I recently found an invitation in my inbox to come visit a new blog written by Kristine Hughes and Victoria Hinshaw, two of my favorite Regency and Victorian enthusiasts and researchers. Of course I dropped by immediately and found a delightful treasure trove of information. My next thought was to make sure all of you discovered their blog, Number One London, as well. So just to introduce you, here are Kristine Hughes and Victoria Hinshaw:
EB: Number One London is an exciting new blog! What do you intend to do and share with your newfound readers?
KH: We intend to share everything that’s decent – research articles, bits of British nonsense, film and book recommendations, travel stories, musings, etc.
VH: Wait a minute! I know of some VERY INDECENT Gillray material we might use. But seriously, I adore research and I love to spread it around, whether in a novel, in a talk or a newsletter article, or on the blog. I like to write about what I love to do: read and write books, see films and especially travel. I love Country Houses and their families through the years. And did we mention travel?
EB: I love the Gillray material! I am going to ask Avon to do one of my covers after a print of his that I think is great fun. Now on to more serious matters, Regency or Victorian? Who is more fun?
KH: What happened to Georgian? Jeez, don’t ask me, I don’t have a preference. I suppose the Regency personalities themselves seem more fun from this distance – Brummell, the Prince of Wales, all those outrageous Lady Patronesses . . . . . . .
VH: For fun, it’s Regency, hands down. But I suspect the Victorians get a bad rap for being serious and prudish.
EB: Why do you think the Regency setting is so popular? And just for the record, the answer: Colin Firth does not count.
VH: People love the lifestyles of the rich and famous of the era. Who doesn’t want to be whisked away in a landau? I love stories in which heroines who basically have nothing going for them – little or no money, perhaps inferior family, no legal status whatsoever – confront and conquer men in tight pants!! Or is that too much like talking about Colin Firth?
KH: I realize this is going to sound very shallow, but I truly believe that the costume of the period infuses the period with a romance that translates well to the screen. Sure, the actual stories have to have merit, but when coupled with the gauzy dresses and satin slippers, the very feminine hair styles, the tight breeches, frock coats and cravats, the story seems lusher and more fairytale-like and Inherently more romantic.
VH: And those red-coat uniforms. Sigh.
EB: No, I don’t think that’s shallow in the least. I have to agree. I recently saw Young Victoria, which I loved, but the entire time I kept thinking to myself, “Wow, those dresses look so uncomfortable.” And I have to admit to a weakness for a top coat, tall beaver hat and breeches. Sigh.
Okay, not that I’ve gotten over that little moment, please tell us a little about yourselves and why your lifelong interests in these time periods?
KH: I have no explanation. Any time I’m asked this question I reply that I might as well be asked why I prefer chocolate ice cream over vanilla. It’s just a part of me. I always feel somewhat shocked when I realize that “our” period actually existed 200-250 years ago. To my mind, it doesn’t seem that far removed.
VH: I am a Janeite for sure, and I love to teach Pride & Prejudice to high school girls. They think they won’t like it, but as soon as they start hearing about a guy who’d say “She isn’t pretty enough to interest me” they have to know what happens. I do not remember my first Austen experience but someone – probably a teacher – started me off, and once I got over being a horse-crazy pre-teen, I had my nose in a book all the time.
EB: Your upcoming trip to London and Waterloo sounds wonderful. Are you counting the days until June? I know I would be!
VH: I am in the midst of setting up appointments at the Hertfordshire Archives, the V&A Art Library and the British Library. Once those are arranged, I will jump out of my skin any minute.I am trying to read and re-read everything I can get my hands on about Waterloo and Wellington. Of course, Kristine is the expert on the Iron Duke. You should see her beautiful house full of groaning shelves and lots of pictures of the Duke in all his Sir Thomas Lawrence glory.
KH: It had better arrive soon or Victoria and I will drive each other crazy with shared anticipation and additions to the itinerary. Right now, I think we have about fifty-seven things on the schedule for the London portion of the trip alone. We’ve been reduced to seeing which places are open in the evenings, as our days are already full. I know it’s been said before, but we are definitely going to need a vacation from our vacation. As well as a few stiff drinks.
VH/KH: Thanks for asking us to sound off. We hope people let us know what their favorite topics are.
EB: My pleasure. You wouldn’t have room for me in your suitcases . . . What? No? Well, then we will all have to go along with you vicariously through your blog! Thanks for dropping by. And everyone, don’t miss, Number One London. I added it to my blog reader immediately.