Ball Dress, June 1814

La Belle Assemblée, June 1814.


In the summer of 1814, Europe celebrated peace after the Treaty of Paris, following the fall of Napoleon and his exile to Elba. The Prince Regent invited his allies — William of Orange, King Frederick William III of Prussia, Prince Metternich of Austria, Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, and Tsar Alexander I of Russia — to London. Tsar Alexander was also accompanied by his sister, the Duchess of Oldenburg. The royal visitors were feted and wined and dined, and there was great public interest especially in the Russian Emperor and his popular sister.

This dress was meant to be worn at one of the many fetes honoring the royal visitors.

The print is described in the magazine as follows:

“White lace drapery over a pale pink satin slip; the drapery is trimmed round with scollops, which are edged with narrow blond lace, put on very full, and is rather shorter than the slip which is also edged with blond.  A pink satin body is worn over the drapery; the back is made tight to the shape, and is finished behind in a point to correspond to the front; the back is the same breadth as last month, but unusually high. Fancy sleeve. Scollops of lace edged with blond falls over the neck, and is edged to correspond with the train, The points of the body are ornamented with pearl fleurs de lys, which have a most tasteful effect. Pearl necklace, bracelets, earrings, and armlets; locket, intermingled pearls and colored stones. Head-dress the Wellington wreath of laurel in white or green foil, interspersed with regal crowns and other applicable attributes: it is a most elegant, novel, and tasteful ornament for any full head-dress whatever, and at this period should be univerally worn. White kid slippers and gloves.”

After the description of the second print is the following statement:

“Mrs. Bell, the inventress of the Ladies’ Chapeau Bras, of No. 26, Charlotte-street, Bedford-square, two doors from Great Russel-street, (removed from No. 22, Upper King-street) is the inventress of the above dresses, at whose Magazin des Modes alone may they be had.”

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