Half-Mourning Hats, October 1805

Fashions of London and Paris, October 1805.

“Head Dresses. Oct. 1805”

Compared to prints in this magazine of hats to be worn in full mourning, which are depicted in unrelieved black, these are clearly 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.

Half-mourning allowed grays and whites and lavenders. Those hats here that do not include white or gray would have also been appropriate for full morning, or could be worn with a half-mourning dress.

By the end of the month, word would have reached England about the death of Lord Nelson at Trafalgar. Though he was not a member of the royal family and therefore had no announcement of court mourning, he was considered such a hero that the public, and the court, went back into deep mourning out of respect.

The print is described in the magazine as follows:

“Fig.1.– Hat of white or grey satin, turned up in front, and ornamented with a plume of black feathers.

“Fig. 2.–Cap of black crepe, with a full vandyked border, ornamented with a black crape flower.

“Fig. 3.–A cap of black crape, with a lace border, turned up in front, with a black flower.

“Fig. 4.–Hat of grey satin, turned up in front, and ornamented with black flowers.

“Fig. 5.–A small round hat of white satin, with a roll of black crape round the edge; black flower in front.

“Fig. 6.–A large hat of grey satin, turned up in front, and ornamented with a large black feather.

“Fig. 7–Hat of black crape.

“Fig. 8.–A gypsy hat of white chip, the crown covered with a black handkerchief, and tied under the chin.

“Fig. 9.–The hair dressed with a tiara of bugles.”

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