Left, an English Regency casket-form sewing box that realized $650 plus the buyer’s premium in November 2014; Center, a matched pair of English Regency giltwood mirrors sold in March 2015 for $3,750 plus the buyer’s premium; Right, a tilt-top mahogany English Regency breakfast table that achieved $1,500 plus the buyer’s premium in May 2020. Images courtesy of Thomaston Place Auction Galleries, Ahlers & Ogletree Auction Gallery, David Skinner Antiques and LiveAuctioneers.
Left, an English Regency casket-form sewing box realized $650 plus the buyer’s premium in November 2014; Center, a matched pair of English Regency giltwood mirrors sold in March 2015 for $3,750 plus the buyer’s premium; Right, a tilt-top mahogany English Regency breakfast table achieved $1,500 plus the buyer’s premium in May 2020. Images courtesy of Thomaston Place Auction Galleries, Ahlers & Ogletree Auction Gallery, David Skinner Antiques and LiveAuctioneers.

 

Warning: This article contains mild spoilers for the first two seasons of Bridgerton.

NEW YORK – Today, May 16, Part One of the third season of the Netflix series Bridgerton appears, with episodes from Part Two scheduled to go live on Thursday, June 13.

Produced by Shonda Rhimes and based on Julia Quinn’s book series on the fictional Bridgerton clan, season three flouts chronological publication order to draw its plot from the fourth book, Romancing Mr. Bridgerton. Ostensibly about Colin, the third-oldest Bridgerton brother, played by Luke Newton, the Netflix publicity photos place the spotlight firmly and unwaveringly on Nicola Coughlan, the actress who portrays Penelope Featherington.

At this point in the story, only a few people, including Colin’s sister Eloise, know that Penelope is in fact Lady Whistledown, author of the gossip sheets that no one in their circle can resist reading. One of the dramatic high points of the new season will come when Colin learns the truth. Another will come when, several episodes after gamely offering to help Penelope find a suitable husband, he eventually realizes who the best candidate is.

As with the previous seasons, English Regency style will be on full display in the sumptuous early 19th-century settings. It should be noted, however, that it’s not possible to acquire exactly what is seen on screen. The Bridgerton production team built or made almost every carpet, drapery, furnishing, and work of decorative art, in part because the actual English Regency palette is too muted and sedate for the spirit of a frothy romantic series. But a determined person can get reasonably close to recreating that spectacular long-ago world that never was. What follows is a collection of splendid objects sold via LiveAuctioneers that would delight anyone who is besotted with Bridgerton.

Circa-1825 figured mahogany window bench, which sold for $2,200 plus the buyer’s premium in November 2023. Image courtesy of Brunk Auctions and LiveAuctioneers.
Circa-1825 figured mahogany window bench, which sold for $2,200 plus the buyer’s premium in November 2023. Image courtesy of Brunk Auctions and LiveAuctioneers.

Window Seat

One of the most widely publicized images from the third series of Bridgerton shows Penelope Featherington sumptuously dressed and gazing pensively out of a window, resting an elbow on the sash. Visible in some versions is part of the window bench on which she sits. Windows were, of course, vital sources of light in the Regency era, and many were designed to allow for the placement of a window bench, positioned to allow the sitter to watch what’s going on outside. Is Penelope merely thinking through the vagarities of her relationship with Colin? Is she distressed by some sort of social event taking place on the lawn for which no one offered her an invitation? Perhaps both are true?

No matter what is really happening in this scene from Bridgerton, the window bench is a beautiful and useful object. A circa-1825 figured mahogany example in the manner of Thomas Hope or Gillows and sporting a loose green cushion, which was part of a November 2023 sale at Brunk Auctions, brought $2,200 plus the buyer’s premium.

The Sustaining Brew

The universal lubricant of the Bridgerton universe is tea. Yes, alcohol exists, and the Bridgerton men enjoy a tipple in the comfort of their well-appointed studies and clubs, but tea’s the thing. Paying a call on other members of their circle? Tea. Visiting a tony clothing boutique to view the latest fashions? Tea. Time to start the day? Tea. Staying in with the family? Tea. Reading Lady Whistledown’s latest pamphlet and hanging on her every word as she spills the tea? Tea. Of course, tea. Always tea. It’s so central to the show that the Republic of Tea released an official line of Bridgerton teas to sip ahead of the debut of season two.

An 1817 silver tea service made in London sold for $850 plus the buyer’s premium in May 2020. Image courtesy of Abell Auction and LiveAuctioneers.
An 1817 silver tea service made in London sold for $850 plus the buyer’s premium in May 2020. Image courtesy of Abell Auction and LiveAuctioneers.

The tea ritual traditionally requires two equally opulent sets of equipment: A silver tea service and also porcelain tea cups and saucers. In May 2020, Abell Auction, based in Los Angeles, sold an 1817 silver tea set made in London and consisting of a teapot, creamer, and open sugar bowl as well as a silver-plated sugar and a second teapot. The first three pieces together weighed 44 troy ounces. The group sold for $850 plus the buyer’s premium.

This mixed group of teacups and saucers, dating from 1810 to 1828, sold for CA$225 in August 2020. Image courtesy of A.H. Wilkens Auctions & Appraisals and LiveAuctioneers.
This mixed group of teacups and saucers, dating from 1810 to 1828, sold for CA$225 in August 2020. Image courtesy of A.H. Wilkens Auctions & Appraisals and LiveAuctioneers.

 

A canny bidder could have found its match in a mixed group of six teacups and saucers produced between 1810 and 1828, sporting gilded details and floral motifs. It sold for CA$225 (roughly $177) in August 2020 at A.H. Wilkens Auctions & Appraisals in Toronto, Canada.

A 19th-century English Regency rosewood tilt top tea table sold for $450 plus the buyer’s premium in October 2023. Image courtesy of Neue Auctions and LiveAuctioneers.

A 19th-century English Regency rosewood tilt top tea table sold for $450 plus the buyer’s premium in October 2023. Image courtesy of Neue Auctions and LiveAuctioneers.

Adding luxury and glamour to the experience is furniture designed to hold all this specialized silver and porcelain. In October 2023, Neue Auctions offered a 19th-century English Regency rosewood tilt top tea table with tripod legs. Estimated at $400-$800, it realized a respectable $450 plus the buyer’s premium.

A Stitch in Time Saves Face

Among Regency England’s moneyed elites, etiquette and propriety was all. Showing signs of boredom or contempt was dangerous, and yet, socializing can be exhausting. One of the few tasks upper-class women were allowed to perform while talking to family and friends was embroidery. It’s impossible to know how many of our ancestors deflected or masked their annoyance with tedious people and drab conversations by simultaneously busying their hands and minds with a needle and thread, but it must have been a godsend. Scenes that depict Bridgerton women embroidering appear in the two previous series of the show.

An English Regency casket-form sewing box, decorated with embossed red leather, gilt brass fittings and lion paw feet, sold for $650 plus the buyer’s premium in November 2014. Image courtesy of Thomaston Place Auction Galleries and LiveAuctioneers.
An English Regency casket-form sewing box sold for $650 plus the buyer’s premium in November 2014. Image courtesy of Thomaston Place Auction Galleries and LiveAuctioneers.

 

The early 19th century presented well-heeled women with a range of elaborate, luxurious sewing-specific storage units. Back in November 2014, Thomaston Place Auction Galleries of Thomaston, Maine offered a charming casket-form Regency sewing box decorated with embossed red leather, gilt brass fittings, and lion paw feet. It also had a silver placket on top engraved with the words, “MS, Jany. 21, 1816.” The sewing box sold for $650 plus the buyer’s premium.

Well-Bred = Well-Read

As you meditate on the perfectly assembled backgrounds of Bridgerton, something might jump out at you: bookcases and bookshelves, laden with tomes. Granted, when the characters are shown reading, they almost always have Lady Whistledown’s publication in hand, but most of those spectacular Bridgerton mansions have books, and plenty of them.

This Regency period mahogany breakfront bookcase realized $3,000 plus the buyer’s premium in August 2017. Image courtesy of Ahlers & Ogletree Auction Gallery and LiveAuctioneers.
This Regency period mahogany breakfront bookcase realized $3,000 plus the buyer’s premium in August 2017. Image courtesy of Ahlers & Ogletree Auction Gallery and LiveAuctioneers.

 

Several gorgeous English Regency bookcases have sold through LiveAuctioneers, but a standout is an 84in-tall mahogany breakfront example offered in August 2017 at Ahlers & Ogletree Auction Gallery in Atlanta. It realized $3,000 plus the buyer’s premium.

Ready for My Closeup

A fair number of Bridgerton’s social events happen at night, indoors, in an era well before the advent of electrification. These grand dances and soirees simply couldn’t happen without extremely liberal use of candelabra and mirrors. The first maintains the light source, and the second amplifies it. (The fact that mirrors show you what you look like clad in your impeccable evening wear is a happy bonus.) Those who wished to host such events needed both, and neither came cheap.

A matched pair of English Regency giltwood mirrors sold in March 2015 for $3,750 plus the buyer’s premium. Image courtesy of Ahlers & Ogletree Auction Gallery and LiveAuctioneers.
A matched pair of English Regency giltwood mirrors sold in March 2015 for $3,750 plus the buyer’s premium. Image courtesy of Ahlers & Ogletree Auction Gallery and LiveAuctioneers.

 

Nor are they cheap now, but they can be just as beautiful as they were 200 years ago, when they were new. A matched pair of English Regency giltwood mirrors, each measuring 67in high and having elaborately carved frames, sold in March 2015 for $3,750 plus the buyer’s premium at Ahlers & Ogletree.

This circa 1810-1820 girandole mirror with four candle arms decorated with hanging crystals achieved $4,500 plus the buyer’s premium in November 2017. Image courtesy of Ahlers & Ogletree Auction Gallery and LiveAuctioneers.
This circa-1810-1820 girandole mirror with four candle arms decorated with hanging crystals achieved $4,500 plus the buyer’s premium in November 2017. Image courtesy of Ahlers & Ogletree Auction Gallery and LiveAuctioneers.

 

Also offered at Ahlers & Ogletree in November 2017 was a circa-1810-1820 girandole mirror, a type of mirror with candleabra arms positioned near the reflective surface. This particular example measured 56in high and had four candle arms, each festooned with hanging crystals. It achieved $4,500 plus the buyer’s premium.

This circa-1820 gilt bronze and cut crystal 10-light chandelier achieved $90,000 plus the buyer's premium against an estimate of $25,000-$35,000 in November 2012. Image courtesy of Neal Auction Company and LiveAuctioneers.
This circa-1820 gilt bronze and cut crystal 10-light chandelier attributed to John Blades achieved $90,000 plus the buyer’s premium against an estimate of $25,000-$35,000 in November 2012. Image courtesy of Neal Auction Company and LiveAuctioneers.

 

Chandeliers also worked as amplifiers and spreaders of light. A scene from season two showed Benedict Bridgerton (Luke Thompson) and boxer Will Mondrich (Martins Imhangbe) conversing in a gentleman’s club lit by girandole mirrors, candelabra, and massive chandeliers fitted with lit candles. A notable example of the form appeared at Neal Auction Company in November 2012. Dating to circa 1820 and attributed to John Blades, the 64in-tall gilt bronze and cut crystal 10-light chandelier achieved $90,000 plus the buyer’s premium against an estimate of $25,000-$35,000.

Do You Want to Play a Game?

Obviously, the PlayStation and the Xbox Series S could not be part of the world of Bridgerton, but games definitely are. A scene from the second season of the show pictures siblings Eloise and Benedict Bridgerton (Claudia Jessie and Luke Thompson) playing chess in the family manse, and a publicity photo for the third season depicts Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) in an interior with a chess board in view at the right.

An English Regency inlaid rosewood games table achieved $1,300 plus the buyer’s premium in January 2018. Image courtesy of CRN Auctions, Inc. and LiveAuctioneers.
An English Regency inlaid rosewood games table achieved $1,300 plus the buyer’s premium in January 2018. Image courtesy of CRN Auctions, Inc. and LiveAuctioneers.

 

An English Regency inlaid rosewood reversible games table, with a chess board on one side, a cribbage board on the other, and a tooled leather backgammon board in its interior, achieved $1,300 plus the buyer’s premium in January 2018 at CRN Auctions, Inc. in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It also had brass paw feet on casters and shaped drop leaves.

In The Round

The MVM – most valuable material – of the English Regency period is mahogany. If it’s a beautiful piece of English furniture that dates to between 1811 and 1820 and isn’t completely covered with a layer of gold leaf, it’s almost certainly made from mahogany.

This tilt-top mahogany English Regency breakfast table realized $1,500 plus the buyer’s premium in May 2020. Image courtesy of David Skinner Antiques and LiveAuctioneers.
This tilt-top mahogany English Regency breakfast table realized $1,500 plus the buyer’s premium in May 2020. Image courtesy of David Skinner Antiques and LiveAuctioneers.

 

The LiveAuctioneers archives are full of English Regency mahogany furnishings, but a round tilt-top table offered at David Skinner Antiques of Charleston, South Carolina in May 2020 stands out for being described, specifically, as a breakfast table. Interesting things can happen in Bridgerton at breakfast, or in the hours before. The table sold for $1,500 plus the buyer’s premium.

This set of three English Regency mahogany side chairs, together estimated at $300-$500, sold for $7,000 plus the buyer’s premium in March 2024. Image courtesy of Nye & Company and Liveauctioneers.
This set of three English Regency mahogany side chairs, together estimated at $300-$500, sold for $7,000 plus the buyer’s premium in March 2024. Image courtesy of Nye & Company and Liveauctioneers.

 

Further proving the power of mahogany was a trio of three 19th-century English Regency mahogany side chairs that are not unlike the chairs that Colin Bridgerton and two of his brothers sit in to take tea and read the paper in a season three promotional photo. Estimated at $300-$500 when offered at Nye & Company in March 2024, the chairs sold for $7,000 plus the buyer’s premium.

The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword

The last episode of Bridgerton season one revealed a huge secret that the books don’t mention until much later: the true identity of Lady Whistledown. As noted above, at the start of season three only a few among the cast of characters are privy to the secret, and before the season is out, Colin Bridgerton will join them.

An English Regency rectangular-top writing desk achieved $5,000 plus the buyer’s premium in August 2021. Image courtesy of Amero Auctions and LiveAuctioneers.
An English Regency rectangular-top writing desk achieved $5,000 plus the buyer’s premium in August 2021. Image courtesy of Amero Auctions and LiveAuctioneers.

 

Regardless of who does and doesn’t yet know the truth, Lady Whistledown and her friends and enemies are well-familiar with a must-have piece of furniture of the Regency era, when a great deal of communication took the form of letters: the writing desk. The mysterious person whose piercing opinions consistently roil English high society shapes them with a quill before relaying the manuscript to the printer. Lady Whistledown seizes whatever private time that comes, and can’t be fussy about the surface on which pen meets paper. But a rectangular-top English Regency desk, fitted with an embossed leather writing area, bronze handles, an ebonized support frame, and paw feet reflects the power and importance of Whistledown’s prose. Offered in August 2021 at Amero Auctions of Sarasota, Florida, it achieved $5,000 plus the buyer’s premium.

Visit Netflix online for additional information about Bridgerton.