January Fashion Plates: 1809 & 1816
For today, I am sharing two Fashion Plates from January editions of Ackermann’s “Repository of Arts” for your Regency fashion viewing pleasure.
First up is a morning dress from January 1809—
Fashion plate, hand-colored aquatint from Rudolph Ackermann’s “Repository of Arts”, Series 1, Vol. I, Plate 1, No. 1, January 1809.
Modern description: “Depicts a women standing on a platform wearing a white dress with high neckline covered by mantle closure, empire waist and worked stomacher with gold bow ornament under the bustline. Long hanging sleeve fastened around wrists with a small bow decorative ornament, similar to fasteners on waist and mantle closure. Long floor length white muslin skirt. Gold colored mantle trimmed in ermine and fastened at neck with bow ornament. Gold colored bonnet with ruffle trim, angled to one side styled over curled hairstyle. York tan gloves and pointed gold cloth sandals.”
Original 1809 description from page 52 written by Madame Lancaster, the fashion editor and designer of this outfit:
“A Polish bonnet and mantle of gold-coloured velvet, with an invisible hood trimmed with ermine: an antique collar fastened with a gold ornament in front, in form of a shell. Morning dress, white muslin Brussels spot, with worked stomacher, and trimmed down the front and at the bottom; worked long hanging sleeves, twisted and fastened at the wristband with a small ornament, of the same form as that which fastens the mantle and cincture of the dress; sandals of gold-coloured cloth, laced with brown cord and tassels; York tan gloves.”
NOTE: From what I could gather, Brussels spot refers to a type of lace, or in this case sheer muslin, from Belgium, which was handmade of course (most lace was at this period) and had a pattern. Difficult to tell from the fashion plate, but perhaps literally “spots” or the term may apply to a general pattern. I could not track it down more than that, sorry.
NOTE: Polish bonnet appears to refer to the gathering and ruffles on this bonnet, which is reminiscent of a traditional Polish headdress. Not to be confused with “polish bonnet” when Googling to find fluffy pads to fit over polishing machines! LOL!
NOTE: From The Dictionary of Fashion History, York tan gloves were from the period 1780s-1820s, gloves long or short of fawn-colored soft leather. “York tan gloves… the smooth surface inside, tied high above the elbows” (1788, Mrs. Papendiek’s Memoirs). The male versions were wrist-length.
Second Fashion Plate is a walking dress from January 1816—
Fashion plate, hand-colored aquatint from Rudolph Ackermann’s “Repository of Arts”, Series 2, Vol. I, Plate 4, No. 1, January 1, 1816.
Modern description: “Depicts a woman walking away and looking back towards viewer in a long dark blue dress. High white ruffled collar coming over top of dress. Back pleated towards the waist and leg-o-mutton sleeve with ruffle at wrist. Long dark blue skirt trimmed in a large ruffles hemmed right above the ankle. Pleated white lace high back bonnet with two light blue ribbons ornamented the top. White leather gloves, white stockings, and dark blue slippers with ruffled ornament at toe.”
Original 1816 description:
“High dress, composed of the finest dark blue ladies’ cloth; it is made up to the throat, but without a collar, has a slight fulness in the back, and fulls very much off the shoulder; the front is tight to the shape, and the waist very short. The trimmings is dark blue satin, to correspond; it is cut byas, laid on double and very full: long plain sleeve, finished at the wrist with satin; French ruff of very rich lace. Head-dress a la mode de Paris; it is a cap composed of white lace, and ornamented with two rolls of ribbon to correspond: the form of this cap is in highest degree original. Gloves white kid. Sandals blue kid.”
NOTE: The leg of mutton sleeve (also known in French as the gigot sleeve) was initially named due to its unusual shape: formed from a voluminous gathering of fabric at the upper arm that tapers to a tight fit from the elbow to the wrist. First seen in fashionable dress in the 1820s, hence it not being called by this term in the 1816 description in Ackermann’s. The sleeve became popular between approximately 1825 and 1833 – but by the time Queen Victoria ascended to the throne in 1837, the overblown sleeves had completely disappeared in favor of a more subdued style.