PROPERTY OF THE MONTH Regency styles
The Regency period lasted for just nine years, between 1811 and 1820, when the son of ‘Mad’ King George III ruled Britain in place of his father, who had been deemed unfit on the grounds of insanity. However, the Prince Regent, as he was known, who eventually became George IV following his father’s death, was hardly a safe pair of hands; he indulged himself in every pleasure possible. Probably his greatest achievement was establishing Brighton and Hove as fashionable seaside resorts.
In architectural and interior design terms, the influence of the Regency period still resonates. The dedication to decadence brought glamour into British homes for the first time. Although the precise and symmetrical lines of Georgian architecture remained, fanciful balconies and verandas, as well as imposing pillars and porticos were added. One notable structural development was the bow-fronted bay window. Interiors were a feast of sociable indulgence, with ‘knocked through’ living spaces and dramatic features, such as magnificent fireplaces and vivid wallpaper and paint. ‘The appeal of Regency properties comes down to the architectural detail: elegant proportions, high ceilings, cornicing, shutters and the relationship between the drawing rooms and living rooms, and the openings that linked them,’ says Luke Brady from Savills in Bath, a Regency hotspot if ever there was one.
If you’re looking for a home from this period, a spa town is a good place to start, as this was where the rich and well-connected went to party. Buxton in Derbyshire, Tunbridge Wells in Kent, the Clifton suburb of Bristol, and Royal Leamington Spa in Warwickshire (where the Grade-II listed townhouse pictured above is for sale with Sheldon Bosley Knight) were all fashionable destinations.
In London, Regent’s Park was created by John Nash, architectin-chief to the Prince Regent. He designed a whole new housing community, overlooking parkland and linked to commerce by the grand thoroughfare of Regent Street. These famous white-stuccoed, five-storey Grade I-listed Nash Terraces survive, despite extensive bomb damage in the Second World War, and the area is home to many celebrities including actor Sacha Baron Cohen, fashion designer Tom Ford and artist Damien Hirst.