Evening Full Dress, May 1809

La Belle Assemblée, May 1809.

“Evening Full Dress in April 1809.”

This print is unique in its depiction of a woman in front of a mirror. There are a few early French prints with a similar pose and mirror, but it is rare to find one in a British publication.

Note the hoop earrings, which always look so modern to me but are frequently shown in fashion prints of the period. Also note the bracelets on the wrists and upper arms. Bracelets were almost always shown in pairs, ie no single bracelet on one wrist, but matching bracelets on each wrist or upper arm.

The long sleeves look as though they might be detachable, though they are not described as such.

The print is described in the magazine a follows:

“A Spartan robe, with demi-train, of pale blue or grey crape, worn over a white satin slip, ornamented round the bottom and up the front and back seem with gold or silver lace; triangular front, back, and sleeves, formed of the same trimming, and terminating  on each shoulder with a topaz or gold brooch; long sleeve of transparent net, or gold tissue, in oblique stripes. Oriental armlets, and bracelets of topaz or wrought gold; earrings and necklace en suite. Spartan cap, with Persian diadem, composed of various gems; an ostrich and heron’s feather placed towards one side, and drooping over the front of the headdress. The hair in irregular curls on the forehead, and cropped close behind. A Carthage Cymar, or scarf of double shot Spanish silk, suspended gracefully from one shoulder, and crossed the skirt of the figure behind, is confined toward the front by the natural disposition of the adverse hand. This graceful appendage is edged occasionally with full scalloped lace, a binding of silver, or a border of tambour in happily contrasted shades. The boudoir or toilet mirror is intended to display the tasteful effect of this costume on the adverse front of the figure. — This robe is furnished by the Misses Walthers, No. 75 Margaret-street, Cavendish-square.”


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