scattered amongst the emerald pines. The sweetness of ripening apples in the off-the-beaten-path orchards. And yes, the cooling of temperatures.

In the midst of Autumn, we get sweater weather. Warm enough to survive with just a light knit but not cold enough to bundle up head to toe in wool.

For those that don’t know, I live in Georgia where steam and humidity are second nature to our summers. I remember when wearing panty hose was common place, (Wow, I sound old) and mine would become oppressively sticky just crossing a parking lot.

So I often wondered how my Regency heroines would survive, layered in chemise, corsets, massive skirts, walking dresses, carriage dresses, etc.  Even when sea bathing in Bath, they were steeped in fabric. How could they survive?

Well, a little bit of research answered the pervasive question. Regency summers weren’t that hot. In fact, 1816 was known as the ‘year without a summer’. Volcanic eruptions originating in the East Indies cast thick ash clouds that affected temperatures throughout Europe. England seemed shrouded in cold. It snowed on Easter. Snow remained on the ground and in the hills and countryside until late July.  August barely warmed, then by September the temperatures fell again and The River Thames froze over once more.

Can you image? Barely a month of sweater weather.  I might complain about the heat, the sweaty nylons, but I don’t know how I would deal with a year of no heat. How would the apples mature? Would there be pie? Would my child ever get that feeling of expectation?  The corn in 1816 froze on the stalks and couldn’t even be used to feed cattle.

Maybe I should rethink my disdain for the heat.

So, I’ll try Spanks and enjoy my sleeveless blouses for another month or two and love each new humid day.

Another reason for Gratitude,

Be Blessed,

Vanessa Riley

http://booty.org.uk/booty.weather/climate/1800_1849.htm

http://www.essentially-england.com/weather-in-england-in-the-1800s.html

http://www.netweather.tv/index.cgi?action=winter-history

 

Originally posted 2012-08-01 10:00:00.

A Regency Holiday in Paris–Or Not

Hi Everyone, Naomi here today. Since we’re discussing holidays and travels this month, I thought I’d do a little excerpt on traveling to France.

The early nineteenth century didn’t afford much opportunity for the British to France, seeing how the two countries were at war. But the Treaty of Amiens was a one year break in a 22 year long war between France and England that lasted from 1793 to 1815.

During the Peace of Amiens, which started in March of 1802, English aristocrats flooded to Paris en masse. This delectable country with it’s fine chocolates and lace and silk had been off-limits in both travel and trade for a decade. When the Treaty of Amiens was signed and peace declared, British aristocrats wasted no time making Paris a holiday destination.

Paris offered several major attractions, and Napoleon was more than happy to show off his country’s charms, one of which was the Observatoire de Paris, the most prestigious astronomical observatory in France.

British visitors could now also tour The Louvre, which first opened in 1793 after France and England had already declared war. During this time, Napoleon was busy acquiring (or forcibly taking) pieces from all over Europe to put on display.

Plus Paris’s famed Salon held one of the most impressive collections of paintings on the continent (and just a warning, not all models in such paintings were fully clothed).

Visitors to Paris during the Peace of Amiens included the Whig Statesman, Charles James Fox, the painter JMW Turner, and astronomer and composer William Hershel, and even some female writers such as Maria Edgeworth and Francis Burney.

Unfortunately, neither Napoleon nor the British Parliament were truly interested in honoring the Treaty of Amiens, which called for both countries to remove troops from certain occupied locations.

Britain, for the most part, didn’t remove any of troops delineated in the treaty, but it did stop it’s blockade of French ships from ports around the world. Napoleon removed troops from several areas but reinstated most of them in the fall.

Britain was the first to declare war, in May of 1803 and then promptly captured two French ships. Napoleon, in no mood to be nice with his own countrymen captured, then ordered the imprisonment of all British males, ages 18 to 60 who were in France.

Since France had been such a popular holiday destination, that meant a good number of Brits spent the next twelve years in French prisons. In fact, one author, Francis Burney, who had traveled to France during the peace to visit her French husband, found herself stuck there until 1815 as well.

My writer’s imagination just can’t stop thinking of a couple British aristocrats who happen to be stuck in France when the Peace of Amiens fails. Hmmm. Sounds like there might be a story there. What do you think?

Note: All photographs in this blogpost came from Wiki Commons

Originally posted 2012-07-30 10:00:00.