This is a half-mourning costume, as Princess Amelia, youngest child of King George III, had died on November 2, 1810 at age 27. She was a favorite among royals and among the public. The magazines that include fashion plates often show mourning dresses, but it always seemed that they published more mourning dresses for Princess Amelia’s death than for anyone else, until the death of Princess Charlotte in 1817. However, a note in the January 1811 issue of La Belle Assemblée states that official public mourning for Princess Amelia was to have lasted through January 11, but that “the Court has extended it to three weeks beyond that period, in complement to the deceased Queen of France.” (Marie Joséphine of Savoy, wife of the exiled Louis XVIII, had died two weeks after Princess Amelia.) So perhaps those back-to-back mourning periods explain the abundance of mourning prints at this time.
First stages of public mourning would have required all black, but by December, a month after the Princess’s death, gray was allowed. Not only the colors but the fabrics were dictated in the proclamations of public mourning. Bombazine was a favored fabric as it had no shine.
The print is described in the magazine as follows:
“A black bombazine or sarsnet round robe, with high bosom, and long sleeves with white Spanish weepers, trimmed round the bottom, at the front, and round the bosom, with a thin chain of crape. A white crape habit-shirt, with high collar, and Spanish frill around the throat. A cardinal mantle of black or grey cloth, lined and trimmed with white fur or ermine. Prussian helmet, composed of the same materials, over which is frequently thrown a veil of black lace. Black jean slippers, or half-boots of kid leather. Gloves of black or grey kid.”