Walking Dress, December 1811

La Belle Assemblée, December 1811.

“Morning Walking Dress”

I find this print rather extraordinary because of the vibrant hand-coloring. Imagine the time and talent involved in painting the plaid pattern, following the shape of the body. Now imagine painting 2000 copies of it, along with 2000 copies of a second print, as that was the approximate circulation of La Belle Assemblée at this time, with two prints in each monthly issue. I have seen several copies of this print, and own two, and each one is beautifully painted. One has to wonder if there was a specialist for hand-coloring plaids and other complicated patterns. I have read that Rudolph Ackermann hired specialists for hand-coloring faces, so perhaps a plaid specialist is not a far-fetched notion.

The print is described in the magazine as follows:

“Promenade Costume: A high dress of tartan plaid, made of sarsnet or Merino crape, trimmed down the bottom with white swansdown, and two rows of the same down the front, alternately relieved by a narrow silk cord in loops, and buttons of a bright nakara colour, with a belt to correspond. A mantle of dark Clarence blue Merino cloth, made with half-sleeves of sarsnet, lined with amber sarsnet, and trimmed with swansdown; Scottish cap of the same, with a trimming of swansdown next the face, and a full puffing of plaid ribband, to answer the dress, above it. A plume of Clarence blue feathers tipped with amber. Clothes of York tan, and half-boots of Clarence blue kid, faced with nakara.”

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