1. The Lady's Wardobe
2. The Gentleman's Wardrobe
3. Regency Style Photo Gallery
4. Regency Homes
5. The Peerage
6. Singular Wills
To View a Splendid Map of London in 1807, click the link!
What Is The Regency Period?
The nine-year period from 1811-1820, when England was ruled by a “Regent” rather than a King, is known as the Regency period.
For years, “Mad” King George the Third had been suffering from mental illness, but by 1811, his condition had become so serious that he was no longer able to fulfill his duties as monarch.
When the royal physicians declared there was no further hope of His Majesty’s recovery, Parliament voted to install his firstborn son, George, the Prince of Wales, as the acting ruler in his father’s stead—in other words, Prince George became the Prince Regent, the ruling monarch acting on his father's behalf. He remained the Regent until his father died nine years later in 1820; he then officially succeeded to the throne, becoming King George the Fourth.
There is another sense in which the word “Regency” is used, however. Historians often refer to the “greater Regency” as a distinct cultural period from about 1790 to 1830. The two historical events used as book-ends to this 40 year span are: the French Revolution (1789), bringing an abrupt halt to the Georgian period, and the accession of Queen Victoria to the British throne in 1837, marking the official start of the Victorian period. (Some prefer to use 1832 as the line of demarcation because it was the year of the Reform Act.)
In a cultural sense, the greater Regency was quite different from what came before or after it. The Regency was neither as wild and self-indulgent as the Georgian period nor as strict and self-improving as the Victorian. Instead, the Regency struck more of a balance between these two extremes.
Also known as the “Age of Elegance,” the Regency was a golden age of letters, music, and architecture, as well as budding scientific inquiry and invention.
Finally, the Regency was a time of intense social change. Many of the values and institutions that had been held sacred for centuries were being turned upside-down. Regency people found themselves entangled in the midst of three simultaneous revolutions:
To learn more about the complex societal changes taking shape during the Regency—changes that laid the groundwork for our modern culture—please see:
THE AGE OF NAPOLEON by Will and Ariel Durant
THE BIRTH OF THE MODERN: WORLD SOCIETY 1815-1830 by Paul M. Johnson
A HISTORY OF PRIVATE LIFE, VOL. 4: FROM THE FIRES OF REVOLUTION TO THE GREAT WAR, edited by Michelle Perrot
THE PRINCE OF PLEASURE by J.B. Priestley
"The love of learning,
the sequestered nooks,
And all the sweet serenity of books."
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Must-see links for Regency research.