Regency Lady’s Dressing Table

What might we have found on the Regency Lady’s Dressing Table?

I think we can guarantee most of the items in the Regency Lady’s bedchamber would have been fashioned by hand. The little candlestick bases, jewelry-bowl cover, and hairbrush in the photograph certainly don’t date from that period, but perhaps they are similar to those found on a lady’s dressing table in the early 19th Century (except for the protective plastic covers of course!).  Hand-worked cloths would have been the norm and perhaps a vase of flowers or pot-pouri  to freshen the air.

Flowers for romantic Regency dressing table
A china jug of roses and pinks add fragrance to the Regency bedchamber.

Kashmir shawls were a light, practical accessory

On the chair beside the dressing table is a paisley shawl ready to be draped across the lady’s shoulders when the air grew chill. Genuine Kashmir shawls with their beautiful patterns, were prized additions to the Regency lady’s wardrobe and a light, practical accessory to add warmth whether inside or out-of-doors. I bought my light wool shawl on a visit to India and often throw it around my shoulders on chilly evenings.

A light woolen shawl was a practical accesory.
Shawls, especially genuine Kashmir shawls were prized by ladies in Regency England.

There may have been an ivory fan, a pair of kid gloves and a reticule waiting to be gathered up for the evening. Perhaps a silver box of calling cards, or an enamel container for trinkets. Satin ribbons, combs and jewellery would have adorned the simple hairstyles favoured in Regency times.

A hairbrush-back embroidered by hand.
Regency ladies must have spent hours embroidering.

The photographs show some of my ‘treasures’, things that are special to me and inspire me to imagine a woman’s life in earlier times when hours would have been spent needle-in-hand making decorative items, mending or sewing all manner of garments by hand. I have many embroidered cloths that I don’t use but would never part with! Do you have similar treasures? Things that are particularly meaningful to you?

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