La Belle Assemblée, January 1807.
“London Fashions as Worn in December 1806.”
The mourning dress in this print represents mourning for the Duke of Brunswick, the king’s brother-in-law (he was married to George III’s sister Augusta), who died in November 1806 of wounds suffered at the Battle of Jena–Auerstedt. The white underdress would not have been worn for full or deep mourning, nor would the diamond jewelry. I would call this slight mourning or ordinary mourning. It is interesting that the descriptions name the dress as either Full Dress or Opera Dress. As the latter would make it Half Dress, I’m not sure how it can be both Full and Half Dress. Its fabrics, trimmings, and accessories certainly suggest Full Dress to me.
The print is described in the magazine as follows:
“A MORNING DRESS. Of French cambric, made with a train; plain waist, rather high behind, and sharply rounded at the chest; trimmed round the bottom with muslin à-la-corkscrew; long and very full sleeves, edged at the hands with the same; a blue ribband round the waist, terminating with bows and ends on the right side. The cap à-la-cloister, entirely concealing the hair, flowing loose and shading the face on the left side, gathered above the right eyebrow in a sort of irregular nosel [?], and simply confined round the head with a blue ribband, and finishing behind with a bow, forms the crown or caul of the cap. A neckerchief, or shirt, sitting full in the front, with deep falling collar, embroidered at the edge. Limerick gloves and jean shoes.
“MOURNING FULL, OR OPERA DRESS. A Spanish vest and petticoat of Italian crape, worn over white satin, with a rich border of embossed velvet, terminating at the extreme edge with a narrow Vandyke or fringe of bugles, the petticoat gathered in drapery towards the right knee, with a cord and tassels; the front of the vest made high and formed in irregular horizontal gathers, confined with two narrow bands of bugles, terminating at the corners of the bosom, where the vest flows loose, and forms the square bust, which is finished with a pearl or diamond brooch in the center. A short full twisted or ruched sleeve, bordered at the bottom similar to the vest. The hair in a plain band round the right temple, relieved and terminated by loose curls, which commence on the crown of the head and flow in long irregular ringlets from the left eyebrow so as to reach the shoulder. A plain lace veil, with slight border, fastened on the crown of the head, falling over the right side of the bosom, and reaching below the waist. A pearl or diamond ornament, blended with the hair, over the left eye. Necklace, earrings, and bracelet to correspond. White kid gloves, white satin shoes. Fan of ebony, inlaid with ivory, and silver mount.”