I give a wide range of talks on aspects of life in Georgian England and the list is constantly being developed. Wherever possible I try and “personalize” the talk to fit the audience – such as by making it relevant to the area they live in. Please contact me if you would like me to talk to your group.
At present this is the main list:
Life in Georgian England
A 45 minute powerpoint presentation looking at everyday life in the 18th century, based upon family diaries and covering the life of my ancestor who was born and bred in London and who then retired in 1780 to live in the Cotswolds. It looks at schooling, learning a trade, running a business and raising a family 250 years ago.
Jane Austen – Facts and Fiction
A 45 minute powerpoint presentation divided into two parts: the first looking at her life story; the second looking at her published books and the various screen adaptations.
Pride & Prejudice – from printed page to silver screen
A 45 minute powerpoint presentation looking at one of Jane Austen’s favourite books; it includes a look at all the various film and TV adaptations, as well as the sequels and prequels. It also includes many of the venues chosen by film-makers when filming Pride & Prejudice over the past 75 years.
The English country house on the silver screen
A powerpoint presentation looking at some of our finest Georgian country houses and their gardens.
Philip Astley – father of the English Circus
A 45 minute powerpoint presentation looking at the life and achievements of a man who left the army and opened a riding school – and went on to launch the circus phenomenon which swept Britain and Europe. This will be especially relevant as the very first circus performance was in April 1768 – just coming up to 250 years ago.
How the Georgians spent their spare time
A 45 minute powerpoint presentation looking at all aspects of entertainment in the latter years of the 18th century – from public hangings to bordellos, from the circus to gaming houses and from cock-fighting to relaxing with a pipe and a pint in the local pub.
The 18th Century art of Paper-cutting, silhouettes, decoupage and papier mache
A 45 minute powerpoint presentation looking at my how my ancestor illustrated his life with finely executed paper cut-outs, and looking also at other 18th century paper crafts including silhouettes and both origami and kirigami, and comparing them to modern styles.
Paper ball-gowns of Isabelle de Borchgrave
(Usually linked to the last talk) A powerpoint presentation looking at the remarkable replica ball gowns, using only paper, made by Isabelle de Borchgrave. Her works reflect 500 years of haute couture as well as showcasing historical dresses from the carnivale of Venice to the dresses of the Medici’s.
The development of the English garden 1600 to 1837
A 45 minute powerpoint presentation looking at garden designers and plants-men from the Tudor period through to the accession of Queen Victoria. It looks at how our gardens changed – the tools we used, and the influences which shaped our garden world. In particular it focuses on the work of designers such as Capability Brown, and considers inventions which changed our lives – such as the lawn-mower.
Eat Drink and be Merry in the 18th Century
A 45 minute powerpoint presentation looking at how mealtimes changed from the start of the 18th Century to the end of the Regency period. Changes in mealtimes, kitchens, menus and dining habits during the Age of Elegance
The Golden Age of Satire 1780 to 1837
A 45 minute powerpoint presentation looking at the work of the men who were the precursors of Spitting Image – from Gillray to Richardson, but also featuring less well known caricaturists such as Newton, Bunbury, Cruikshank and others. It is often irreverent, sometimes rude but never likely to offend!
Twenty things you never knew about the Georgians
Based on my book “100 things about the Georgians”, a powerpoint presentation illustrating some of the more quirky and whimsical facts about life in the Long Eighteenth Century.
Sex and Scandals in Georgian England
A 45 minute powerpoint presentation looking at royal shenanigans and naughty goings-on in the Georgian period. It is not intended to offend – but it may well be an eye-opener!
Celebrities and Courtesans
A 45 minute presentation looking at the lives and loves of the 18th Century courtesans who made it as “Toast of the Town” – to become the first pin-ups and fashion icons the country had ever seen
Entertainment in London in the 18th Century
A 45 minute presentation covering everything from going to the opera, the theatre, to visiting museums and a look at the Top Ten Tourist attractions of the 18th Century.
Sport and hobbies in Georgian England
A quick look at the origins and development of sports such as cricket, badminton, skittles fencing, archery and boxing, with a look at hobbies and games along the way.
The Abolition movement in Britain – an Eighteenth Century perspective
A 45 minute powerpoint presentation looking at the origins of the abolition movement – the men who made abolition possible, and the methods they used. The sugar boycott, and the reasons why the movement succeeded in banishing the trade in slaves. It looks at abolition from the viewpoint of the Georgian Age – how it seemed to them at the time – rather than looking back on it in context of what has happened since.
Bristol – the city with a renowned glass making history
A 45 minute powerpoint presentation looking at the way that blue-glass tableware swept into popularity toward the end of the 18th Century – the men behind the discovery of cobalt blue glass, and how the city of Bristol gave its name to a beautiful form of glassware (“Bristol Blue”) and how glass-making dominated the city, before disappearing almost without trace.
The Story of the Royal Academy 1780 to 1837
A 45 minute powerpoint presentation looking at the way paintings started to be displayed in the Georgian era, culminating in the establishment of the Royal Academy and its move to Somerset House; the works of some of the eminent artists who had been nurtured by the Academy, from Lawrence to Turner and Constable.
A presentation featuring extraordinary tales of survival from the 18th and 19th centuries, including those of Alexander Selkirk and Captain Bligh, and the somewhat overlooked Captain Barnard.
The Golden Age of Piracy
A look at the exploits of the pirates who made their swash-buckling name back in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Foundation stone of Empire – Tea
The story of how tea became a national obsession with the British – and how an Empire was built upon the trade in tea leaves.
The Dark History of Gin
A short history of gin, from ancient distilling to the popularity of modern craft gins, taking in the 18th Century Gin Craze and Prohibition along the way.
I do a number of talk aimed for the cruise ship market – “50 things you never knew about Norway and the Norwegians”, ditto about Sweden, Iceland and Finland. Rapid-fire points about lesser known and often quirky aspects of our Scandinavian neighbours! I also do talks on maritime history – about Captain Cook, about Captain Bligh and the Mutiny on the Bounty, about Captain Woodes Rogers, and about early explorers such as William Dampier. Some are famous; some are hardly household names, but all deserve to be remembered!
What others say:
Dr Valerie Shrimplin, Academic Registrar Gresham College: “I know from comments received from colleagues and members of the audience how interesting they found your talk and what an enthusiastic and engaging speaker you are – so clearly passionate about your subject.”
People attending the talks:
“Thank you for the splendid lecture this evening – a fascinating slice of social history, and paper cut-outs to make you weep.”
“Mike Rendell’s incredible family archive of primary sources makes my mouth water. Great Gresham College talk.”
“I’m still in a happily stunned history haze.”
“Fabulous talk by Mike Rendell at Museum of London last night. He rocked the joint”.