Saturday, December 31, 2011

Waiting for Midnight - New Year's Eve

Another year has come and gone and as we close on 2011 I wanted to create a fun piece of digital art using some of the Ackermann Repository images I've been posting in the last half of this year.

Waiting for Midnight by EKDuncan 2011
Many Regency era balls and gatherings went late into the night and onto the early morning hours; so as we wait up to ring in the new year, my pretty ladies are wishing you all a very Happy New Year.

I celebrate the passing of 2011 as the year I learned Photoshop and started to create digital art.
I look forward to a more exciting 2012 as I expand on those creative skills and add to them.

Thanks to all my blog followers and those who have let me know how much you are enjoying my posts and the images.  I hope you find my posts for 2012 just as enjoyable.

Here are the items I used to create 
"Waiting for Midnight"

Regency Ladies
Fashions for 1827 & 1828

41 of my favorite Ackermann Fashion plates
I took 41 of my favorite Ackermann Fashion plates, removed the backgrounds and created 
png of them so they could easily be used in digital art creations like the scene above 
"Waiting for Midnight". A zip file of them can be downloaded from my deviantArt account 
by going HERE and clicking the download button.

Ackermann's Repository published 2 fashion plates in every monthly issue from 1809 - 1828
and they are all posted by year here on my blog - here are the quick links for them all.

Ackermann's ran series 1 from 1809 - 1815
Ackermann's ran series 2 from 1816 - 1822

Regency Scenery & Curtains

Blue Curtain

I used both the "open window" and "curtain only" images in my digital scene.
This allowed me to add extra "drop shadow" in Photoshop for the curtain portion of the image.
Curtain only - png

Blank window - png

Original Ackermann's 1820 Curtain Furniture Plate
 I love to play and tinker with images so I can use them in my digital artwork.
Here is an example where I took one of the Ackermann Repository curtain plates
and adjusted it to my creative needs.

You can view all the Original Ackermann Repository curtain plates HERE
To see all my post using Ackermann Repository curtains click HERE

The EKDuncan "digital art ready png versions" of the Ackermann Curtains
are on my deviantART account - HERE

Back Room

EKDuncan version of the below Ackermann's Image
I created a room by duplicating and flipping the below image in Photoshop and then
adjusting some color filters to get the look I was going for to add to my scene.

To learn more see my "Create a Room" post on my other blog "My Fanciful Muse".

The Original Ackermann's Furniture Plate

 1824 Regency Clock

EKDuncan version of the original clock
 There had to be a timepiece in my scene so if you look to the very back of the room
you will see a clock sitting on the table against the back wall.

1824 - Ackermann's Repository - Original Image

Framing the Scene

I don't like to leave my scene "hanging" in space so I usually frame them.
In "Waiting for Midnight" the frame is a composite of a real frame and a fireplace surround
from and 1813 issue of Ackermann's Repository.

EKDuncan frame composite
Original 1813 Ackermann's Furniture Plate of a "Smoke Conductor"
If you look real close you will notice the blue portion of this fireplace surround was used
as one of the elements of the frame around the Midnight scene.

The metal frame portion and other real frames from my
personal collection can be seen on my deviantArt account -  HERE

I hope you have enjoyed this last post for 2011 and I look forward to starting
2012 with a few more posts from Ackermann's Repository.

 Wishing you all my best.

PS - to see other fun digital scene I've created using
Ackermann Repository images, see the links below.

Happy Christmas
Beautiful Day for a Walk
Regency Ladies with a Gothic View
Regency Ladies with a Curtain View
Regency Beauties - Set the Stage
Ladies in a Midnight Garden
Regency Ghost Scene

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Ornaments using Regency Fashion Plates from Ackermann's Repository

I had planned to create a series of Regency inspired Christmas ornaments using a variety 
of the lovely ladies from the Ackermann's Repository issues 1809-1828 to add to my tree 
this year; but as you all know, sometime life gets in the way of art.

Digital Christmas Card by EKDuncan using digital Christmas ornaments of Regency ladies

It's sad to say but the night before I was to create my fun pieces of 3-D art; 
I received a call that my mother had stomach cancer and was being admitted to the 
hospital for surgery the next day. So naturally, I packed up some necessary item, 
hoped in my car and headed out of town.

I'm happy to report that the surgery went well and she is on her way to recovering.
As of this post she has been in the hospital for 4 days with 4 more to go before
she gets to go home - just in time for Christmas.

I've used my spare time here in the hospital to create digital versions 
of the ornaments I had originally intended to make for my tree.
I've also taken some of those digital images and created the above Christmas Greeting.


I love reading romance novels, especially Regency ones and if they are 
Christmas Regency Romances - that's the icing on the cake for sure.

This series of ornaments calls to mind a lovely book I read last weekend by Larissa Lyons.
"Miss Isabella Thaws a Frosty Lord" it is a delightful Regency Christmas story
that I thoroughly enjoyed reading; and it was the inspiration
for the digital Christmas Greeting I opened this post with.

 "Miss Isabella Thaws a Frosty Lord" takes place in 1813 Regency England at a house party
through the 12 days of Christmas; which in Europe starts on Dec 25th and runs
till January 6th - the Epiphany. (see my EKDuncan Epiphany post from 2010).

The Regency romance that inspired my digital Christmas card.
  This Christmas story by Larissa Lyons is a touching romance about two lonely people
with little chance of happiness; who fate finally smiles upon and they get their happy ending .
There is a bit of sadness, some funny scenes and several memorable moments involving
mistletoe - thus my use of mistletoe for the ornaments to hang from in my digital card.

There is also a scene in the book involving a fur muff Isabella received as a Christmas gift
- Notice that three of my ornaments are of ladies with a fur muff and one of them is
an 1813 fashion plate to boot.

I hope you enjoy seeing the digital ornaments I created and that you get a chance to read
"Miss Isabella Thaws a Frosty Lord" this Holiday season.



Here are the Regency inspired ornaments 
I created using a variety of
Fashion plates from Ackermann's Repository.

Regency inspired ornament using a variety of Ackermann fashion plates

Ornament using 1812 & 1814 fashion plates from Ackermann's Repository

1813 Fashion are in this ornament - same year as in the romance novel

1813 Morning Dress with Muff - same year as in the romance novel

1816 Evening Dress is in this ornament

1816 Walking Dress with Muff

1817 Carriage Dress with Muff

1820 Ball Dress is in this ornament

1825 Ball Dress is in this ornament

1825 Dinner Dress is in this ornament

1827 Ball Dress - Ornament version 1

1827 Ball Dress - Ornament version 2

1827 Dinner Dress - Ornament version 1

1827 Dinner Dress - Ornament version 2

1827 Evening Dress - Ornament version 1

1827 Evening Dress - Ornament version 2

1828 Ball Dress for this Regency inspired Christmas Ornament

These lovely Regency ladies and more can be seen on THIS post.

The ornament frames are digitized versions of actual scrapbooking dies I was going to
create the 3-D ornaments with.  The digital version actually allowed me to create a more
dramatic gold edge, so it was fun to play with those shapes in Photoshop.

3-D Ornament I created a few weeks ago and posted to my other blog -My Fanciful Muse
This is a Christmas ornament I created a few weeks ago and it gives you an idea of what
the Regency ornaments might look like if they were actually created from mat board and paper.
Click HERE to see the post for my Christmas Fairy Ornament.

I hope you have enjoyed this post and I wish all of you, as they would say
in Regency England,  a Happy Christmas.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Regency Era Carriages - Ackermann's Repository

Ackermann's Repository was well known in Regency times for showing what was new 
and cutting edge in fashions and even one's mode of transportation was seen
as a fashion accessory, back in the day. 

On occasion there were be colorized plates and articles about the latest in carriages 
and there was even one depiction of an Imperial sledge.  
I thought this sled had a very Christmas feel to it so I've selected it as the showpiece of this post. 

An Imperial Sledge published in Ackermann's Repository in the  April 1816 Issue
There were not a lot of colorized plates depicting carriages in Ackermann's Repository;
so I will also include the written descriptions for each so you can see them all as they
were originally viewed by the British public 200 years ago.


1809  - Elliott's Patent Eccentric Landaulet or Chariot - Ackermann's Plate 32
 A Landaulet was the sporty version of a Landau

Mr. Elliott's new design was a more compact and lighter conveyance;
which reduced the strain on the horses. 
Other innovations made this model turn tighter and it was less likely to tip over.

It's fun to see how this Carriage and others like it of the day were far superior to anything
that had been produced in the century or two prior to it.  

Wouldn't they be even more surprised at how far vehicles have come in 
the 200 years since this article was published.

1809 - Patent Landau - Ackermann's Repository
A Landau is a four wheeled "convertible" carriage - it has a top that can be raised or lowered.

Mr C.L. Birch obtained a patent for improving the construction of roofs
and upper parts of all carriages with "convertible" tops. 

These improvements allowed for a more dependable vehicle by eliminating many of the aesthetic and physical issues with previous versions.  The new and improved Landau is better looking, more secure, easier to convert from one position to the other. Less likely to be penetrated by water or to have issues with standing water on the roof when it rains.  Therefore allowing it to function as a more multipurpose carriage than it has previously been.

It's kind of interesting to see the evolution of "convertibles" 200 years ago.
I remember all the issues I had with my 1968 Camaro convertible and how very different
convertibles are now in 2011.  So I'm sure this was a revolutionary improvement
on a Landau back in Regency times.  

1816 - Imperial Sledge from Vienna - Ackermann's Repository
A Sledge, Sled, Sleigh is basically an open carriage on runners
that is used to travel over snow or ice.

Ackermann's publish this account of a Royal sled party that took place in 
Vienna the previous winter in their April 1816 issue.
(That's quite a delay in getting a human interest story in print).

Personally, I did not find this account to be overly interesting and since the account
was published well over a year from the time it took place; I have to wonder 
if they needed to fill some space in the April 1816 issue.  

One thing is for sure - I love the image of this Regency era royal sled 
and think it makes a wonderful Christmas image and could not resist adding it to this post.


1818 brought in a new technological advancement in carriages
The Moveable Axle

This was the wave of the future for coach building and Ackermann's patented and launched 
a strong campaign for this new innovation starting in their March 1818 issue.

Page 163 and164 of that issue begins by stating the 
Advantages for the Moveable Axel for Carriages.

Now that Mr Ackermann has made his point as to the advantages of the 
moveable axle for carriages, we get a bit of history and mechanical information 
on this new innovation in coach building.

1818 - Ackermann's Patent Movable Axle for Carriages (March 1818 issue)
The above print shows a Landaulet (the sporty smaller version of a Landau) 
however the article is really about a new movable axle.
It's interesting piece would probably be the Regency equivalent of a "Car and Driver" article.

This Moveable axle was the cutting edge of technology and it's interesting to see the amount
of space and detail that was devoted to this patent in this 1818 issue of Ackermann's

 These are the Three diagrams that go along with the article.  
They are the prints refered to on page 237.

Fig 1 - Front View of Axle Tree-Bed

Fig 2 - Plan showing the short turn allowed by the movable axle

Fig 3 - Side view with body a barouche body on it
  My guess is that this article was geared more toward the male readers of Ackermann's but I'm sure an enterprising lady or two used the information to make interesting diner conversation using it.

1819 - Light Phaeton with Movable Axles - plate 3 (July Issue)

 The Phaeton was the true "sports car" if its day. 
It was well sprung, light, fast and could be extremely dangerous.

The new phaeton with the movable axles were much safer than its previous 
counterpart; allowing them to safely come back into fashion.

 You can tell that Ackermann's really stands behind this new movable axle
due to the frequency he published articles about various carriages using them.

1819 -  Light Phaeton with Movable Axles - plate 28 (November issue)

Another success story of Pheatons being built using the new Moveable Axles.

I love the part in the article where they state that some coach builders were 
loosing business due to their refusal to use the new movable axle.
Even in 1819 you had to move with the times or get left behind.

1820 - Barouche with Ackermann's Patent Moveable Axles
 A Barouche was a leisure, summer vehicle with  a soft retractible top.  
There were  double seats on the inside that faced each other.

Here is another push to convince the public and coach-makers that
the Movable Axle is the future for all carriages... And Ackermann was right - it was.

Ackermann's makes one final push for the movable axle stating it's safety, durability, economy and convenience.  They also reference their other articles previously published on the new moveable axle.
(All the referenced articles are on this post - so you get to see them all)
The interesting footnote in this story was that the moveable axle is having an impact on the military

The above article also references a Gift of a Droschi from the Emperor of 
Russia (highlighted in blue); which can be seen below.  
Oh yes, and the droschi also has the new moveable axle.

1820 - Russian Droschi with Moveable Axle
This carriage was a bit different since it had a front and a side-seat.


And this is the extent we have images and information regarding Regency carriages from Ackermann's Repository.  The majority all pertain to the new moveable axle and Ackermann's wish to showcase this new innovation.  It appears once it became widely used in coach building the articles on it faded away.

But I think it is a fascinating glimpse into technological improvements during the regency era.
 It was also interesting for me (when reading between the lines) that there was a decline in phaeton sales and use due to their unsafe nature.  I already knew they were a dangerous vehicle but I was a bit surprised that they went out of fashion for a time due to this.  I just always thought there were more brave bucks out there then was probably practical.

I hope you have enjoyed this interesting glimpse into the Regency.

Merry Christmas and Glad Tidings to you all!

Thanks for visiting me here at

If you have enjoyed seeing these images from Ackermann's Repository 
and would like the opportunity to see and read an original for yourself 
they are are available on line at

Click HERE then choose the volume you are interested in.
You can then see and read them online or download 
them to your computer for future reference.