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Category: Regency

comfort 1815 no drawers

Comfort, 1815


I’ve been mulling over ideas for my first “official” post as a Risky, and in the end, I’m falling back on clothing (shocking, I know, LOL!). I thought I’d do a post about “risky” clothing, or drawers. After all, what’s more risky than a risqué garment that we now think of as a necessity!

Knee-length drawers are reported to have been worn by women as early as the turn of the 19th century, but they were considered fast and unladylike, and were not commonly adopted from what I can tell. I’ve consulted with a lot of costume historians and museum curators over the years, and none of them see them as a common garment in the records, household accounts, or as extant garments before the Victorian period, really.

1810 2nd verision gilray drawers


They had a split crotch, usually being made up of two entirely separate legs on a drawstring waistband. An illustration from 1810 (included below) shows a lady wearing them, so it can be construed that they were somewhat accepted by then, but I do wonder as other images in the series seem to concentrate on highlighting the more deceptive aspects of a woman’s toilette (such as wigs).



Woven linen drawers, c. 1820


The extant pairs we DO have from the Regency all seem to date from the 1820s. They have a split crotch, usually being made up of two entirely separate legs on a drawstring waistband.

An illustration from 1810 shows a lady wearing them, so it can be construed that they were becoming more accepted by then, but I would still hazard that they were not a universal.

stare case

Exhibition Stare Case, 1811 Click for a larger image!

And I would make that guess because of other images that clearly show them as not being worn (such as Comfort at the top of the post and Exhibition Stare Case, left).

So it’s always worth remembering that the daring, fast, risky move in the Regency period was to put on a pair of drawers. I’d love to see a book where the hero is scandalized by discovering his lady love’s undies, and I fully expect that if anyone can write that book, it’s one of the marvelous women I now share this blog with.

I look forward to seeing what everyone comes up with to talk about in 2015!



Original chocolate pot c. 1750-1800, Colonial Williamsburg

The easiest way is what we could call “hot cocoa”. This was a very common breakfast drink for the gentry and upper class (aka anyone who could afford it). It was also often served at coffee houses (in fact, White’s started out as a “Chocolate House”). It was generally made with water (not milk, alas) with a “mill” which very much resembles a simpler version of the wooden whisk (molinillo) that is used to make Mexican hot chocolate today (which makes sense when you think about it, as Europe got chocolate from Mexico in the first place so the method of making it would remain the same).

This basic directions are thus (from Experienced English Housekeeper, 1769): “Scrape four ounces of chocolate and pour a quart of boiling water upon it, mill it well with a chocolate mill, and sweeten it to your taste, give it a boil and let it stand all night, then mill it again very well, boil it two minutes, then mill it till it will leave a froth upon the top of your cups.”

I’ve also found this recipe from 1814 which more closely resembles modern hot cocoa, being made with milk. And I like ease of it. Nice to have something made up that can be used for the whole week.

HOT COCOA 1814 A new system of domestic cookery

A New System of Domestic Cookery, 1814







Many of the cookery books of the day have various chocolate tarts, biscuits, pastils (which are basically spot-on modern nonpareils), and even ice cream. So while I haven’t (yet!) found a bonbon with a cream center, I have found PLENTY of delicious options for our characters to enjoy. Below are a few of these for you to explore.

chocolate biscuit 1829 the Italian confectioner

The Italian Confectioner, 1829

chocolate drops 1800

The Complete Confectioner, 1800











chocolate tart 1787 The Lady's Assistant

The Lady’s Assistant, 1787

chocolate ice cream 1814 Cookery and Confectionary

Cookery and Confectionary, 1814

Someone on Twitter was saying she has trouble keeping track of all the locations that get tossed around in Regency Romances. This is entirely understandable as we fanatics tend to treat Mayfair and the City of London (c. 1800-1830) as though they were our hometown. There are some GREAT map resources out there. Even if you don’t want to invest in a hardback copy of the Regency London A-Z, you can go to Motco and look at John Fairburn’s wonderfully detailed 1802 map (snippet provided) or the even more detailed Horword map (1799) which shows individual houses. I once printed out all of Mayfair and had it pinned up like wallpaper so I could plot my books.


Edward Mogg’s 1806 case map of London. (This file was provided to Wikimedia Commons by Geographicus Rare Antique Maps).

I started out making a small map with a few places on it based on the Fairburn map, but then it occurred to me I could use Google Maps to make a “perioid” map that was zoomable and scalable and that I could even put links into! And once I got started, it became a bit of a monster project. I now has well over 200 locations and I will continue to add new locations and details as I have time and find new resources.


Currently I’ve input info from a few Georgian blogs, The Georgian Index, The Survey of London, and several books about historic homes. I plan to add info from The Epicure’s Almanack (an 1815 book about hotels, restaurants, chophouses, and pubs) and a couple of period guide books that I have either print or Google Book copies of.

If anyone has further suggestions for specific locations or sources, please let me know!

There’s also this amazing overlay of John Rocque’s 1746 map of London you can check out. Unfortunately, they don’t have a KML export I can find so I can overly it onto my Google Map, but I’ve emailed to see if they will provide one or alternatively add my map as an option to theirs. *fingers crossed*

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