Regency Era


In the wake of the worldwide success of Netflix’s popular “Bridgerton” series, Suffolk Tourism has partnered with several community organizations for Passport To The Regency Era, a series of events and activities focusing on early 19th century (1811-1820) culture. Event partners include the Regency Society of Virginia, Stillwater Tea House, Suffolk Art Gallery, Suffolk Art League, Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, Suffolk-Nansemond Historical Society, Suffolk Public Library, and Suffolk Tourism. Check out our Events tab to find all the great programs that are coming your way in the next couple of months! We hope you’ll kick up your heels and join us for this exciting new series!

Below are some of the many Regency Era Events being held at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts. For a full list of events please visit Suffolk VA Passport!

Sweet and savory delights await you at the Traditional Afternoon Tea and Regency Era Fashion Show on Saturday, August 28, 2021 in the Suffolk Center’s Taylor Ballroom. Tickets are $30 per person and going fast…visit StillwaterTeaHouse.com to order yours — you must make haste!

Silhouettes:  The “Snapshots” of the Regency Era  
Taught by Rhona Lynn Dawson
DATE: Wednesday, October 13, 2021 TIME: 6:00 – 8:00pm
LOCATION:  Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts AUDIENCE:  Adults and Kids 15+
COST:  $30.00 includes registration, supplies and materials.
CLASS SIZE LIMIT:  15   Minimum Class Enrollment:  8

Description:  It’s hard to imagine not having photography to capture the moments of our everyday lives. Weddings, important events, vacations – these are all moments that we capture digitally or on film to enjoy for years to come. Even though photography had not yet been invented, it was common practice during the Regency to have a likeness or portrait made of a loved one.  But oil paintings were expensive and took many sittings to complete.  Even watercolor paintings and high-quality sketches took skill, time, and money.  For those who did not have the extra funds to spend on such luxuries, a silhouette was a viable alternative to capture a person’s likeness.  Come and learn about the art of Silhouettes and create your own!

Dining During the Regency Era   
Taught by Kimberly Costa – Regency Society of Virginia
DATE: Thursday, October 14, 2021
TIME:  7:00 – 9:00pm
COST: $25.00
CLASS SIZE LIMIT:  25    Minimum Class Enrollment:  10

Description:  Dinner time, which was normally at 3:00pm, was one of the most showy and extravagant meals during the Regency Era, especially when there were guests!  Supper was an evening meal eaten as late as 10:00 or 11:00 at night.  This class will concentrate on dining in the 19th Century and will conclude with each participant going home with a period-inspired Marzipan Hedgehog, which they will create.

“May I Have This Dance?” – Introduction to Regency Dance
Taught by Alicia Edwards
DATE: Friday Evenings  October 15 – November 5, 2021  (4-weeks)
TIME: 7:00 – 9:00pm
COST: $55.00
CLASS SIZE LIMIT:  14   Minimum Class Enrollment:  8

  Bring your spouse, your neighbor, your best friend and learn to reenact dances of the Regency Era in a class filled with high steps, laughs and some good old’ Regency Ballroom Etiquette.  Men, leave your sticks and canes at the door!  They are not allowed in the Regency Ballroom!

Crafts Perfect for Galentine’s Day
Taught by Rhona Lynn Dawson
DATE: Saturday, October 16, 2021
TIME: 2:00 – 4:00pm
AUDIENCE:  Adults and Kids 15+
COST:  $30.00  includes registration, supplies and materials
CLASS SIZE LIMIT:  10  Minimum Class Enrollment:  5

Description:  Women and children in the Regency era spent their time embroidering, so if you really want to channel their crafty spirit, what better way than by completing an Austen-inspired craft? Of course, Elizabeth Bennet may have scoffed and gone for a walk or read a book instead, but there are plenty of hours in the day to do it all.  In this hands-on workshop, you will leave with a Regency era inspired craft-sake that you can take home and cherish for years to come.


“Make Comics Then: Humor and Illustration in the Regency Era” 
Taught by Matt Harrison
DATE: Saturday, October 16, 2021
TIME: 10:00am – 12:00pm
Audience:  Adults
COST: $30.00
Class Limit: 20  Minimum Class Enrollment:  10

Illustration, cartoons, printmaking, and other forms of print media were very prevalent in the Regency Era.  Whether political or for amusement,  there were various periodicals that were important to the spread of culture at the time, and since it preceded the advent of photography, illustration was particularly essential.  Learn about the media of the Regency Era and make some relevant illustrations and cartoons of your own!

Quilting or Creating a Counterpane as in the Regency Era
Taught by Tracy Cissell
DATE: Saturday, October 23, 2021
TIME: 10:00am – 4:00pm
AUDIENCE:  Adults (No prior experience required)
COST:  $50.00 includes registration, supplies and materials.
CLASS SIZE LIMIT:  10 Adults    Minimum Class Enrollment:  5

Description:  It is very important to understand that the true definition of quilting is not the piecing together of many small pieces of different-colored cloth.  That activity is correctly referred to as piecework.  Quilting is the process of stitching or tying together two layers of cloth, between which is sandwiched a layer of a thicker, softer material, such as wool batting or down.  A quilt is the finished product which results from this process.  In this class, you will learn to create a counterpane as it was done during the Regency Era.

Inked Bag Workshop
Taught by Stacy Weissner – Regency Society of Virginia
DATE: Tuesday, November 9, 2021
TIME: 6:00 – 8:00pm
Audience:  Adults and Kids 15+
COST:  $40.00 includes registration, supplies and materials
CLASS SIZE LIMIT:  12  Minimum Class Enrollment:  6 

Description:  Learn to make your own Inked Bag!   Ladies of the period used to create bags–either workbags for their sewing, or an item called a “reticule” which was the forerunner of the purse–out of cotton and they would personalize them in various ways.  One of the most common was to embroider these bags.  However, another method was to “ink” them.  Simply put, drawing a design onto the bag with quill and ink.  Fashion magazines of the time would publish embroidery and other designs and many ladies just traced them onto their bags (or even their clothing) to create a quick but elegant decoration.

LECTURES: Regency Portraiture:  Painting the Parts
Taught by Christina Collins
DATE: Wednesday. October 20, 2021
TIME: 7:00 – 9:00pm
CLASS SIZE LIMIT:  25 Adults   Minimum Class Enrollment:  10

Description:  In this interactive lecture, learn about the popularity of portraits during the Regency, just as they had been in previous centuries. Today, when nearly every cell phone has a camera and we can snap photos in an instant, we take pictures of our loved ones for granted. But two hundred years ago, a portrait was very often the only image one might have of a friend or family member. Each of those portraits required the specialized skills of a portrait painter (or painters), and took many, many hours to complete. But contrary to what most people believe, one did not simply pose for the artist while their portrait was painted. Nor were all the components of a painting present during any given sitting. The production of a portrait was often a complex process, which frequently required the efforts of more than one artist, sometimes in multiple locations.

LECTURE: Edmond Blair Leighton “The First Gentleman of England” and Regency Art
Taught by Rhona Lynn Dawson
DATE: Thursday, October 21, 2021
TIME: 7:00 – 9:00pm
AUDIENCE:  Adults and Kids 15+
Class Limit: 25  Minimum Class Enrollment:  10 

Description:  Explore the work of “The First Gentleman of England” though this informative in depth look of this Regency Era Master Painter.

“Strike a Pose – An Introduction to Regency Fashion”
Taught by Stacy Weissner – Regency Society of Virginia
DATE: Thursday, October 28, 2021
TIME: 7:00pm  – 9:00pm
AUDIENCE:  Adults and Kids 15+
CLASS SIZE LIMIT:  25    Minimum Class Enrollment:  10

Description: Beau Brummell.  Dolley Madison.  Josephine Bonaparte.  The early 19th century gave the world style icons whose names are still recognizable today.  The period from 1790 – 1820 marked a revolution in both men’s and women’s fashion, leaving behind the embroidered silks and wigs of the 18th century for a more natural, simple form of elegance.  Join us as we explore this radical transition in clothing and get an up-close view of what went into the styles of this remarkable period in fashion history.


DATE: Wednesday, November 10, 2021
Time: 7-9 PM

Lords, ladies, and gentlemen: you are cordially invited to attend the event of the season! Put on your best Regency attire and dance the night away at a soirée that will be the envy of the whole ton. Details to follow!