A Regency Picnic at Royal Rosendal

Stockholm has a wealth of well preserved historic sites in and around the city. Tucked away in one of the large royal parks is elegant Rosendal Palace. The Regency Days of 2015 continued there on the day after the ball. We picnicked on the lawn in front of the palace.

Rosendal

Rosendal was built in the 1820´s as a private retreat for the royal family. It is in the Swedish/French empire style.

Photo Anders Fjellström

It was a warm day so we preferred to sit in the shade. Photo: Anders Fjellström.

image

image

Photo Olga Peshkova/Poetry of time

Photo: Poetry of time

Photo Olga Peshkova/Poetry of time

Cucumber sandwiches and elderberry cordial. Photo: Poetry of time.

Photo by Olga Peshkova/Poetry of time

Looks like Hole in the wall to live music. Photo: Poetry of time.

 

In the afternoon we joined one of the guided tours of the palace. The palace staff was thrilled to meet people dressed in Regency costume. It was actually the first time, as far as they could recall. One of the staff members turned out be a former colleague of mine and a possible new recruit! Our guide gave an entertaining yet enlightening tour through the well-preserved and rare (for Swedish conditions) interiors from the 1820´s. I am always impressed by its builder, the King Karl XIV Johan, a fascinating person who made the most unlikely career. The King was born 1763 in Bearn, France, as Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte. He grew up in a modest middle class home, in a family of tradesmen and artisans, but chose a life in the army. The turmoils following the French Revolution led Bernadotte to the absolute centre of power as one of Napoleon´s generals. In 1804 he was appointed Marshall of France and later Prince of Ponte Corvo and governor of Rome. 1810, at the height of his career, he was suddenly offered – and he accepted – the Swedish throne. (Political complications had left the country nearly bankrupt, with state affairs in a mess. Half of the nation had been lost to Russia and the king was old and childless.) Through his remarkable diplomatic skills, courage, and enormous fortune, Bernadotte, from 1818 King Karl Johan, managed to get the country on its feet.

His wife, born Desirée Clary in Marseille, daughter of a tradesman, belonged to the inner circles of nouveau riche Paris society and reluctantly gave up her position to move up north to a cold, old-fashioned country where the aristocracy initially frowned upon the upstarts. (They never forgot Queen Desirée´s modest origins and connection with “that little Corsican” – she had once been engaged to Napoleon and her sister Hortense was married to Napoleon´s brother Joseph Bonaparte.)

The Rosendal palace is a museum, but it is still owned by the present monarch, a direct descendant of the first Bernadottes. Napoleon is history, but The House of Bernadotte survives to this day.

Rosendals slott på Kungl. Djurgården. Foto: Gomer Swahn

The grandest room is the “Lanternin”.  Copyright: Gomer Swahn, Kungahuset.se (Swedish Royalcourt).

Rosendals slott på Kungl. Djurgården. Foto: Gomer Swahn

The Red Salon at Rosendal. The walls have the fashionable Roman tent-treatment. Copyright: Gomer Swahn, Kungahuset.se (Swedish Royalcourt).

 

Karl-Johan

Karl XIV Johan. Miniature by J.A. Gillberg 1818.

Desirée

Queen Desirée in Swedish court dress. Miniature by N Jacques, 1812.

 

When we stepped out in the sun we danced some more before parting: Mr Isaac´s maggot, Duke of Kent´s waltz, Hole in the wall.

We always debate etiquette on these occasions. Is it considered bad form to wear a hat when dancing outdoors? Or should one dance outdoors at all? We tend to be very relaxed with Regency etiquette in order to avoid excluding newcomers. Same goes with costumes –  everyone is welcome if one does one´s best. What is your opinion?

image

Mr Isaac´s Maggot. Photo: Malin Gunnerhed.

image

Dignified posing in front of the famous porphyry vase.

image

Not so dignified croquet.

image

image

image

Poetry in time

In the late afternoon we strolled back to the 21st century. Photo: Poetry in time

image

Photo by Regencegentleman aka mr Tigercrona

 

I was not able to attend the following day when the Regency Days continued at yet another castle with brunch, more dancing, visiting a church, and walking in the park.

Sadly my Regency calendar has only blank pages so far, but I am sure we will meet again in the Autumn.

The Grand Regency Ball

The ball last Friday was a magic, glittering event. The venue was this late 18th century manor Kristinehof, built in what was then the outskirts of Stockholm. Today you get there by metro, if you don´t happen to live around the corner. It was originally private, of course, but now it is sort of a cultural centre, and has been restored to its original state by one of the owners (or renters?), the Swedish Gustavian society Gustafs skål.

It started early in the evening with sparkling wine in the courtyard. We mingled and took pictures. (Most of the photos in this post were taken before the dance started. We were asked to put away our phones and cameras during the ball.)

Everybody – experienced reenactors and dancers as well as new “debutantes” – had put in a lot of hard work on costumes and coiffures. And so many hours were invested in planning and creating the dinner, and choosing and rehearsing the music. It is wonderful to be surrounded by that sort of people, isn´t it?

image

Arriving through the gates. Read about my attire here. Photo by Matilda Furness.

image

Elegant people in the courtyard. The kitchen wing is seen in the background.

image

Scrolling through photos… I like the touch on the green dress – by 1815 the waistline was at its highest and skirts were becoming shorter.

image

Exchanging fashion ideas…

image

Olga was a new acquaintance. Her outfit was impeccable. We were all excited to learn that she has connections in S:t Petersburg, and there is a vivid interest in arranging historial balls… When she removed her fichu and bonnet she had sparkling jewellery worthy of the Russian imperial court.

image

Lovely colour on Susanne.

image

Soldiers in regimentals were present.

image

Newlyweds Jacob and Ylva welcomed us to the ball. Photo by Matilda Furness.

image

Transferring to the ball room in a graceful pace. Photo by Malin Gunnerhed.

image

That colour!

 

The dance programme (in Swedish, but you get the idea) was designed by W. Dahllöf, musician and band director. You probably recognize several of the familiar Playford country dances, but there were many (French) dances from Swedish historical documents, reconstructed by our dance mistress and the musicians. Before each dance we were given quick instructions, and they were also written down in our programmes. Some of the dances were repeated, and sometimes in a higher tempo. We were about eighty dancers, so it was really crowded and warm in the ballroom.

Dansprogram

image

Dinner was served after the first segment of dances. There was an abundance of delicious homecooked food with Chicken Marengo as one of the highlights! This after the second segment when we had coffee and a lavish dessert buffé.

image

After dinner, before dancing, we were given several performances: together we sang The Plains of Waterloo, and we heard the old Habsburg hymn in Hungarian (Same tune as the Germans hymn, other lyrics), and the Russian Imperial hymn, an Italian aria, and – scandalous – The Marseillaise.

 

 

Photo Olga Peshkova

The ball ended at midnight out in the dark courtyard where torches lit up the final dance. Photo by Olga Peshkova/Poetry of time.

 

I could easily have danced many more hours, but all things come to an end. My head was full of music when I dragged my soar feet home. It was a memorable evening indeed.

Getting ready for the grand Regency ball of 2015

It all started on Thursday night with a lengthy dance practice. A list with thirteen (!) dances were in announced for the ball, and several of them were new to many of us. Period costume was optional. Not going in costume would have been a waste, so I chose a sporty outfit consisting of shirt, linen waistcoat, cravat, black trousers, and boots.

The local radio had heard about the festival so five of us met up one hour earlier and made a live interview. The reporter got to try The Duke of Kent´s waltz and she was completely overwhelmed by the setting, the music, our costumes, everything. Perfectly understandable…

The wonderful musicians were there, as was our teacher, Mistress Anna Löfgren. We were about forty students, all eager to learn. We focused on the quadrilles, which made me dizzy by the end of the evening. There was no camera, but below is one of the quadrilles, Fredrike, recorded on a different day with some of the friends who attended the ball, here in 18th c. costume.

Needless to say we were all very excited about the ball. I quickly snapped some photos when we were in general turmoil, before dragging our tired feet home.

image

image

image

 

The final thing I did that night was to make sure I had everything in order: clean stockings, shirt, breeches, waistcoat, opera pumps, fob watch, gloves.  (No valet in sight, so I had to do everything myself.)

image90

image91

 

 

image

I used new grosgrain ribbon (100% cotton) for garters.

 

image

This post is already a mix of all sorts so why not throw in a “daguerrotype” selfie as grand finale?

 

A post with everything about the ball and following picknick follows as soon as I get all photos sorted!

A New Tailcoat! Part 4.

I swear, the clock ticks faster when there is a tailcoat to be done. It was a hectic week with this tailcoat project, work, dance practice – and then switch gears from frantic last minute sewing in a home scattered with ironing boards, scissors, pins, scraps of wool, and what have you – to graceful manners in genteel society. You know exactly what I mean, don´t you?

image

Need I say I made it? Here I am arriving at the ball. But first things first. (Photo by Matilda Furness.)

 

image

In my last post I left you with this, and was about to sew on sleeves. That was fairly uncomplicated, due to already having a toile (mock-up) so there was no need to adjust the fit over the back and shoulders.

 

image

Cuffs in making: I drafted the pattern and cut three layers for each cuff: wool + linen + wool. With right sides together they were sewn on three sides (bottom and both ends). Corners were trimmed, then right side turned out.

image

Cuffs done. Pressed, and mounted onto the sleeve. (Raw edge of sleeve sandwiched between the layers.) I did not bother with buttonholes. A few stitches keep the cuff closed, and the button is there for show. (For some mysterious reason both sleeves ended up with a crease just above the button. Have to partially unpick the seam and move end of cuff higher by 1/2 inch.)

image

Pocket flaps (non-working pockets): top, in progress and below, the finished flaps. These were cut in one layer of wool and one layer of linen. Similar construction as cuffs. Top edges left open, raw edges folded in, pressed and basted on to the coat.

image

 

image

Closeup of the finished back: Pocket flaps, and one button above each side vent. These heavy brass buttons caught my eye, even if I was looking for something thinner in filigree. Centre back seam ends in a horisontal seam that keeps vent in place. Everything looks terribly uneven here, but that is because the coat was photographed on a hanger…

image

Collar: I needed to focus, so I completely forgot to take pictures of the pieces laid out flat. The undercollar was pad-stitched to embroidery canvas, pressed and steamed, and pinned to the coat. When position looked good I whip-stitched along the same line.

image

Collar meets lapel (on right side of coat). I had to stand in front of a mirror and check angles, then remove coat, trim with scissors, pin, and back on. (I really need a tailor´s dummy!) The lapel is still unfinished here because it was difficult to decide exact angle before having the collar. The wool is folded and held in place with a quick running stitch through the canvas. (Pins would make everything uneven.)

image

Upper collar was then sewn to cover the canvas. I folded the edges and whip-stitched the layers together. Here is a closeup of the collar (or is it a lapel?) on left side.

image

There! And buttons! In order to avoid overheating, the back and sleeves were left unlined.

image

And seen from the back. The unsightly creases are caused by the hanger.

image

Did you ever see such refined elegance 😉

 

Friday afternoon was really warm and I was running out of time. When the last thread end was cut off it was high time to get dressed. And then off to the ball!

 

A New Tailcoat! Part 3.

So, I worked on the tailcoat this past week. This is when I was lining the tails:

image

Right side of tails.

image

Inside view of tail. Whip stitching lining to outer fabric. (The lining is very dark indigo irl.)

Then I was about to start on the collar and lapels – when I changed my plans. It was really going very well, padstitching done, but on Sunday afternoon I realised this wasn´t what I wanted… August and all, and here I was making this warm and cumbersome garment.

image

After some quick research I made a big change to the design. I cut off half of the front and one inch off the tails (front edges). No photos of the process, but you understand what I mean with these following images. At a quick glance there is nothing new to see, but actually this type of coat has a more restrained design. It doesn´t close, in the same fashion as modern tailcoats. No flapping fabric.

image

Le Beau Monde, 1807

image

1807

image

1803

image

1805

image

Le Beau Monde, 1808

image

And a painting: Louis-Léopold Boilly – The Downpour c.1805 – detail

image

Instead of this (as seen on Colonel Fitzwilliam in 1995 P&P)…

image

… we have this. (As seen on Darcy in 1995 P&P.)

image

Or this, if you prefer: Mr Bingley. (1995 P&P)

image

The coat in its demolished state.

 

image

But now with neatly stitched edges.

image

Shoulder seams done.

image

Some awkward angles in front of the mirror.

image

New cut is promising.

image

Weird without waistcoat and breeches, but you get the idea.

image

Sleeves! Appears blue here but it is still same green wool. Two pieces. Slightly gathered to ease in.

image

Sleeves pinned in place, right sides together, then basted with a running stitch. (White thread.)

image

White thread is removed when the proper stitch is done.

Next time I hope to present a finished coat. (Complete with collar, cuffs, buttons, and pocket flaps.)

 

A New Tailcoat! Part 2

Weekend? What is a weekend? I know what I will be up to anyway. Sewing. 

Here follows a quick update on the tailcoat-status. Last week I made a new toile and cut all main pieces in wool, linen and (where required) canvas. Luckily my 2,5 metres was more than enough so it will be easy to cut pocket flaps, cuffs, and collar.

image

Then it was high time to return to work after a long, glorius vacation. Perhaps not the best idea to start a new sewing project the same week. 

Below I was about to start padstitching the linen canvas to the front. When that was done I added some padding to the shoulder/chest area.

image

I continued with stitching cotton tape to reinforce the bottom edge and tail.

Photo by Regencygentleman

Photo by Regencygentleman

Shoulders and side seams are quickly basted together to check fit. The tail lining is only pinned in place. I need to think a little bit more about the lapels, so I cut them very generously. (It is easier to trim excess fabric rather than adding, right?)

Photo by Regencygentleman

The back looks like a mess, but do not get upset. Only the middle back seam is done properly at this stage. I see now that the neck opening needs to be trimmed quite a lot. The padding is seen through the armscye.

image

Oh, and I have stitched the sleeves (under sleeve to front). No photo documentation of that, though. Hopefully there is more to come after two days of work, so please stay tuned!

A New Tailcoat! Part 1.

One of the most anticipated events of the year is soon here. In fact, the date is coming closer at an alarming speed. I am talking about The Season. It is THE event for any person with the slightest interest in the Regency/Empire-period. Three days of music, dancing, and picnics in beautiful Stockholm. The highlight is a ball with live music and delicious dining in a lovely setting. Now, gentlemen are always scarce, so it is only my duty to make an effort, despite being an old married man and all. So, with only a fortnight to go, I have decided to brush off my tailoring skills and make a new tailcoat.

Photo by Regencygentleman

There is nothing wrong with the coat I made last year – the swallow tail, with a curved front, remember? However, the typical Regency style coat – with double-breasted front, cut straight off, and large lapels – would be a welcome addition to any Regency-wardrobe, wouldn´t it? Mine in particular… I am usually not a great admirer of double-breasted jackets (lot of material that creates bulk, and the buttons accentuate a horizontal proportion that can make the wearer – ever so lean – look short and stout). I will have to experiment with the placement of the buttons (self-covered, I think), to achieve more elegant proportions.

Over to my main source of inspiration: fashion plates and portraits from about 1805-1815. There are so many to choose from, but here is a small selection, showing outfits for daytime and evening. You have to admit the coats look darn good!

image

This smart gent and the two below are dressed for morning or daytime. Replacing the boots with stockings and shoes makes the outfit more formal.

image

image

image

Full dress, something you´d wear for a dinner party or ball. Bicorne instead of top hat.

Costume Parisien

Notice that they all have a fairly narrow space between the buttons. It could be possible to wear these coats unbuttoned without being hindered by unflattering amounts of fabric, weighed down by the buttons. The tails are short, they don´t reach the knee. The long, fitted sleeves are gathered at the shoulders (which makes fitting them easier). The shoulders are narrow. (Too broad shoulders cut like a modern suit loses some of the Regency look.)

A couple of portraits and an extant garment:

1815 William Owen Portrait of a Man and his Dog wikipaintings.org

Country stroll 1. Impeccably dressed. Portrait of a Man and his Dog, William Owen, 1815

 

Portrait-of-Count-Andrey-Bezborodko, Robert Lefevre,

Country stroll 2: Portrait of Count Andrey Bezborodko, Robert Lefevre, 1804.

Extant 1815 Kerry Auctions

And the real thing: a rare, extant garment, ca 1815. Sold at Kerry Auctions.

Material: This terrific moss-green wool is perfect. The day I found it I was a bit reluctant to spend any money, so I purchased only 2,5 metres (three yards). That means I will have to take great care when cutting the pieces. In our stash I found a bolt of dark linen that is perfect for lining, and odd pieces of heavier linen for interlining. Guterman’s silk thread in colour 02776.

image

image

Pattern: I will use my toile from last year, with some additional drafting on the front and lapels. The two patterns below will be useful: Norah Waugh´s The Cut of Men’s Clothes and the one from the Danish Tidens Toj. They are found online.

image

image