Two February 1817 Fashion Plates

For the final fashion plate focus for February, these two ensembles are both from the 1817 issue of Ackermann’s Repository of Arts.

Carriage Dress from February 1817—

Fashion plate; hand-colored aquatint from Rudolph Ackermann’s “Repository of Arts”, Series 2, Vol. III, Plate 10, No. 14, February 1, 1817.

Depicts woman standing in a long blue overcoat, holding an ermine muff. A white slip dress underneath a blue jacket has a ruffle collar and is trimmed with lace and three rows of ruffles right above the ankle. The empire waist blue jacket has long sleeves trimmed in a ruffle. A long ruffle goes down the front of the jacket and down around the hem. Black velvet cap ornamented with large white plumes, a layered necklace with an opera glass. A pink mantle draped around the shoulders and a large ermine muff on one hand. Buff leather gloves, white stockings, and blue slippers with a small ruffle at the toe.

Original 1817 description:

“A white poplin round dress, made half-high, with plain long sleeves; the body and the bottoms of the sleeves are trimmed with puffings of blond, intermixed with white satin, and a single flounce of deep blind lace finishes the bottom of the skirt. The pelisse worn with this dress is composed of blue levantine, made about a quarter of a yard shorter than the gown : it is quite tight to the shape, the back something broader than last month, and the waist about the same length. A fancy floss silk trimmings, of very novel and pretty description, edges the pelisse, which is finished at the bottom by a deep flounce of blond lace. The Coburg cap, composed of black velvet, turned up a little on one side in front, and lined and edged with blue satin, is the head-dress worn with it; it is ornamented with a profusion of white ostrich feathers. This head-dress has much novelty, and is very becoming. The ruff is of plain blond, edged with narrow white satin ribbon, and an Indian scarf is thrown over the shoulders. An ermine muff, and gloves and slippers of blue kid, complete his elegant dress.”

POPLIN: Also called tabinet(or tabbinet). A strong fabric in a plain weave of any fiber or blend, with crosswise ribs that typically gives a corded surface. Poplin traditionally consisted of a silk warp with a weft of worsted yarn. In poplin the weft is in the form of a stout cord, giving the fabric a ridged structure, adding depth and softness to the lustre of the silky surface.

LEVANTINE: A twilled sarcenet; a rich faced, stout twilled silk characterized by having two faces of different colors or shades. Also called Batavia silk. The name comes from the area in the eastern Mediterranean, formerly the Levant, which is now occupied by Lebanon, Syria, and Israel. Imitations were made in cotton.

NOTE: I searched for any reference to a “Coburg cap” and found nothing. Coburg is a town in the Bavaria region of Germany, which did come into fashion history as a piece-dyed or printed twill cloth named for Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg in 1880, but this is much later than 1817. If anyone is familiar with the reference, please leave a comment below!

Evening Dress from February 1817—

Fashion plate; hand-colored aquatint from Rudolph Ackermann’s “Repository of Arts”, Series 2, Volume III, Plate 11, No. 14, 1 February 1817.

Depicts a woman in a white evening dress with a shawl, headdress and jewelry. The dress is white low-cut with an empire waist. Virago sleeves with bows and jewels alternating at the gatherings. The lower part of the skirt down to the hem is decorated with lace trim, pink roses and white flowers with fabric festoons connecting each flower. A pink rose and white flower crown sit upon the head with neat hairstyle. A white shawl with a pink and blue floral embroidery design in the corners and white fringe trim held lightly in her hands and draped behind her back. Two gold necklaces of different lengths with gold cross pendants hang around her neck.

Original 1817 description from page 116:

“Is composed of Venetian crape, placed over a white satin under-dress; a treble row of shell-scallopped lace ornaments the feet, above which is seen a border of variegated laurel. A bodice and Circassian top sleeve of Pomona green satin; the bosom interspersed with shell-scallopped lace, and correspondently ornamented. Shoulders, back, and bosom much exposed. Hair in disheveled curls, with variegated laurel band in front, and a transparent Brussels veil thrown across the back of the head, and descending irregularly over that back and shoulders. A chain and cross of pale amber ear-rings, and bracelets of pearl. Slippers of white satin; gloves of French kid; and fan of carved ivory.”

CREPE: Also known as crape, crepon, crespe, crisp. A versatile fabric originally made of silk, the weaving or fabric treatment methods result in a unique rippling, three-dimensional texture that is very delicate.

BRUSSELS LACE: A type of lace or sheer muslin, from Belgium, which was handmade of course (most lace was at this period) and had a pattern.

The Circassians are an indigenous ethnic group and nation native to the historical country-region of Circassia in the North Caucasus of Russia. Eastern Turkish influence upon fashion during the Romantic era included those of Circassian women, whose reputation dates back to the Ottoman Empire and the Sultan’s harem. Circassians were regularly characterized as the ideal of feminine beauty in poetry, novels, and art. Cosmetic products were advertised, from the 18th century on, using the word “Circassian” in the title or claiming that the product was based on substances used by the women of Circassia.



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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I like both these! Although I would lose the scarf, muff and hat from the top one! I would definitely have enjoyed my evening wearing the bottom dress as I would feel so elegant. Both lovely!

cindie snyder

Really pretty! Love the carriage dress with the flowers on it!

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