Opera Pelisse, December 1813

La Belle Assemblée, December 1813

“Opera Pelisse”

This pelisse would be just the thing for one of my cold Minnesota winters. Not only is it trimmed with ermine, but lined with it as well. Nice!

This print is unique among La Belle Assemblée prints as it includes the initials of the engraver (W.H.), William Hopwood, of the famous Hopwood family of engravers.

The print in described in the magazine as follows:

“This pelisse is made of the richest orange or amber twilled sarsnet, lined with ermine; the collar, cape, and cuffs are also of ermine. In the form of this dress there is nothing particularly novel, but its general effect is strikingly elegant, and highly appropriate to the season. The waist is very short, and the sleeves not quite so loose as they have been worn. Small turn-up hat of the same materials as the pelisse, superbly ornamented with white ostrich feathers, and tied under the chin with a ribband to correspond. White kid shoes and gloves.”

The dress, which we see only a hint of at the bottom, is deemed to be “nothing particularly novel.” Not to put too fine a point on it, but neither is the pelisse. It is copied from a print in the Paris publication Le Journal des Dames et des Modes from February 5, 1811.

In the La Belle Assemblée print, the color of the pelisse is changed, a hat has replaced the diamond bandeau, and simple white slippers have replaced the charming multi-strapped French blue slippers. But the pelisse, as you can see, is a direct copy. (Click on the print to see a larger version.)

Prints from this Paris publication were regularly copied in British publications without acknowledgement. Copyright laws were, to say the least, very loose in those days.


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