Evening Dress, February 1816

Ackermann’s Repository of Arts, February 1816.

“Evening Dress.”

The description states that this dress, made for a “lady of distinction,” was only allowed to be viewed for a very short time. That raises a few questions. Was the “slight view” allowed by the lady who owned the dress, or the modiste who made it for her? And if the view was so brief, how was their artist able to create such a detailed image of it? After all, they did not have cell phone cameras in 1816. I suspect someone made a quick sketch while someone else made detailed notes. In any case, the result is a lovely print.

The skirt is a bit fussy for me, but I confess to loving those shoes!

The print is described in the magazine as follows:

“White crape, or lace frock, over a white satin slip; the body and sleeves are formed of a very elegant fancy material, which has just been introduced. The body [ie bodice] is extremely novel and elegant: we refer our readers for its form to our Plate: the sleeve is very short, and, as well as the body, trimmed with blond, which is set on full. The skirt is made a walking length, and is trimmed in a most tasteful style; but the slight view which we had of the dress will not permit us to describe it: our readers will, however, be able to form a very correct idea of it from our Plate. Head-dress, the toque à la Rubens, composed of white lace, and ornamented with feathers and precious stones. Necklace, ear-rings, and locket, of diamonds. White satin slippers trimmed en suite, and made, as all dress shoes now are, to come very high over the foot. White kid gloves trimmed with tull. A French scarf, superbly embroidered at the ends, is thrown carelessly over the arm. This dress, we understand, was invented by Mrs. Griffin for a lady of distinction; and it certainly extremely novel and elegant.”

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