La Belle Assemblée, July 1807.
In these early La Belle Assemblée prints (it had begun publishing only the year before), there is often more background detail, with the figures sometimes shown in surroundings appropriate to the type of dress. This was likely in imitation of the prints in the much more expensive publication, the Gallery of Fashion, which frequently set their models in lovely outdoor scenes. Within a few years, there is more focus on the fashion, with very little, if any, background detail. Based on the title of the print, one can assume that this print is mean to represent Kensington Gardens.
The print is described in the magazine as follows:
“No. 1 – A plain cambric round dress, a walking length. Roman spencer, with Vandyke lapels and falling collar; finished with the same round the bottom of the waist, and flowing open in front of the bosom. A village hat of Imperial chip, with bee-hive crown, confined under the chin with ribbon the color of the spencer.Cropped hair, divided in the center of the forehead with full curls. Gloves and shoes of lemon-coloured kid. Parasol of salmon-coloured sarsnet.
“No. 2 – Round dress of India muslin, with short sleeves, ornamented round the bottom and sleeves with a rich border of needle-work. Promenade tippet of Brussels lace, lined with white satin. Hat of white chip, or fancy cap of lilac satin, with a Brussels lace veil. Hair confined in braids over the right temple, and formed in loose curls on the opposite side. Good hoop earrings. Gloves and slippers of lilac kid.”
The second dress is very much in the French style, as seldom do I see English prints of day dresses with short sleeves and long gloves.