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'Evening Dresses as worn in April 1808'

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'Evening Dresses as worn in April 1808'

published by John Bell, published in La Belle Assemblée or Bell’s Court and Fashionable Magazine
etching and line engraving, published 1 May 1808
8 5/8 in. x 5 1/4 in. (220 mm x 134 mm) paper size
acquired unknown source, 1930
Reference Collection
NPG D47515

Artistsback to top

This portraitback to top

Described in the issue for April 1808:
Evening Costumes. A plain round robe of white gossamer satin, with a short train, round bosom, seamed back, and long sleeves. Crescent tucker of rich antique lace. A white satin coiffe à-la-Mary Queen of Scots, edged with silver worm trimming, ornamented on the top and at the point, in the centre of the forehead, with pearl drops. This unique head-dress is confined under the chin, where it is attached to a crimp lace, which is extended to each ear. The hair is ever worn with this head-dress in full dishevelled curls; and the most elegant and appropriate ornaments are diamonds and amethysts. Shoes of white satin, with silver trimming. White kid gloves; fan of carved amber; and short round Opera tippet of swansdown.
Evening Costume. A round robe of white or coloured Italian gauze, over a white sarsnet slip, ornamented round the bottom, bosom, and sleeves, with a fancy border of gold or silver, in tambour. The waist rather longer than usual, with round gored bosom, and rucked frock sleeve. A French cloak of figured or shaded sarsnet; the colour a silver grey, lilac or peach-blossom, trimmed with a fine gossamer fur, or rich Chinese floss trimming. The hair drawn smooth from the front, and twisted in a knot on each side of the head, where it is confined with a comet pin; a full bunch of curls over the left eye, and a gold bandeau, or diadem, to correspond with the border of the robe. Pear ear-rings of pearl, with necklace, brooch and bracelets to suit. Shoes of white figured silk, with gold rosets. Gloves of French kid, below the elbow.

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.

International

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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