QUEEN CHARLOTTE'S BIRTHDAY BALL:
The annual symposium on Entertaining in the
Canadas in the 18th & 19th centuries
» Reference and Resources «
- About Her Majesty, Queen
- Some Dances
we have done
Various interesting and informative
Links for your perusal
concerning the History, Food, Clothing and Dance of the Georgian
and Regency periods.
- The People
behind Queen Charlotte's Birthday Ball
- Wonderful things we have eaten
Queen Charlotte (1744 - 1818) Sophie Charlotte, Princess of
Mecklenburg-Strelitz, and Queen and Consort of George III, King of Great
Britain and Ireland, and Hanover from 1761 until his death in 1820.
Her Majesty seems to have been a remarkable woman by all accounts. She
was a devoted wife and mother. She bore King George 15 princes and princesses
and stood by him with dignity and strength through the illness that
lead him into madness in 1788 and eventually killed him. She was a patroness
of art, music and literature and a friend to the poor and needy. Her
own accomplishments included playing the harpsichord -- Johann Christian
Bach was her friend and teacher -- as well as needlework and botany.
The famous Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew flourished under her personal
support. Her letters show her to be an intelligent, compassionate, thoughtful
woman and a true and loyal friend, a splendid example of a lady of character.
For an excellent introduction to Queen Charlotte's life and works, see
Angelika S. Powell and Jean L. Cooper's Queen
Charlotte, 1744-1818: A Bilingual Exhibit
Some dances we have done:
- Carey Owen
- Butter'd Pease
- Tars of the Victory
- Jupon Rouge
- Voulez Vous Dancer
- Irish Washerwoman
- Bobbing Joan (or Love and Whiskey)
- College Hornpipe
- Drops of Brandy
- Roger D'Coverley or The Finishing Dance
(I will be posting descriptions and instructions for these dances
Divers Links of interest and usefulness to the aspiring
Queen Charlotte's Birthday Ball-goer:
- Jessica Warner,
author of Craze. Gin and Debauchery in an Age of
Reason -- Dr. Warner is Professor of History at the University of
Toronto and also a reesearch scientist at the Cantre for Addiction and
Mental Health. She describes her book as "a parable about
drugs, why some people take them and other people worry when they do."
Her account of the original urban drug problem and officialdom's attempts
to eradicate it make for interesting and thought-provoking reading.
By the way, her website is called www.mothergin.com.
- Need a costume in a hurry? Malabar's
Costume Rental in downtown Toronto has a large stock of
excellent quality period garments for men and women. They're not cheap
but the quality is very good, and staff is knowledgable and helpful.
Look on the racks marked "Empire". Expect to pay $100 or more,
but you'll get a beautifully-constructed theatrical quality costume
with all the right accessories and if you give them a couple days notice
they will alter it to fit you perfectly. Tell them you're going to Queen
Charlotte's Birthday Ball!!
- Prints George,
an extensive collection of Georgian, Regency and Victorian prints
& map reproductions &ct., many available on CD ROM. Excellent
source for period fashion engravings, hairstyles, recipes, beauty tips
and cartoons scanned from period sources such as Ackermann's Repository,
La Belle Assemblée, The Lady's Magazine, and
The Lady's Monthly Museum. Caution: The warning reads, "This
site is best viewed with tongue in cheek"
- Eras of Elegance
-- These people offer a wealth of information about the Georgian and
Regency and other periods. Their pages include history, fashions, scientific
discoveries and other highlights of each era. They also sell period-related
books, movies and accessories.
- Antique and
Vintage Dress Gallery -- OK, this is the *real* thing.
If you are interested in gowns this lady has some beauties, they're
200 years old and in the $1,000 to $2,000 USD bracket. Big problem (besides
the $) is that these dresses are *tiny* -- but visit her site frequently
and scoop all the pretty photos, then make one in your size. Last time
I looked she had a pair of 1830's silk slipper/boots, made in Paris,
asking a mere $385 USD, size 2 1/2. Sigh.
Regency Costume Companion is an excellent resource for
Regency apparel and fashion. Very knowlegeable and comprehensive. Large
sections for gentlemen's fashion, footwear, hairstyles and undergarments.
Country Dancing in Toronto -- our good neighbours up the
road, tell 'em we sent you.
etiquette -- "The Top Ten (plus) Things That Make
a Good (Contra) Dancer" -- pointers on sense and sensitivity from
Jonathan Sivier's website.
Arts Society -- dedicated to the preserving,
teaching and dancing historic dances. Based in New York City, New Haven,
CT and frequently appearing, oddly enough, at science fiction conventions.
Well, maybe not so odd... what would be danced on Darkover or Pern?
- Jenny Chancey of Sense
and Sensibility Patterns has designed gowns in the Regency
style and (oh joy!) has made modern-style paper patterns for people
who'd like to make their own gowns and Butterick just doesn't get the
The People behind Queen Charlotte's
Those of us who have enjoyed the Queen Charlotte's Birthday Balls over
the past five years know that the Moving Forces behind this event are
the staff and volunteers of Historic
Fort York in Toronto, the Friends
of Fort York and the York
Regency Dancers who are based there. We are especially
- Melanie Garrison, Historic Fort York's secretary
and mainstay of the Fort York Regency Dancers, who is our Dancing
Mistress for the dance workshops and the Ball. She won't admit
it, but we suspect this whole Queen Charlotte's Birthday Ball
thing is her idea.
- Ken Purvis, program officer at Historic
Fort York, who organizes all the music, much of which he has
transcribed from original manuscripts. Ken plays flute for the
dance workshops and leads the musicians for the Ball, the Rakes
of Hogtown (2002 and 2003) and Captain Ken
and the cHarlottes (2004). He is also a member of the
period band Gin Lane.
- Bridget Wranich, program officer at Historic
Fort York and co-founder of Culinary Historians of Ontario,
who organizes the very authentic, extremely tasty and, I must
add, plentiful food and drink.
- The Fort York Volunteer Cooks division of
the Friends of Fort York who make us wonderful and authentic
snacks and desserts and rarely hang around to get the thanks
they deserve. By the way, guys, congratulations on your newly
restored brick bake oven!
Wonderful things we have eaten and drunk:
- Mulligatawny Soup (2003 and 2004 versions)
- Kit-Kat Pie (2004)
- Potato and Onion Pie (2003 and 2004)
- Grilled Sausages with Cheese (2004)
- Braised Red Cabbage
- Grilled Root Vegetables
- Queen's Cakes
- Apple Charlotte (2004)
- Pears Poached in Port (2002)
- Everlasting Syllabubs
Not only the recipes but the menus are based on period sources.
The original recipes have been adapted for modern cooks and
kitchens by Bridget Wranich, program officer
at Historic Fort York and are reproduced with permission.
For more recipes and information on period cooking at Fort
York contact her at (416) 392-6907, ext 225.
The break-time snack table at the 2004 dance workshop, many
thanks to Fort York's Volunteer Historic Cooks.