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Quizzing Glasses: A History by Candice Hern

Miss Thorpe, however, being four years older than Miss Morland, and at least four years better informed, had a very decided advantage in discussing such points; she could compare the balls of Bath with those of Tunbridge, its fashions with the fashions of London; could rectify the opinions of her new friend in many articles of tasteful attire; could discover a flirtation between any gentleman and lady who only smiled on each other; and point out a quiz through the thickness of a crowd.
Northanger Abbey

Eyeglasses as we know them today, with side pieces that rest on the ears, were invented in 1727 by an Englishman named Edward Scarlett. Until that time, reading aids were often perched precariously upon the nose or were hand held. A “quizzing glass” was a single magnifying lens on a handle which was held up before the eye to enable closer scrutiny of the object in view. The quizzing glass is not to be confused with the lorgnette, which has two lenses, and more often than not a correctable (prescription) lens rather than a simple magnifier. A monocle is also a single-lens device but is meant to fit into the eye socket and therefore does not have the longer handle of the quizzing glass, which was held in front of the eye.

Left: Detail of Les Deux Incroyables, Antoine Charles Horace Vernet, ink and wash, 1794. Right:
The earlist examples of single-lens hand-held reading devices date back to the 12th century and were simple affairs with bone or brass handles used by scholars and clerks. It was not until the mid-18th century that they developed into a fashionable accessory, designed and worn as a piece of jewelery. (See Fig. 1) The quizzing glass generally dangled at the end of a long ribbon or chain around the neck and was held up to the eye to “quiz” (stare, glance, look at quizically) people and objects. The wearer would sometimes glare at a person through his or her quizzing glass as a manner of set-down or mockery, as seen in the detail from Vernet’s “Les Deux Incroyables” shown in Fig. 2.

The term “quizzing glass” came into use toward the end of the 18th century. It is sometimes assumed that quizzing glasses were used only by men as they are most often associated with fashionable dandies of the Regency and Victorian eras, such as “The Exquisite” shown in Fig 2. However, the fashion prints of the Regency show ladies wielding them with as much aplomb as Beau Brummel. And those ladies are not the elderly dowagers one might imagine using such a device, but fashionable young women. In fact, the quizzing glass is such a common feature in fashion prints that it must be assumed that it was an extremely popular accessory. Most prints and portraits of women wearing quizzing glasses show them on a long gold chain around the neck. Men are frequently shown with a quizzing glass on a black ribbon, though gold chains are also used.

A quizzing glass was as much a piece of jewelry as it was a functional vision aid. They were made of gold, sterling, pinchbeck, and other base metals, and were sometimes quite elaborate in design. The handles might be jeweled, or hold secret vinaigrettes or lockets (see Fig 3). The handle or its loop was often swivel-mounted to make it easier to lay flat when hung from a chain. Though the lenses were generally standard sizes, the handles were of varying lengths. (See Fig 4) Of course, the longer the handle, the more delicious the set-down.

Quizzing glasses were almost always set with a magnifying lens, though some may have been set with a corrective lens since fashionable ladies and gentleman did not like to wear spectacles in public. Quizzing glasses were obtained from opticians and were usually kept in protective leather cases. (See fig 5) It is likely that the opticians set the lens in frames provided by goldsmiths or jewelers.

Quizzing glasses reached a peak of popularity during the first two decades of the 19th century. Around the 1830s, lorgnettes became more popular for women. Quizzing glasses continued as a fashionable accessory for gentlemen through the beginning of the 20th century when monocles supplanted them in popularity.


Candice Hern is the author of several Regency Romance novels and an avid collector of period fashion accessories. Her newest book is Lady Be Bad, part of her ‘Merry Widows’ series

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Court Gowns: Dressing the Part

She is unfortunately of a sickly constitution, which has prevented her making that progress in many accomplishments which she could not otherwise have failed of; as I am informed by the lady who superintended her education, and who still resides with them. But she is perfectly amiable, and often condescends to drive by my humble abode in her little phaeton and ponies.”

“Has she been presented? I do not remember her name among the ladies at court.”

“Her indifferent state of health unhappily prevents her being in town; and by that means, as I told Lady Catherine myself one day, has deprived the British court of its brightest ornament. Her ladyship seemed pleased with the idea, and you may imagine that I am happy on every occasion to offer those little delicate compliments which are always acceptable to ladies. I have more than once observed to Lady Catherine that her charming daughter seemed born to be a duchess, and that the most elevated rank, instead of giving her consequence, would be adorned by her. —
Pride and Prejudice


Miroir de la Mode, February 1804

This print is a rare example from the short-lived British magazine, edited by the famous modiste Madame Lanchester, that was published only from 1803 to 1804. Bits of silver paint are used to pick out details in the trim and the jewelry. Out of my collection of over 500 fashion prints, if I could only keep one print, this would be it.

When ladies (and gentlemen) appeared at Court on formal occasions they were required to wear Court Dress, which was a very formal, very specific type of garment that was not worn anywhere else. Rules of Court Dress were rigid and dictated by the current monarch or his Queen. During the Regency, those rules produced a type of female garment that appears perfectly ridiculous to modern eyes, but which was taken quite seriously by those who wore them and by the designers who made them.

The rules of Court directed that ladies should wear skirts with hoops and trains, and that white ostrich feathers be worn in the hair, attached to lappets which hung below the shoulders. These rules had been in place long before George III took the throne. In his predecessor’s day the skirts were enhanced with panniers that stood out very wide on either side, but leaving the front and back flat. The intent of such odd-looking dresses was to display a broad swath of beautifully embroidered fabric, some of which had pictorial or floral scenes that used the entire front of the skirt as a canvas. Side panniers had been replaced by normal round hoops by the time of George III. In the last decade of the 18th century, the fashion for wide skirts began to evolve into the slim, vertical line associated with Regency dress. Queen Charlotte, however, held firm on the rules of Court Dress, and ladies were forced to adapt those rules to the current style, which produced a very odd-looking garment with the high-waist under the bosom and a full hoped skirt.

Who wore these silly (to my eye) concoctions?

Wives and daughters of peers, members of parliament, or the landed gentry were allowed to be formally presented at Court on only three specific occasions: as a young woman making her debut in Society (she was later to be called a debutante), upon her marriage, and on the occasion of her husband having an honor conferred upon him. For daughters, the presentation at court marked them as suitable bridal candidates in the marriage market. For wives, it marked them as respectable members of the upper classes of Society and sometimes opened doors for them that had formerly been closed. The woman being presented was always sponsored by another woman who had already been presented. This was usually her mother or mother-in-law or another female relation. If she had no relative to present her, there were certain high-ranking ladies who would do so for a fee.

La Belle Assemblée, March 1806
“The Marchioness of Townshend in her full Court Dress as worn by her Ladyship on the Queen’s Birth Day 1806”

This print accompanies a biographical sketch of Lady Townshend, and is not referenced or described in the fashion commentary of the same issue.

The presentations took place at St. James’s Palace at events called Drawing Rooms, where the monarch and/or his Queen received those attending Court. Presentation Drawing Rooms were held two or three times a week during the Season. Based on letters and diaries of the time, it was so stressful an experience that it was regarded more as a duty than a pleasure. The young woman to be presented stood sometimes for hours (one never sat in the presence of the Queen) waiting for her name to be announced by the Lord Chamberlain. She then walked to where the Queen sat and made a deep curtsy — which had been practiced and practiced while wearing the hooped skirt. A few pleasantries were exchanged, the young woman answering any question the Queen put to her, but no more. When the Queen indicated she was dismissed, the young woman made one more deep curtsey, and then had to walk backwards out of the royal presence (one never turned one’s back on the Queen) all the while dealing with the obstacle of her train so as not to trip over it. Stressful indeed!

Other formal occasions requiring Court Dress were the Drawing Rooms held to commemorate the Queen’s birthday (January) and the King’s birthday (June). These were invitation-only events involving only the highest-ranking members of Society. Unlike the young women being presented at court for the first time, whose dresses were primarily white or pale pastel shades, the ladies of the nobility were allowed more freedom of color in their court costumes. Many of the magazines of the period listed all the important women who attended the Drawing Rooms and described what they wore. For example, in January 1809, the Lady’s Magazine reported that the Countess of Carlisle wore: “A most superb dress of ruby velvet and white satin; the draperies in every part trimmed with a rich imperial gold border, and a profusion of splendid gold tassels, rope, &c.; robe trimmed with point lace. Head-dress, ruby turban, jewels, and feathers.” Figure 2 shows a dress worn by the Marchioness of Townshend at the Queen’s Drawing Room in 1806, and Figure 3 shows what the Princess of Wales wore to the King’s Drawing Room in 1807.

La Belle Assemblée, February 1808
“A Lady of Quality in the Birth Day Court Dress January 18, 1808”

The Queen’s unyielding insistence that women attend court in unfashionable hoops continued even after the King no longer appeared in public, and Drawing Rooms were hosted by the Prince Regent. The ever astute Mrs. Bell (the shameless self-promoter who designed most of the dresses illustrated in La Belle Assemblée) at last came to the rescue with a more flexible hoop in 1817 (see Figure 8), but it must still have been something of an aggravation to deal with such an unwiedy and heavy costume while standing, never sitting, at court. Such out-of-date dress had long been discarded at the French court, where no hoops were worn, but where long trains, white plumes, and court lappets echoed the English court style. (See Figures 5, 6, and 7.) After the Bourbons reclaimed the French throne upon Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo in 1815, fashion magazines in England began to include prints of French court dress. It is tempting to believe they did so to encourage the Prince Regent to adopt a more current style of court dress by showing the more fashionably attired ladies of the French court. (See Figures 6 and 7. As you can see, the prints were often exact copies of fashion prints that had previously appeared in the popular French publication, Le Journal des Dames et Des Modes.)

Journal des Dames et des Modes 1814 (month unknown)
Costume Parisien, “Costume de présentation”

The Prince, however, did not relax the rules until he came to the throne as George IV in 1820. Finally, ladies could abandon their hoops. (Ironically, they came back into fashion within another 15 years.) The rules regarding white plumes in the hair still held fast (and did so well into the 20th century), and in looking at the fashion prints of the early 1820s (see Figures 9, 10, and 11), it appears that the extravagance of skirt that was given up with the hoop was transferred to the head. Plumes became ridiculously large and numerous. Figure 9, which shows one of the first non-hooped Court Dresses from 1820, also exemplifies the new extravagance for plumes. Fortunately, ostrich feathers weigh very little, else the lady would surely have been unable to lift her head.

If it is any consolation to the ladies, the rules of gentlemen’s court dress were much more strict, and became even more so during Victoria’s reign.

Left: Journal des Dames et des Modes 1816 (month unknown) Costume Parisien “Coeffure et Robe de Cour”

Right: La Belle Assemblée, September 1816 “Parisian Court Dress”

La Belle Assemblée, which copied the print from the French weekly Journal des Dames et des Modes, described the dress as follows:

“Petticoat and train of white satin, superbly ornamented round the border and sides with flowers and couloured foil. Body of white satin or silver tissue. Short full sleeves of white satin, richly ornamented wth point lace, and surmounted by imperial wings formed of a triple row of the same material. Toque of white satin, encircled round the forehead by a bandeau of pearls or diamonds. The hair in curls, à-la-Ninon; superb plume of full white ostrich feathers, and court lappets of fine lace. Ear-rings and necklace of diamonds. White kid shoes with very small rosettes; white kid gloves, ornamented at the top with a narrow fluted quilling of blond.”

Left: Journal des Dames et des Modes 1816 (month unknown) Costume Parisien “Coeffure et Robe de Cour”

 

Right: La Belle Assemblée April 1817 “French Court Costume “

La Belle Assemblée, which copied the print from the French weekly Journal des Dames et des Modes, described the dress as follows:
“White satin petticoat, bordered with a rich work in silver lama of grapes and vine leaves. Body of silver tissue, with short sleeves or crape, ornamented with pearls. Falling tucker of crape, three rows, to correspond with the sleeves. Mantuan train of satin of a fine tyrian purple, pink, or ethereal blue, embroidered round the border in the same manner as the petticoat. The hair elevated on the summit of the head, and encircled with a bandeau of diamonds. A full plume of white ostrich feathers and marabou feathers intermingled. Court lappets of find Mechlin lace, edged with small pearls; diamond necklace and ear-rings.”

La Belle Assemblée, April 1817
“Court Dress with the New Hoop”

Described in the magazine as follows:
“Full suit dress of pink satin, finished round the border with fine blond interspersed with pearls, to which are added rich cordons and embossments of white silk, in an embroidery of a novel kind, mingled with artificial flowers. Superb drapery of embroidered net, trimmed with blond of an unrivalled pattern and workmanship, and drawn up with full wreaths of artificial flowers. Train of pink satin, elegantly finished with silver lama; short sleeves of pink satin and blond, caught up to the shoulder with full blown roses. Head-dress feathers and diamonds. Diamond necklace and ear-rings. White satin shoes; and white crape fan, the outward sticks studded and fastened with diamonds.

“N.B The attention of the nobility and gentry is particularly appealed to on the newly invented Court hoop, which enables a lady to sit comfortably in a sedan, or other carriage, while the hoop is worn, with the same ease as any other garment; and by this unique and unrivalled novelty the splendor and dignity of Court costume is not only preserved, but considerably heightened.”

La Belle Assemblée, July 1820
“Court Dress of Lady Worsley Holmes worn at the first Drawing Room of George IV”

Described in the magazine as follows:
“A beautiful drawing was taken of this superb and elegant dress last month, but our Engraver disappointed us of then offering it to the public; in addition to a faithful representation of it in our Print of Fashion, the following description is offered to our fair readers. It consists of a rich white satin slip, with a fancy petticoat over it, embroidered in pearls, wheat-ears, blue chenille rosettes, and wreaths of the same. The petticoat finished at the border with a rouleau of blue gros-de-Naples, wreathed over with pearls. A robe train of blue gros-de-Naples lined throughout with white satin, trimmed all round with a rich French blond, and rouleau of gros-de-Naples, entwined with pearls, to correspond with the border of the petticoat. The body of blue gros-de-Naples, tastefully ornamented with pearls and French blond. Headdress is a magnificent plume of ostrich feathers, bandeau of diamonds, and blond court lappets.”

Buy Regency costume and patterns at our online gift shop!

Candice Hern is the author of several Regency Romance novels and an avid collector of period fashion accessories. Her newest book, Lady Be Bad, part of her popular Merry Widows series, will be released in August. Visit her website for a sneak peak at this book as well as selections from her other novels. Larger images of the gowns seen here can also befound at www.candicehern.com.

 

 

For more information on court dress, see these sources:

 

  • Nigel Arch and Joanna Marschner, Court Dress Collection, Kensington Palace, 1984.
  • Sharon Laudermilk and Teresa L. Hamlin, The Regency Companion, Garland Publiching, Inc., 1989.
  • Philip Mansel, Dressed to Rule, Yale University Press, 2005.
  • Kay Standiland, In Royal Fashion, Museum of London, 1997.

For more information on fashion prints, see these sources:

  • Alison Adburgham, Women in Print: Writing Women and Women’s Magazine from the Restoration to the Accession of Victoria, George Allen and Unwin Ltd., 1972.
  • Irene Dancyger, A World of Women: An Illustrated Hisotry of Women’s Magazines 1700-1970, Gill and Macmillan, 1978.
  • Madeleine Ginsburg, An Introduction to Fashion Illustration, Victoria & Albert Museum, 1980.
  • Vyvyan Holland, Hand Coloured Fashion Plates 1770-1899, Batsford, 1955.
  • Doris Langley Moore, Fashion Through Fashion Plates 1771-1970, Clarkson N. Potter, Inc., 1971.
  • Sacheverell Sitwell and Doris Langley Moore, Gallery of Fashion 1790-1822, Batsford, 1949.
  • Cynthia L. White, Women’s Magazines 1693-1968, Michael Joseph, 1970.
  • Alison Adburgham, Women in Print: Writing Women and Women’s Magazine from the Restoration to the Accession of Victoria, George Allen and Unwin Ltd., 1972.
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Walking Dresses

Walking Dresses were worn to see and be seen. They are often referred to as Promenade Dresses, a very literal definition of their purpose. The fashionable Regency woman was seen walking in the parks or in the shopping districts during the London Season (spring and early summer); at the popular seaside resorts in August and September; and in the countryside at their own estates or at house parties during the fall and winter months. Walking Dresses differ for each location and season of the year. Because they were meant to be worn outdoors, the full costume of the Walking Dress always included a head covering of some kind, an outer garment or wrap, and gloves. Bonnets, caps, and veils were worn to cover the head, and were often the means of the most dashing or frivolous fashion statement.

The following prints from various fashion magazines of the day show a variety of Walking Dresses and their accessories. Note the large plumes on the bonnets and the use of artificial flowers and veils. Notice also in the accompanying magazine texts that hats and bonnets sometimes get more detailed descriptions than the dress, indicating the importance of head gear. Depending on the season, various outer garments or wraps were worn. The short spencer jacket can often be seen, as well as the longer pelisse. Variations of the cloak and artfully draped shawls are also often shown. Also notice that although an outer garment may be seen in a variety of colors, the dress beneath is almost always white.

 

Ackermann’s Repository, August 1812
“Promenade Dress”
“A plain jaconot or imperial cambric muslin round dress, formed high in the neck, and trimmed round the bottom, up the front, collar, and sleeves, with fullborders of plaited muslin. A white satin hussar cloak, ornamented with deep capes and antique floss trimming and tassels. A Lavinia hat of fine moss straw — a small cap of lace beneath, ornamented on one side with a small bunch of flowers, and tied with cerulean blue ribband on the other. A rosary cross and bracelets of the coquilla nut. Boot, or Roman shoes, of blue kid. Gloves a lemon colour; and parasol of correspondent shot sarsnet, with deep ball-fringed awning.We are indebted to the unrivaled taste and invention of Mrs. Gill, of Cork Street, for these, as for many others of the most elegant specimens of British costume which embellish this work.”



La Belle Assemblée, November 1812
“Morning Walking Dress”
“Short pelisse of deep lilac, shot with white; back broader than they were worn last month, and on each hip a Spanish button. It is made with a collar up to the throat, and trimmed round with rich fur; sleeves long and loose, with a fur at bottom to form a cuff, rather shorter in front than behind, and two Spanish buttons are placed just at the bottom of the pelisse in front, which fastens with a loop crossing from one to the other. The bosom is ornamented in the same manner; a belt of embroidered ribband round the waist, and a gold clasp in front. A bonnet of the same materials as the pelisse, crown a helmet shape, front very small, and a wreath of laurel round it; three white feathers are placed at the back of the bonnet, and fall over the front; broad ribband, same as the bonnet, is pinned plain under the chin. The hair is brought very low at the sides, and a single curl on the forehead. Buff gloves, and dark brown kid boots. Large silver bear muff.”


Ackermann’s Repository, June 1809
“Walking Dresses”
“Standing Figure — A Venetian spencer of violet satin, or sarsnet, with a row of small round buttons embroidered in silver, with a pendant loop to each; confined at the neck with a silk cord or silver tassel. Beaver hat of the same color, rather small, turned up in front, with a silver bottom and loop. Worked muslin dress and skirt, to shoe the feet and ankles. Black silk slipeprs and York tan gloves.

“Sitting Figure — Muslin under-dress, with full loose sleeves; a Tunic à l’antique of yellow crape, trimmed with broad lace round the bottom; yellow silk head-dress, with short veil. Purple mantle, lined with white. York tan gloves.

“Child’s Dress — Swedish coat of grey cloth or silk, clasped down the front with silver ornaments; short open sleeves. Hat of same colour, turned up and silver loop.”

Buy Regency costume and patterns at our online gift shop!

Adapted from the collection of Candice Hern. Candice Hern is the author of several Regency Romance novels and an avid collector of period fashion accessories. Her newest book, Lady Be Bad, part of her popular Merry Widows series, will be released in August. Visit her website for a sneak peak at this book as well as selections from her other novels. Larger images of the gowns seen here can also befound at www.candicehern.com.

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Evening Gowns

Just as modern women read Vogue or Mode or other magazines to keep abreast of current fashion trends, women of the 18th and 19th centuries relied on fashion plates. Since all clothing was made by hand, whether by a high-priced modiste or by one’s mother, fashion plates were an important resource to ensure that one’s wardrobe remained up-to-date and fashionable.

The first significant efforts to record contemporary costume appeared in the 17th century. These were issued more for education and amusement than as an attempt to set or predict fashion trends. Most of these early costume plates were of male costume. It was not until the last quarter of the 18th century that fashion plates began to be issued, designed to guide ladies in their choice of dress. They became extremely popular during the English Regency, coincident with the publication of several magazines devoted to feminine interests.

The magazines were issued in paper-bound covers, and each month’s issue generally included one or two fashion plates, along with other prints. Subscribers could return their monthly copies to the publisher for leather-bound volumes, usually in 6-month sets, or they could have them bound privately.

Sometimes women would cut out the fashion plates and keep them in a scrapbook. The number of Regency-period fashion plates still available indicates that they were not thrown away, but important enough to be kept in one form or another.

The prints were hand-colored, usually by teams of young girls and women, with the best artists used for painting faces. (The Ackermann’s are particularly notable for their beautifully painted faces.) Hand-coloring by illiterate workers had some interesting results. A dress described as green might show up in one copy as pink.

This collection concentrates on Evening Dress. Examples are provided from 1801 to 1818. Though it is difficult to make blanket statements about fashion trends in terms of hemlines (they go slightly up and down) and waistlines (they remain generally very high for evening wear throughout the period), other changes of style are more clearly defined. The earlier dresses have simpler decoration than the rather fussy embellishments of the later years; and the straight classical line of the skirt slowly moves toward the bell-shape that becomes prominent in the 1820s. It is also interesting to note the hairstyles, accessories, and even furniture shown in the prints.

Ackermann’s Repository
Evening Dress, September 1812

“A white crape robe, with demi-train, and long full sleeves, gathered at regular distances, and ornamented with simple bows of ribbon; bosom and back formed very low, the former ornamented with gold or Chinese silk trimming, and united with gold buckles on the right side. The robe is worn over a white satin slip, and trimmed at the bottom with lace or silver ribbon. Hair confined in the Eastern style, and ornamented with a wreath of variegated flowers. Necklace and cross of blended pearl and amber and earrings en suite. Roman slippers of white satin with gold clasps; fan of white and gold crape, or carved ivory. An occasional Grecian scarf of white lace.”

 

 

Ackermann’s Repository
Full Dress, May 1813

“A celestial blue satin slip with short full sleeve, trimmed round the bottom with a full border of lace, gathered on a knotted beading. A Polonese long robe of white crape, or gossamer net, trimmed entirely round with lace and knotted beading, united in front of the bosom with rows of satin bead. Hair in irregular curls, confined in the Eastern style, and blended with flowers. Necklace and drop of the satin bead or pearl; eardrops and bracelets to correspond; double neck-chain and heart of Oriental gold, inclosing an amulet. Grecian scarf of pale buff colour, embroidered with shaded morone silks, in Grecian characters, and fancifully disposed on the figure. Slippers of blue satin or kid, trimmed with silver. White gloves of French kid, falling below the elbow. Fan of carved ivory, with Italian border of coloured feathers.”

 

 

Ackermann’s Repository
Evening Dress, November 1813

“A round robe of blossom-coloured crape, with demi-train, worn over a white satin slip, gather frock back and stomacher front; the sleeve unusually short, and back and bosom uncommonly (not to say unbecomingly) exposed. The sleeves and neck of the robe ornamented with puckered white satin, and a fancy border round the bottom composed of white satin and crape, the same as the dress; belt of the same round the bottom of the waist, confined with a pearl, or other appropriate clasp, in front. The hair in irregular curls, divided in front, and confined on the crown of the head with white beads and blended with small autumnal flowers of various hues. Necklace, a single row of pearl or the satin bead; a small elastic chain of Oriental gold, from which is suspended a large convent cross of diamonds. Earrings and bracelets of pearl, with diamond studs. French kid gloves, below the elbow. Slipper of white satin, decorated round the instep with silver fringe. Indian fan of carved ivory.”

 

 

Ackermann’s Repository
Evening Dress, January 1815

“A celestial blue crape frock, over a white satin slip, ornamented round the bottom with a deep border of tulle or net lace, embroidered with shaded blue silks and chenille; short full sleeve, trimmed with tulle or net lace; the dress trimmed entirely round the top to correspond. Hair parted in the center of the forehead, confined in the Grecian style, and blended with flowers. Necklace of pearl; eardrops and bracelets to correspond. Slippers of blue satin or kid. White gloves of French kid.”

 

 

 

Ackermann’s Repository
Full Dress (designed by Mrs. Bean, Albemarle Street), February 1815

“Pale pink or primrose-coloured crape petticoat over white satin, ornamented at the feet with a deep border of tulle, trimmed with blond lace and pink or primrose-coloured ribband, festooned and decorated with roses; short full sleeves, composed of tulle and crape, with a border of French embroidery; the back drawn nearly to a point, corresponding to the cape front of the dress, and trimmed round with blond lace; The waist very short, and an easy fullness in the petticoat, carried entirely round. Necklace and drop of pearl; eardrops and bracelets to correspond. Hair in irregular curls, confined in the Eastern style, and blended with flowers. French scarf, fancifully disposed on the figure. Slippers of pink or primrose-coloured kid; gloves to correspond.”

 

 

 

Ackermann’s Repository
Evening Dress, August 1815

“A white satin petticoat, richly ornamented at the feet with a broad border of tulle and satin; a frock-body, tied behind, and composed of tulle and satin, with a quilling of tulle terminating at each point of the shoulder strap; a short sleeve, richly ornamented with frilled tulle, corresponding to the bottom of the dress; short sash of white satin tied in full bows behind. Cap composed of white satin and gathered tulle, decorated in the front with a full wreath formed of tulle edged with satin. Stockings plain silk. Slippers white kid or ribbed sarsnet. Gloves French kid drawn over the elbow. ”

Candice Hern is the author of several Regency Romance novels and an avid collector of period fashion accessories. Her heroine’s wardrobes are often ispired by the period fashion plates, such as these, in her personal collection. Knowing the history behind these clothes helps bring her stories even more vividly to life.

Candice’s latest story, “From This Moment On” can be found in, It Happened One Night, which features characters from her famous “Merry Widows” series.

Reprinted with permission from Candicehern.com

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