The Regency Grand Tour


The Grand Tour was the custom of a traditional trip of Europe undertaken by upper class young when they came of age. (21) European gentlemen of sufficient means and rank would take a close family member with them to act as a chaperone. To ensure they suffered no hardship, they would often take their own Valet, Coachman and even a cook with them.

This custom first started around 1660 and continued until approximately the 1840s. Considered a rite of passage for all wealthy young men, the Grand Tour was initially undertaken to enhance their education and improve their language skills.

With nearly unlimited funds, aristocratic connections and no real desire to work, many a young gentleman stayed away from home, touring France, Italy and occasionally Greece for months or even years. Though the main cities to visit were in Italy, being Venice, Rome, Naples and Pompeii.

They would often commission paintings, buy marbles, coins and medals on their travels and have them shipped back home.

The primary value of the Grand Tour lay in its exposure to the cultural legacy, along with the opportunity to forge important connections, (which we know was most desirable in the Regency era) with the aristocratic and fashionably polite society of Europe. In addition, it often provided the only opportunity to view specific works of art, and possibly the only chance to hear certain music. To ensure they did not miss anything of worth, they commonly hired a Cicerone, a knowledgeable guide or tutor.

A popular book, An Account of Some of the Statues, Bas-Reliefs, Drawings, and Pictures in Italy published in 1722 by Jonathan Richardson and his son did much to popularize these trips.


The legacy of the Grand Tour lives on to the modern-day, still influencing the destinations that tourists choose to visit today.

Regency Design at its Best: Brighton Pavilion

The Royal Pavilion in Brighton, also known as the Royal Palace of Brighton, and later as Brighton Pavilion, was built as a seaside retreat in 1787 for the then Prince of Wales, the future Prince Regent, (1811-1820) and George IV.1820-1830

It was built in three stages and work was not completed on it until 1823. It was built in the Indo-Saracenic style, prevalent in India at the time.

The Prince of Wales first went Brighton ages 21 in 1783 on a visit to see his uncle, Prince Henry, The Duke of Cumberland. Prince George, who suffered from gout due to his opulent lifestyle, was advised by his physician that living near to the sea, and taking the waters, would improve this painful condition. Unfortunately, his excessive eating, drinking, gambling, and womanising only increased when he was away from the London courtiers who tried to curb his excesses.

Indeed, he often took his mistress, Maria Fitzherbert to stay with him. He is reported to have married Maria in a secret ceremony but it was deemed not valid as she was a catholic.

Initially, Henry Holland, (he designed Carlton House in London for the prince) was commissioned to extend a house, adding a breakfast room, a dining room and a library.


Then, in 1801-2, it was extended again, adding a new, larger dining room and an extensive conservatory, all constructed and decorated in the Neo-classical style.

At this time, the Prince Regent also purchased land surrounding the property. During 1803-1808 a grand riding school and stables were built in the Indian style. Designed by William Porden, these stables could accommodate 60 horses.

By now, the Royal Palace dwarfed the Marine Pavilion, the other major building in Brighton.
It was extended for the final time in 1815-1822 by the then famous architect John Nash. He added the distinctive domes and minarets that giving it the Taj Mahal look we can still see today.

Unique for its Indo-Saracenic exterior, it does not disappoint on its interior decoration.


The fanciful interior, primarily designed by Fredrick Crace, was aided by a little-known decorative painter, Robert Jones. Jones was heavily influenced by both Chinese and Indian fashions, and this is reflected by him turning away from the mainstream taste of the Neo-classical designs prominent in the Regency era.

Sadly, The Prince Regent, who was by now King George IV, only had seven years in which to enjoy the finished building, dying in 1830 aged 68.





*~* End of Summer Book Bonanza*~*

Hello my friends.

Today, I am launching  my **End of Summer Book Bonanza**

For a few days each year I reduce the price of ALL my books.

So, from the 28th August to 03rd September, ALL of my books will be selling for between $1 to $3 off the normal retail price.

Sale applied to eBook format, and will include Mr Darcy’s Proposal, the winner of the 2018 Book Cover of the Year Award.

Here is a list of the sites you can purchase them from.

Apple Books
Barnes & Noble
Google Play
Rakuten Kobo

(Please note, Amazon purchases are NOT included in this promotion)

Books included in the sale are;

Mr Darcy’s Struggle

Darcy to the Rescue

To Love Mr Darcy

Mr Darcy’s Proposal

A Love Most Ardent


A few interesting articles!

Dear All,

I have gathered a few articles about Jane Austen and posted links to them below, for your amusement and information. 

1. Disease, dependence and death: The dark reality behind Jane Austen’s pearlescent prose; by Ceri Radford

2. Despite Being a Best-Selling Author, Jane Austen Was Paid Very Little; Emily Alford

3. Hampshire home in Jane Austen’s former village is now for sale; by Lisa Walden.

4. Sanditon: The Jane Austen masterpiece that never was; by Rupert Christiansen.

5. Did Jane Austen write the first seaside novel?; by Kathryn Sutherland.







Do you like George or not, THAT is the question!


In Pride & Prejudice, Jane Austen intended George Wickham’s character to be the villain of the story: Yes, Darcy is a proud, arrogant and insufferable snob, but Wickham is definitely the villain:

Now, whether you are watching an adaptation from the original book or indulging in one of the modern-day variations, you either love him or hate him. Or do you?

My opinion differs depending on which of my two favourite adaptations I’m watching. They are the 1995 adaptation from Austen’s original manuscript by Sue Birtwistle and Andrew Davies and the modern-day version, Lost in Austen, by Guy Andrews. I can’t deny that both George’s are handsome, personable and look very nice in a scarlet uniform, but for me that is where the similarity ends. I must, however, give credit to two amazing actors for delivering such different versions of the same character. The 1995 GW was Adrian Lukis and the Lost in Austen actor was Tom Riley. Both were superb as George Wickham.

In the original I find Wickham to be a jealous, selfish cad. He’s a compulsive gambler, a liar and an accomplished despoiler of maidens. Unfortunately there is nothing in his character that I like, which is just as Austen intended.

When Wickham seduces Lydia.

However, in Guy Andrews’s version I find I quite like George. He’s honourable, gallant and insightful, offering assistance and advice wherever he can.

Examples; (Spoiler Alert!)
As the story unfolds we learn that Georgiana has persistently offered her virtue to George. He gently rebuffs her and calls her a sweet child; this obviously dents her pride and infuriates her. In retaliation for his rejection, she informs her brother that George has ravished her, and doting Darcy believes her. Poor George!

After Mrs Bennet ejects Amanda from Longbourn, George instructs her on how to act in society, gives her advice on where to go and what to do. Finally he gives her half his money so that she can buy a suitable gown to visit Jane at Rosings. (Love the fan scene)

He takes pity on Bingley, who is lamenting the loss of Jane to Mr Collins. He stays with him as he drowns his sorrows in the bottom of a bottle and then safely returns him to Pemberley, much to Darcy’s annoyance.

George, coming to the rescue of the ladies.

After Mr Bennet is injured in a sort of duel, it’s George that comes to his rescue. As the injured man lies on the floor bleeding to death, it is George that secures the services of a village woman who has knowledge of stitching wounds. In effect he saves Mr Bennet’s life.

These are not the actions of a villain but a genuinely nice human being, someone you could rely on in a crisis, someone you would be proud to call friend. Oh he is not all sweetness and like though have no fear, George certainly hasn’t lost his edge. There are times when he is more than a little mischievous.

Example; (Spoiler Alert!)
He spreads a rumour that Amanda’s wealth comes from the fish trade and then embellishes it by declaring her father has become a drunken sot and drank it all away. Untrue we know but it has repercussions in the story.

Oh yes, with this George as your friend life would never be dull, interesting and exciting maybe, but never dull. Though it would probably be a good idea to keep your wits about you, just in case;

I find I like the Guy Andrews George very much, almost as much as I like Darcy…..

What do you think?
Martine x

P/s Have you read my latest book yet, I would love to know what you think.



From Bath to Longbourn


On the way home from, Bath, we decided to drive to the house they used as Longbourn during the filming of the 1995 BBC TV series of Pride & Prejudice.

The scene above is of the horses waiting for the couple to emerge from the church after their marriage, as you can see below.

It all looks very picturesque in the TV series, but 24 years have lapsed since this joyful scene was filmed.

Longbourn was recently up for sale, as per my post of July 2018. (I believe it is sold now).

As I have yet to win the lottery, I will just have to make do with a visit to the outside of the house, and the church where Mr Darcy marries Elizabeth Bennet, and Mr Bingley marries, dear , sweet Jane Bennet.

The outside of Longbourn, or Luckington Court as it is in real life, is where we see Elizabeth returning from her morning walk. You can see the photo I took is from a slightly different angle, and the house is actually more pink in colour. (I have deleted the number plate for reasons of privacy and security)



The view of the church from the back garden.

The church has a picture in the porch of Mr Darcy and Elizabeth inside during their marriage. (but oddly, not of Jane & Mr Bingley).

The Church.


As you can see, the inside of the church has not changed. If you look at the plaque on the back wall, you can see we are in the right place.

Inside the Church


It was nice to visit ‘Longbourn’, to picture Lizzy and all the Bennet’s running around trying to sort out the chaos that George Wickham and Lydia inflicted upon them, but it was also slightly sad.

To know that this house, so perfectly suited to a regency family, is now a modern home, with no screeching girls arguing about bonnets, or fashionable young gentlemen paying calls on maidenly misses. Having said that, it was nice to tread in the steps of some of my favourite actors too.

Till next time,

Martine x

* ~ * ~ * A Few Days in Bath * ~ * ~ *

I recently spent a few days in Bath. Although it was not my first visit, I decided to revisit some of the places I went to several years ago.

The first picture was taken in The Jane Austen Centre. I think Jane was a little prettier than the manakin, but it is nice to see ‘Jane’ back where she once was.

I met Mr Bennet. He was so very nice, even though he must have his pictures taken hundreds of times a week. And there is a very nice picture of Colin Firth as Mr Darcy.


It was nice to see the fun side of the centre staff, when I visited the ladies powder room. We attended an in-depth talk telling us the history of Jane’s family and what happened to her siblings. Anne Elliot’s original costume from Persuasion was on display, and there is a blue English Heritage plaque on the spot where Jane and her elder sister Cassandra slept.


We had lunch in a lovely little bistro called Bridget’s Bakery. It was on the river with lovely views. Here are a few of the picture, including my lunch. (A delicious tuna sandwich and side salad)


We also visited the Royal Crescent, the gravel path where Jane walked for exercise, and the Assembly rooms.


And a visit to bath would not be complete without paying a visit to the grave of the man who encouraged Jane with her writing, her father.


And finally, there is a cute little café just a few doors down from The Jane Austen Centre, and of course, it is called, Darcy’s News Café.

I hope you have enjoyed this snap shot of my few days in Bath. My next post will be some pictures of Netherfield, Longbourn, and the church where Mr Darcy and Lizzy Bennet married.


Martine x