I presented my Regency Talk for the Quilters Guild in Stannington in Northumberland yesterday. Had a great afternoon – the ladies in the group really enjoyed my talk – we certainly enjoyed presenting it. I met quite a few old friends and made some new ones.
I also included my new pink wool Spencer and hat inspired by the latest film version of Emma starring Anya Taylor Joy as the eponymous heroine of the famous novel. It is a very intricate jacket and wasn’t particularly easy to construct but I think it was definitely worth the effort!
During the questions and answer session after my talk one of the members mentioned she is the owner of some beautiful vintage fans and asked if I would like them – so she is sending me them to me- how kind of her.
I always include a fan with my Empress Josephine costume – this would always be carried be carried at a ball. Her Battenberg lace fan has wooden spines and the lace is backed with fine gauze. The lace is pretty with panels of delicate embroidery – it is authentic to the period.
In the past, hand fans were used not only as cooling instruments as the ballroom would be extremely hot because of all the candles burning, but also as convenient communication devices, mainly for transmitting more or less furtive love messages –
- Placed near the heart – you have won my love
- Half open fan pressed to the lips – you may kiss me
- Touching the finger to the tips of the fan – I wish to speak with you – number of ticks shown – tells at what hour.
I mentioned that during a talk at ‘Kedleston Hall’ a few years ago a gentleman asked “is there a way of holding the fan to tell the wife to shut up when the football is on”. I think the ladies at my talk were very amused with this as they couldn’t stop laughing.
I would also like thank my son James for appearing as Mr Darcy – he seemed to prove very popular because at the beginning of my talk he received a round of applause!
We really enjoyed presenting my Regency Talk ‘Enter the World of Jane Auste’n for The Quilters Guild and look forward to visiting them again!