Thursday, September 29, 2011

Update on Mr. Darcy's Bite

The e-book of Mr. Darcy's Bite is fine. There never was a problem with it. This was a printing mistake, and Sourcebooks is checking their inventory to see if more than one box of 20 books was affected. They are really doing a thorough check which is best for everyone. I will let you know as soon as I find out anything. Thank you for your patience. Mary

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Two Inches of Ivory - Miniature Portrait Painting in the Regency Era

National Portrait Gallery
The following is a combination of two articles Tony Grant wrote on his blog, London Calling, about painting on ivory. He has kindly agreed to share them with my readers.

This particular drawing of Jane Austen was done on paper, but it serves a similar purpose to those done on ivory that Jane references:

Jane wrote to her nephew, James Edward Austen, on 16 December 1816. She congratulated him on leaving Winchester College and commiserated with him about his time there. Jane writes to him in terms as an equal in novel writing.

“Uncle Henry writes very superior sermons. You and I must try and get hold of one or two and put them into our novels.”

Then she explains the difference between their writing: Uncle Henry's is “strong, manly, spirited-- Sketches full of Variety and Glow.” Hers is comparable to a “little bit (two inches wide) of ivory on which I work with so fine a brush, as produces little effect after much labour?”

Ivory Tusk

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How My Grandson Got His Name

Today I am the featured blogger on Austen Authors. I am writing about my grandson, Skyler, and how he got his name. I hope you will click on the link and find out. To entice you, I'm posting pictures of the little dear. He's now crawling all over the place, pulling himself up on my couch, pulling down my tablecloth, pushing over my potted plant, teething on my coffee table, and locating every electric cord in the house. But how can you complain when the little guy is so obviously adorable?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Balloon Tragedy - Part 3 of Balloonamania

de Rozier
The first balloon crossing of the English Channel was met with cheers from enthusiastic bystanders. Unfortunately, Blanchard and Jeffries's success was followed by a horrible tragedy.

On June 15, 1785, Pilatre de Rozier attempted to fly across the Channel in the opposite direction, from Boulogne to Dover, possibly to prove that England could be invaded from the air.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mrs. Sage and Balloonist Lunardi - Part 2 of Balloonamania

After Blanchard and Jeffries’ first successful cross-channel balloon flight, there was Mrs. Sage, an actress famed for her full figure, who became the “first aerial female” in June 1785.

“The launch was made from Hyde Park and was attended by a huge and raucous crowd. Mrs. Sage, in a low-cut silk dress presumably designed to reduce wind resistance, was to be accompanied by Vincent Lunardi [a famed balloonist]… In his haste to depart, Lunardi failed to do up the lacings of the gondola’s door. As the balloon sailed away over Piccadilly, the crowd was treated to the provoking sight of the beautiful Mrs. Sage on all fours in the open entrance of the gondola. The crowd assumed that she had fainted and was perhaps receiving some kind of intimate first aid from Mr. Biggin. In fact she was coolly re-threading the lacings to make the gondola safe again… In due course the two of them were lunching peacefully off sparkling Italian wine and cold chicken, occasionally calling to people below through a speaking trumpet.”

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

First Balloon Crossing of the English Channel - Part 1 of Balloonamania

On January 7, 1785, the first cross-channel crossing by balloon took place between England and France. The balloon carried Frenchman Jean-Pierre Blanchard and American physician, Dr. John Jeffries, who had served as a military surgeon on the British side in the American Revolution.

On that winter’s morning, the two aeronauts (a newly coined term for the balloon age) lifted off from the top of Dover cliff to attempt the first ever Channel crossing. As they began to drift toward Calais, they steadily lost height over the water. “By two-thirds of the way across they had progressively jettisoned all the sand ballast, all their food, and most of their technical equipment, except the precious barometer and one bottle of brandy. But the balloon continued to drop, until it was well below the level of the approaching cliffs of the Pas de Calais. They now began to perform an aerial striptease.”*