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'A Lady of Quality in the Birth day Court Dress, Jany. 18, 1808'

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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'A Lady of Quality in the Birth day Court Dress, Jany. 18, 1808'

published by John Bell, published in La Belle Assemblée or Bell’s Court and Fashionable Magazine
hand-coloured etching, published 1 February 1808
8 3/4 in. x 5 3/8 in. (221 mm x 136 mm) paper size
acquired unknown source, 1930
Reference Collection
NPG D47510

Artistsback to top

This portraitback to top

Described in the issue for January 1808:
The Most Splendid and Elegant Court-Dress. A white satin petticoat, covered with gold spangle scaling, ornamented round the bottom and draperies, with a deep border of white velvet, embroidered in an elegant pattern of gold; and finished with a rich fringe of the same. Body and train of purple velvet, trimmed with a similar fringe; pocket-holes ornamented with a rich gold cord and tassels. Crescent stomacher of gold mosaic, finished with a splendid diamond brooch; front of the sleeves ornamented with the same.
Diamond necklace, earrings and bracelets. Hair a-la-Madona, ornamented with a gold net; confined at the back of the head with a diamond comb and star, from whence descend court lappets of Brussels lace. Two curled ostrich feathers placed towards the left side. Plain tucker of lace corresponding with the lappets, brought to a point at the centre of the bosom. Shoes of ruby velvet, embroidered and trimmed with gold. Gloves of superfine French kid, worn above the elbow. Fan of carved ivory, with ruby stud; mount of ruby crape, richly embroidered with gold spangles.

Events of 1808back to top

Current affairs

The 'Mary Anne Clarke affair' erupts in which Clarke, mistress of Frederick, Duke of York, was said to have used her influence with him to run a military promotions racket. Championed by radical government opponents, it ends in the Duke's resignation as Commander-in-Chief of the army.

Art and science

Sculptor John Flaxman begins Nelson memorial for St Paul's.
Richard Trevithick demonstrates model railway travelling at 12 mph.


After taking Portugal, Napoleon invades Spain, deposes the Spanish Bourbon monarchy and appoints his brother Joseph as the new King. The
Peninsular War then begins under Sir John Moore and Arthur Wellesley, later Duke of Wellington, aiming to protect Portugal and exploit Iberian hatred of French tyranny.

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