La Belle Assemblée, December 1810.
This dress is described as for Second Mourning, which is the equivalent of Half Mourning. It represents mourning for Princess Amelia, the King’s youngest daughter, who died at age 27 on November 2. Even as Second Mourning, this ensemble is a bit unusual. There is gold trimming, gold jewelry, and white gloves, none of which were considered appropriate for any stage of mourning.
Even the General Observations on Fashion and Dress states that at the time this issue went to press in November, “No mixture of grey whatever is admitted in the present order of mourning.” It also mentions that only varieties of jet jewelry should be worn.
Perhaps this was the only print of a black dress available on such short notice, and the editors had to make do. Or maybe it wasn’t originally a black dress at all, but colored black at the last minute to accommodate court mourning. Even the title, “Evening Dress” wasn’t modified to “Evening Mourning Dress.”
The print is described in the magazine as follows:
“A SECOND MOURNING EVENING FULL DRESS. A white satin slip, ornamented round the bottom with gold, over which is worn a black patent net dress, with short sleeves. The dress entirely edged round with a rich joining lace, and ornamented with gold buttons; sloped up at the bottom in the front, and trimmed with a broad scallop lace. The hat is composed of black velvet and lace, ornamented with gold and gold spray in front. Hair in curls divided on the forehead; necklace and ear-rings of gold; white kid gloves; shoes of white satin with gold rosettes. A shawl of French grey silk, which is thrown across the shoulders in any way that occasion or fancy may dictate.
“The Tarragona hat and dress represented in the plate, as a fashionable evening costume, is the entire invention of Miss Blacklin, of New Bridge-street.”