Fashions of London and Paris, October 1805.
These dresses show what ladies would have worn for half-mourning. The king’s brother, the Duke of Gloucester, had died on August 25, and full court mourning was proclaimed on September 1. Full, deep mourning would have been declared for 4-6 weeks for a member of the royal family. By mid-October, half-mourning would have been appropriate.
Whereas full morning required unrelieved black, half-mouning allowed grays and whites and lavenders. A normal white dress, such as the one on the right, could have easily been accessorized with black for half-mourning.
Some have interpreted mourning and half-mourning prints of this period to have been for Lord Nelson, who died at the Battle of Trafalgar on October 21. But Nelson was a commoner, despite his titles, and public mourning would not have been proclaimed for him by the Lord Chamberlain.
The print is described in the magazine as follows:
“Fig. 1.–A dress of black crape over white sarsnet, the dress made very long, and trimmed and ornamented with black velvet and bugles; a tucker of the same, drawn over the bosom. The hair dressed in the most fashionable manner, and ornamented with a tiara of black bugles. White gloves, shoes, and fan.
“Fig. 2.–A walking dress of cambric muslin, made high on he neck with a collar, and long sleeves; the waist confined with a black velvet band and clasp. A turban hat of black chip. Black gloves and shoes.”