La Belle Assemblée, July 1808.
“A Lady of Quality in the Birth day Court Dress, January 18, 1808.
The birthday of the monarch was always celebrated in June, and the monarch’s consort’s birthday was celebrated in January, regardless of their actual birthdays. This is still true today. The court dress shown here was worn for the celebration of Queen Charlotte’s birthday on January 18, 1808. (Her actual birthday was in May.) We do not know who the dress was worn by, other than a “Lady of Quality.”
The “gold spangled scaling” of the dress must have been spectacular in person, especially paired with the body and train of purple velvet.
Court Dresses were every expensive and could only be worn once. It is believed that a Court Dress at this time would have cost £200-£300, over $10,000 in today’s money.
Following the description of the prints, and a section titled General Remarks on the Most Select Fashions for the Season, is a section titled Ladies’ Dresses on the Anniversary of Her Majesty’s Birth Day. The dresses of 20 high-ranking ladies, including the Queen, are described.
The print is described in the magazine as follows:
“THE MOST SPLENDID AND ELEGANT COURT DRESS. A white satin petticoat , covered with gold spangled scaling, ornamented round the bottom and draperies with a deep border of white velvet, embroidered in an elegant pattern of gold; and finished with a rich fringe of the same. Body and train of purple velvet, trimmed with a similar fringe; pocket-holes ornamented with a rich gold cord and tassels. Crescent stomacher of gold mosaic, finished with a splendid diamond brooch; front of the sleeves ornamented with the same.
“Diamond necklace, earrings, and bracelets. Hair a la Madona, ornamented with a gold net; confined at the back of the head with a diamond comb and star, from whence descent court lappets of Brussels lace. Two curled ostrich feathers placed toward the left side. Plain tucker of lace corresponding with the lappets, brought to a point at the center of the bosom. Shoes of ruby velvet, embroidered and trimmed with gold. Gloves of superfine French kid, worn above the elbow. Fan of carved ivory, with ruby stud; mount of ruby crape, richly embroidered with gold and spangles.”