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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

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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.

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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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