Art in Regency England Domenic Riggins

In the story of Pride and prejudice we learn a substantial amount of what happened during the regency england time period, but one thing we don't really get an understanding of is what they did for fun. The book written by Jane Austen is a heavily filled book of drama and love triangles. We see as the story progressed that Mr.Bingley has lost interest in Jane then all of a sudden comes back to Jane wanting to be in her life again. With Elizabeth we see almost all of the main characters fall in love with her. First it was Mr.collins, then mister Wickham, and then it ended all with Mr.Darcy the first person she has meet. Elizabeth has first meet Darcy at a ball thrown by the Bingley family because of their move to Netherfield . As we read through that section of the book it seems to be that almost everybody at the ball is dancing which is an example of what they have practised during the time period. With more people dancing and knowing the same kind of dance shows that dancing was a big part of the social norms during those times which would be an example of having fun. It seems to be that art was a very frequent activity during regency england. Another occurrence was at Lady Catherine's house in Rosings. Elizabeth was practically forced to play the Piano even after she said she could not. after Elizabeth said that she could not play the piano the mood of the night changes because everybody knew how to play the piano in that era.

Pride and prejudice had many things in common with the world now such as getting invitations to someone’s party or enjoying meals with another family. But one thing that has changed is art. In pride and prejudice when the bennet family is introduced to the Bingley’s they are invited to go to the ball that they have thrown. Their main intentions to go is to find the daughters a husband which later on happened. At the party Mr.Bingley tries to encourage Mr.Darcy to dance with Elizabeth. “Come, Darcy, I must have you dance… I hate to see you standing about by yourself in shis stupid manner”. By Mr.Bingley saying this it shows a very unique aspect of what is expected during this time period. In a ball you were required to acquire a partner to dance with, such as a young female dancing with a young male. Females were not allowed to refuse a dance unless she was not to dance anymore of the night. And as it goes for gentlemen they were supposed to dance with a variety of partners throughout the night if they failed to do so they would bring an offence to the rest of the people at the ball. One of the most famous dances to have at a ball was called the “Waltz” Many people did not like this dance at first because it was beyond tradition. This Dance required much physical contact which most people found most shocking. Back in that period most dances was mainly just with one partner but this specific dance required two or more partners to dance, mainly alternating throughout the dance.

Dancing was the only form of art found in Regency England. Back then they had musical instruments such as pianos, and one of the most common the harp. In the story of Pride and Prejudice Elizabeth visits lady Catherine at Rosings where they go and enjoy a meal. During the meal lady Catherine brings up a topic about music, she asks “ Do your sisters play and sing?” Elizabeth “One of them does” Lady Catherine is founded about the idea that her family does not have very much musical background. As they talk for a little bit longer the talk of having a governess comes up.(if you did not know what a governess was it was a female character in a private household to teach the children multiple things like simple learning tasks to playing the piano) Mrs Lady Catherine asks “Has your governess left you?” “We never had any governess” “No Governess! How is that possible?Five daughters brought up at home without a governess! I never heard of such a thing” In this passage you can understand the very obvious society rankings. As Lady Catherine can not comprehend why no family would not have a governess Elizabeth starts to play with her word choice and gets herself into a sticky situation. Lady Catherine insist that Elizabeth should play the Piano which causes her to get a little bit embarrassed as she tries to delay herself from playing and trying to persuade herself out of playing. During the regency period The only music available in the home was that which amateur or professional performers could produce on the spot so that the ability to play music well was very essential for that. From childhood on, young ladies were expected to play a musical instrument and study with music masters.(which the Bennet family did not put a lot of emphasis on) Gentlemen sang as well and formed impromptu amateur groups that entertained in taverns and men’s clubs. While the females played piano for their enjoyment of for private balls.

Art has really changed from the regency era to the modern day. In Regency England her main object in painting was royal palaces and queens/kings. If you look at modern day art it can be just about anything. Back in the regency era art was mainly focused on the normal things you would see throughout your days, such as a ballroom or high social class citizens. Regency art was more formal than art we see today. Art in today and age are filled with more color and more contrast than they were back then. Take for example a painting of a flower, which a lot of color is needed to would not be formal to make a painting of something that does not have importance You did not see very much or little to none of paintings that involve the environment.

As we see art in Pride and Prejudice, it's not just painting it’s all art. From dancing to playing a musical instrument to painting as well. Jane Austen used fun and unique ways to show her passion for art. From fancy ballrooms, of men who don't know how to ask a girl to a dance to having a governess teach you how to play and learn. The regency era of England was a time of music and understanding of art. Which has long surpassed us now. In the modern day not much of us care for artworks or instrumental music. Art has been slowly dying over the years but for the ones who embrace it will keep the spirit living

“Jane Austen and Music.” Jane Austen's World, 13 July 2010, Accessed 30 Mar. 2017.

Maxwell, Catherine. "'Devious Symbols': Dante Gabriel Rossetti's Purgatorio." Poetry Criticism, edited by David M. Galens, vol. 44, Gale, 2003. Literature Resource Center, Accessed 30 Mar. 2017. Originally published in Victorian Poetry, vol. 31, no. 1, Spring 1993, pp. 19-40.

"England Historical Fiction." A private Regency Ball, 17 Octover 2015.

Created By
Domenic Riggins


Created with images by Renaud Camus - "Le Jour ni l'Heure 4162 : Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1769-1830, Miss Sweeting (plus tard Mrs Alnutt), c. 1800, musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, Palais Saint-Pierre, vendredi 3 juin 2011, 17:01:30" • AnnemarieBon - "chandelier royal palace compiègne" • Mauro Cateb - "Miniature silver grand piano" • WikiImages - "queen marie antoinette woman" • Mark Morgan Trinidad B - "Sound of Music"

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