Last Thursday we presented ‘Regency Afternoon Tea with talk and costumes ‘in the very beautiful and also traditional setting of ‘The Royal Scots Club’.
The Royal Scots Club is a welcoming private members’ club in the heart of one of the world’s greatest cities, Edinburgh. Situated within one of the capital’s finest Georgian streets, the Royal Scots Club offers that rare combination; the charm of a country house hotel with a cosy club atmosphere
The Royal Scots Club has 25 individually designed, en-suite bedrooms, traditionally furnished with all the luxury facilities you would expect from a high class hotel.
The Royal Scots club is located within one of Edinburgh’s most beautiful areas. With its Georgian architecture and traditional fixtures, the Royal Scots Club truly captures the warmth and character of a Scottish country house.
We presented our talk in the beautiful Hepburn Suite – a fabulous room with luxury furnishings and a lovely spacious stage. It was a very interesting, lively, humorous and informative lecture about the design and construction of gowns I have created inspired by the Regency period. Beautifully costumed mannequins/dummies accompanied my talk. Included were Empress Josephine, a pretty white cotton afternoon dress for Jane Austen, a lilac silk ball gown and regency underwear and accessories.
I was ably assisted by my husband Michael dressed as a ‘Regency Gentleman’ He looked splendid in his new costume worn for the first time. It included a linen shirt, silk waistcoat, trousers, cravat, boots and wool tailcoat. I completed the tailcoat only a week ago and I must admit I am very pleased with it. I used very dark blue medium weight wool. The sleeves are lined with dark blue silk and it is finished with dull gold buttons. The sleeves are lined in silk so the coat can be removed easily as the sleeves are fashionably tight.
The event was fully booked and members of the Royal Scots Club had travelled from far and wide. A lovely couple had travelled from Stockport to Edinburgh for a three day break – the highlight of their last was my Regency Talk with Afternoon Tea. They said they really enjoyed my talk.
I designed and made a Regency Bonnet which was included as part of my ‘Afternoon Outfit’ – the bonnet proved one of the highlights of my talk. I demonstrated how easy it is to create a bonnet yourself from a plain straw hat with a brim. After the talk I was prevailed upon to draw a template for the bonnet on a paper napkin so members could go home and make a bonnet for themselves!
There is a large amount of metal trimming and frogging on most of my regency costumes as military touches were very popular at the time.
My Empress Josephine Velvet Robe has been trimmed with sumptuous gold guipure lace and lavishly embellished with gold embroidery and gold spangles. A fashion for military touches persisted at this time so many coats, robes and outer garments were covered in decorative braids, tassels, frogging and cords; as a result their wearers looked like members of the Hussars.
I have decorated my red velvet Spencer (a short jacket worn by ladies during the regency) with gold military style braid and four beautiful gold frogs to fasten down the front. Many ladies in support of their office beaux wore a feminised version of their uniforms.
I was asked where such trimmings can be obtained and I recommended MacCulloch and Wallis – a super shop located in central London near John Lewis. If however London in not on your doorstep they do offer a very good online service which I would certainly recommend.
I was also asked where you can obtain 1” square paper for pattern drafting – to be honest I haven’t been able to purchase any rolls of squared paper this size.
My answer is to buy a large roll of plain white paper and cut off a couple of meters. Then mark one inch down the side and across the top – join the points with a ruler to create a grid of one inch squares. It takes quite a long time but is worth it. Do not use this paper to draft your patterns. Buy a roll of tracing paper and stick the tracing paper carefully over the grid at the edges with clear tape. Use the one inch grid underneath to draft you pattern on the tracing paper – use pencil just in case you make a mistake. When you have finished carefully remove the tracing paper and you have your pattern and the grid underneath to use again for your next pattern – It certainly saves you a lot of time!
Feedback from the members was excellent – they said they were all very entertained by my talk. I have no doubt that we will returning to the Royal Scots Club in the future. In the meantime I mustn’t forget to mention that we are presenting our Regency Talk again this time at their sister club ‘The Army and Navy’ located in Pall Mall on 19th March 2015 – we are really looking forward to presenting our talk in London.
By kind and generous invitation of the ‘Royal Scots Club’ we stayed overnight in one of their beautiful executive suites on the second floor – it was a fabulous room with a lovely view of Edinburgh. We also visited the members only dining room where we enjoyed a feast of delights including Escalope of venison with redcurrant jus and Fillet of Scotch beef in a mild pepper sauce Next morning we feasted on a hearty Scottish breakfast before returning home. I cannot recommend the ‘Royal Scots Club’ too highly. I would also like to thank all the staff at the ‘Royal Scots Club’ for making our stay such a delight.
I certainly mustn’t forget to thank Janet – Secretary of the Scots Club – a delightful lady – for all her help in making the event such a success and for her kind hospitality – I must say we really enjoyed our visit.
After the event we received the lovely message below from Janet the Club Secretary –
“We so enjoyed having you and Mick at the Club and giving that extremely entertaining and informative talk. There were three ladies in today who yet again re-iterated how much they had enjoyed the presentation and the costumes on Thursday. You have an enviable gift, to be able to produce such fabulous outfits, and so kind of you to share it with us. I do hope you enjoyed your stay as much as we enjoyed having you here – there will definitely be a next time! And I know some of the ladies from Thursday want to be in touch about other presentations.So many many thanks, we do appreciate you travelling up to Edinburgh and hope to see you at the Club again in the future”.