Regency at the Abbey Museum

Regency treasures at the Abbey Museum

A fashion plate is an illustration or picture of the latest fashions of the time and were published in women’s journals throughout the Regency era.  The Lady’s Magazine was one such journal and one of the first to include hand-coloured and engraved fashion plates in its publications. First published in 1770 the Lady’s Magazine was one of the leading periodicals of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. The magazine included:

  • short stories and poetry
  • essays praising the ‘female virtues” of decorum and modesty
  • advice for wives and mothers
  • information on fashion (fashion plates)
  • recipes
  • medicinal ‘receipts’ offering cures for illnesses from cramp to ‘hectic fevers’
  • biographies of famous historical and contemporary figures
  • domestic and foreign news

Although the Abbey Museum does not have full copies of the Lady’s Magazine, it does have an extensive collection of the fashion plates and fans which span 1773 to 1902.

This is known as the Regency era when the Prince Regent (Prince of Wales) ruled the United Kingdom because his father, King George III, was deemed unfit to rule.   The Regency period in Britain was an interesting time which included major social changes due to increasing industrialisation and war with Napoleon’s France.  It saw the publication of many social commentaries describing the lives of various strata of English society.  It was also the time of Jane Austen (1775 – 1817) author of Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion and Mansfield Park.

Happily Ever After: Celebrating Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice can still claim to be the world’s favourite novel and is certainly a big favourite at the Abbey Museum. Pride and Prejudice will be the focus of the next Abbey Museum Friends‘ presentation by Susannah Fullerton OAM, FRSN on Saturday 23rd February 2019 at 7.30pm in the Abbey Hall.  Fans of Jane Austen and/or Susannah Fullerton will be fascinated to learn how Pride and Prejudice came to be written, the struggle to get it published and why it remains so popular more than 200 years after it first appeared

If you are an avid  ‘Janeite’ or simply just enjoy her writing, this event is for you.    Tickets can be purchased here.

fashion plates of dresses 1812 - 1822 in the Abbey Museum Collection