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Rachel's writing and research and Regency History blog summary
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Rachel's month


August seems such a long time ago! My month sped by with lots of visitors – the result, I guess, of having a large family and living by the seaside. We went to London for a bloggers’ event at Buckingham Palace showcasing their current exhibition, A Royal Welcome. The most exciting aspect of the tour was that, for the first time, we were allowed to take photographs of some of the State Rooms in the palace. I shared some of these photos in my blog about the exhibition, but I have kept back some to illustrate a blog about Buckingham Palace itself, when I finally get round to writing the blog that goes with it! Our visits this month included Twinings tea shop, Dr Johnson’s House Museum, A la Ronde, Stratfield Saye - home of the Duke of Wellington - and Goodwood House - home of the Duke of Richmond.

I am delighted to announce a giveaway of A Perfect Match on Goodreads – if you haven’t read it yet, why not enter for a chance to win a free copy?
 

Rachel 
Willett's camera obscura at the Jane Austen Festival 2015

What is a camera obscura?

by Rachel Knowles
 
Walking around the Parade Gardens in Bath at the end of the Jane Austen Festival promenade last weekend, I noticed a small tent advertising itself as a camera obscura. I knew that these were popular entertainments in the Regency period, but I wasn’t exactly sure what they were and so I was eager to investigate.

We were ushered into a darkened tent, with the only light coming in through a hole in the top. We were able to see moving images of the outside world being projected onto a white surface in the middle of the tent. I am not at all technically minded, but I understand that this was achieved by using mirrors and lenses to focus and direct the light. By turning a wheel, we could rotate the mechanism to give a different view and even follow people around the gardens. There were also smaller white board circles which could be lifted up to help bring different objects into focus.

I have since discovered that artists like Canaletto and Sir Joshua Reynolds used a small box-like camera obscura to help them paint, whilst larger camera obscuras like the tent in the park thrived at the seaside and other places with great views.

There is a reference to a camera obscura in a guidebook to Weymouth published around 1800 and I am delighted to think that I now have a better idea of what it might have been like.

All photographs © Andrew Knowles
Links to my August posts:
A Royal Welcome at Buckingham Palace collage
Front cover of A Social History of Tea by Jane Pettigrew
Front cover of A Perfect Match by Rachel Knowles
Reclaim Time historical fiction competition banner
A collage of travelling chariots
Goodwood House
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Copyright © 2015 Rachel Knowles, All rights reserved.


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