Petit Ranelagh or the French Ranelagh

Petit Ranelagh or the French Ranelagh
Ranelagh Gardens Rotunda in London. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Petit Ranelagh or the French Ranelagh, sometimes called Garden of the Ranelagh, has an interesting history. It began in 1773, with a barrier guard and a lodge keeper named Morison (also sometimes spelled Morisan). Morison had an inn in the Bois de Boulogne. He obtained permission from the Prince de Soubise, who was the governor of the Château de la Muette, to erect a building in imitation of the one built by the first Earl of Ranelagh. The Earl of Ranelagh’s had been built on the banks of the Thames between 1688–89 and was called Ranelagh Gardens. Continue reading

Explorer, Naturalist, and Ornithologist Extraordinaire François Levaillant

Explorer, naturalist, and ornithologist extraordinaire named François Levaillant
François Levaillant. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Explorer, naturalist, and ornithologist extraordinaire François Levaillant was born on 6 August 1753 in Paramaribo, the capital of Dutch Guiana (Surinam). His father, originally from Metz, was a rich merchant and served as French Consul. His parents had a great interest in collecting objects related to natural history, and because of their interest, they frequently traveled to various parts of the colony taking him with them.

Initially, Levaillant began collecting insects and caterpillars. By the age of ten, he had a collection, which he arranged according to his own system in order to identify insects. Later when he focused on birds and used a similar system to identify them, giving only French names to species that he discovered and refusing to use the systematic nomenclature introduced by Carl Linnaeus. Thus, some of the names he used remain in use today as common names for birds. Continue reading

Attempted Assassination of Napoleon Bonaparte in the 19th Century

Attempted assassination of Napoleon Bonaparte
Illustration of the Plot of the rue Saint-Nicaise, Courtesy of Wikipedia

Threats against Napoleon’s life were not rare. In fact, there were many assassination attempts. One failed royalist assassination attempt, known as the plot of the rue Saint-Nicaise, occurred on Christmas Eve in 1800. It resulted in a bomb blast and left Napoleon badly shaken but unscathed. Another failed attempt involved snuff. In this case, royalists infiltrated a group of workmen restoring Malmaison with a plan to switch Napoleon’s good snuff for poisoned snuff, but before they could bring their plan to fruition, it was discovered. The next failed attempt occurred in 1804 when royalists planned to kidnap Napoleon. However, instead of kidnapping him, the conspiracy was discovered and the conspirators arrested.

Despite all the failed attempts to kill Napoleon, one eager young lad decided he had the wherewithal to assassinate Napoleon after he became Emperor. Fortunately, before the young lad could carry out his dastardly deed, French Police discovered his intentions. The result of the police’s discovery resulted in a New York newspaper publishing an article about it in 1828. Here is their report provided almost verbatim: Continue reading

Vehicle Titles, Origins, and Descriptions of the 1700 and 1800s, S-Z

vehicle titles, origins, and descriptions of the 1700 and 1800s
Sedan Chair with Painted Panels Attributed to Charles Antoine Coypel. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, there were a huge variety of vehicles. Because there were so many, it sometimes became confusing as to their names, where they originated from, and the differences between vehicles. Thus, to help people understand vehicle titles, origins, and descriptions of the 1700 and 1800s vehicles, here is a list from S to Z.

Savanilla Phaeton – This was the name given a variety of Phaetons used in Bangkok, Siam.
Sedan Cab – A type of Cab invented and patented by Chauncey Thomas of Boston, Massachusetts. It was so named because it resembled the outlines of the Sedan Chair. Sedan Chairs were first introduced in England in 1635 and soon became popular in London. The intention was to “interfere with the too-frequent use of coaches, to the hindrance of the carts and carriage employed in the necessary provision of the city and suburbs of London.” Continue reading

Death of Ferdinand Philippe, Duke of Orléans

Death of Ferdinand Philippe, Duke of Orléans: Duke of Orléans
Duke of Orléans by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

In July of 1842, a sad event occurred. It was the accidentally death of Ferdinand Philippe when he fell from his carriage. He was the son of King Louis Philippe I and Maria Amalia of Naples and Sicily, and he was born in his mother’s native Sicily in Palermo, on Monday 3 September 1810, during his parents’ exile.

Ferdinand Philippe was originally given the title Duke of Chartres and for this reason affectionately called “Chartres” within the family circle. However, he had been baptized Ferdinand Philippe Louis Charles Henri, and most people knew him as Ferdinand Philippe in honor of his grandfathers, Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies and Philippe Égalité. In addition, as the oldest son, Ferdinand Philippe was heir to the title Duke of Orléans, which was the name he was usually referred to at the time of his death and the name that I will refer to him in this post. Continue reading

A Georgian Footman’s Guide to Opening the Door and Announcing Names

Footman. Author’s Collection.

The Georgian footman’s job was to open the door and announce names, and this task began when someone knocked at the door. The footman was to go immediately to the door, and, if for some reason he was unavailable to answer the door, he was to arrange with a fellow-servant to perform the task because it was considered improper and unpleasant to keep someone waiting. Footmen were advised that

“A little time is of great consequence to some persons, and particularly to tradespeople who may have another appointment to attend to; consider also that whenever you delay unnecessarily going to the door, or answering the bell, you are off your duty and culpable for being so.”

If a double knock occurred at the street door, the footman was to inquiry as to who was on the other side of the door. However, before doing so, the footman was to have already inquired within the family whether they were willing to see anyone. If they were willing to see someone, there was to be no confusion when the footman asked the question as to who was at the door. When opening the street door to a visitor, the door was to be thrown wide open but not so wide or hard as to damage the door handle or the wall. The footman was then to stand with the door open at the sill of the door and receive the visitor or answer any message delivered. Continue reading

Pichegru Conspiracy

Jean-Charles Pichegru and Georges Cadoudal, Public Domain

The Pichegru Conspiracy, also known the Cadoudal Affair, was a conspiracy to overthrow Napoleon Bonaparte’s military regime. The conspiracy involved royalists Jean-Charles Pichegru and Georges Cadoudal. Pichegru had served briefly in the American Revolution and as a distinguished general in the French Revolutionary Wars, and Cadoudal was a Breton politician and leader of the Chouannerie during the French Revolution.

Continue reading

Vehicle Titles, Origins, and Descriptions of the 1700 and 1800s, L-R

vehicle titles, origins, and descriptions of the 1700 and 1800s
Landaulette From 1816. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, there were a huge variety of vehicles. Because there were so many, it sometimes became confusing as to their names, where they originated from, and the differences between vehicles. Thus, to help people understand titles, origins, and descriptions of vehicles from the 1700 and 1800s, here is a list from L to R.

Landau – It is believed that the name came from the German town Landau, in Bavaria, where it was supposedly first built. A description of the Landau in 1790 claims: Continue reading

Vehicle Titles, Origins, and Descriptions of the 1700 and 1800s, D-K

Vehicle Titles, Origins, and Descriptions of the 1700 and 1800s
The Diligence. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, there were a huge variety of vehicles. Because there were so many, it sometimes became confusing as to their names, where they originated from, and the differences between the vehicles. Thus, to help people understand titles, origins, and descriptions of vehicles from the 1700 and 1800s, here is a list from D to K. Continue reading

21 Interesting Facts For Travelers to France in the Regency Era

Entrance to the Théâtre de l’Ambigu-Comique on the day of a free show. Painted by Louis-Léopold Boilly (1819). Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Travelers to France in the Regency Era were plentiful. There were many sites to see and many places to visit that included public baths, palaces and hotels, hospitals, museums, literary societies, public libraries, manufacturing sites, theatres, halls and markets, squares, prisons, cemeteries, parks, gardens, cafes, triumphal arches, exhibitions and assembly rooms, eating establishments, and promenades and public walks. There were also at least 21 interesting facts that travelers to France might want to keep in mind during their visit. Continue reading