Ball Gown, October 1816

This wonderful fashion print from Ackermann’s Repository of Arts for October 1816 depicts a woman in a white and pink ball dress with a white shawl, gloves, and a headdress. The dress is pink with a white translucent over-layer with white detailing around the neckline and hem as well as red, yellow, and green floral trim. A headdress of red roses wrapped around the hair bun. Draped around one shoulder is a white shawl with red and green flower embroidery and trim on the edges. White elbow length gloves cover the hands and a gold necklace hangs from her neck. White ballet flats with a flower detail are on her feet.

Fashion plate; hand-colored aquatint from Rudolph Ackermann’s “Repository of Arts”, Series 2, Volume II, Plate 23, No. 10, 1 October 1816.

Original 1816 description from page 241:

“A gown, composed of white gauze, of an exquisitely beautiful and glossy texture: it is worn over a maiden-blush slip. For the form of the dress, which is in the highest degree novel and elegant, we refer our readers to our print. The trimming is a rich rollio of intermingled gauze and satin at the bottom of the dress, above which is a wreath of fancy flowers, and this wreath is surmounted by white satin draperies: the general effect of this trimming is uncommonly tasteful and striking. The hair is much parted on the forehead, and dressed very low at the sides; and the hind hair, brought up very high, forms a tuft. Head-dress, a wreath of French roses, placed so as apparently to support the hind hair. Necklace, bracelets, and ear-rings of pearl. White kid slippers and gloves.

We have to thank the condescension of a lady, one of our subscribers, for both the elegant dresses which we have given this month.”

ROLLIO – A 19th century fashion term meaning the trimming of material rolled lengthwise into a narrow tubular shape.



Sharon Lathan

Sharon Lathan is the best-selling author of The Darcy Saga, a ten-volume sequel series to Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice.

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Cj Fosdick

Wish we knew how much this ball gown cost back then? With all the decorations on it, and roses holding her hair up, I wonder if any vigorous dancing put her in “loose” peril.


I myself don’t have enough ‘hind hair’ for this style! What an unusual name for it!
I do like this dress and think the roses in the hair set it off wonderfully!

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