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Thursday, June 7

Finding Information About the Regency and Georgian Eras

In researching information for this blog, I am discovering that public libraries and museums are becoming increasingly creative in featuring their collections online. Because Jane Austen lived during the Regency and Georgian eras, my searches use both tag lines.The New York Public library's website describes the Regency Style and features related books on its shelves. Click here to read some short, insightful descriptions, such as this quote:

This period saw a continuous search for novelties in design. Chinoiserie and the “Hindu,” or Indian, styles became fashionable, along with nationalistically inspired Gothic or Tudor decorative elements. The Greek chair with sabre legs, elegant sideboards, revolving bookcases, and couches with claw feet were popular.

The Victorian and Albert Museum website goes through great lengths to describe period styles, including Palladianism, Neoclassicism, Chinoiserie, and more. In addition to learning something about the era, the V&A also showcases some of its objects to illustrate their point.
Museum and libraries aren't the only organizations interested in imparting good information on their sites. This fireplace company, West Country Fires Limited, located in Hampstead U.K., sells Georgian style fireplaces. The company's website contains this description:

Georgian interiors were as important as exteriors, with a new-found emphasis on home entertaining, and were intended to illustrate a cultural wealth alongside the material wealth. The fireplace was inevitably the focus of the room, and fireplace designs from this period incorporate many Classical elements. In the evolution of fireplace design the fire surround itself was an invention of Renaissance Italy and was in the first instance designed along Classical lines, namely a pair of jambs either side of the hearth with an entablature linking the two.

The site offers a veritable wealth of information about fireplace surrounds! What a great place to get started on the subject. In writing this blog, I find it is simply amazing how many diverse ways there are to uncover information about Jane Austen's world on the World Wide Web. These resources are in addition to the traditional scholarly articles, books, and journals. I'm sure I won't have enough time in the day to discover them all.

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