When fashion plates show mourning attire, it is generally because of a public mourning for the death of a member of the royal family. Mourning dresses shown the year previous, for example, were in honor of the death of Princess Amelia in November 1810. I cannot find any royal death associated with November or December of 1811, so the mourning dress shown here may not be for a specific public mourning, but simply a generic costume for private mourning. War and disease brought death to every family at some point, and the ladies’ magazines provided their female readers with stylish options for mourning.
The print is described in the magazine as follows:
“A robe of fine iron-grey cloth or velvet, with long sleeves and demi high front, trimmed down the center of the figure, at a measured distance, with chenille fur, and clasped in the center, from the bosom to the feet, with lozenge clasps of jet; the belt confined with the same. Antique scalloped ruff of white crape; cuffs to correspond. Hungarian mantle, with double capes, trimmed with chenille fur,composed of the same material as the robe, and ornamented with rich cord and tassels at the throat. A small Eastern turban of grey and silver tissue; short willow feathers (alternately grey and white) drooping on the left side. Ear-rings and necklace of jet. Gloves of grey or white kid. Slippers of black queen silk, with jet clasps. Fan of black crape, frosted with silver. This dress furnished by Mrs. Gill, Cork-street, Burlington Gardens.”
This print is unique among Ackermann prints as it includes a signature of the engraver, William Hopwood, of the famous Hopwood family of engravers.