PROP­ERTY OF THE MONTH Re­gency styles

House Beautiful (UK) - - CONTENTS -

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.

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