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'Alcantara Hat & Mantle' (the composition of Mrs. Villars of Lower Gower-street)

4 of 19 portraits matching these criteria:

- subject matching 'Fashion Plates: Activities and occasions - Half dress; demi-toilet'

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'Alcantara Hat & Mantle' (the composition of Mrs. Villars of Lower Gower-street)

published by John Bell, published in La Belle Assemblée or Bell’s Court and Fashionable Magazine
hand-coloured etching and line-engraving, published 1 April 1809
8 7/8 in. x 4 5/8 in. (225 mm x 117 mm) paper size
Acquired, 1930
Reference Collection
NPG D47542

Artistsback to top

This portraitback to top

Described in the issue for March 1809:
No. 1. These unique and elegant articles are derived from the Spanish costume; and in a great degree resemble those worn by the Knights of the military Order of Alcantara, in that country, on their great festivals, &c. It is composed of crimson silk, with a rich embroidered border in gold. The collar is narrow, and meets in front of the throat, where it is confined with a cordon of gold, to which is suspended the badge of the Order. The mantle is so disposed as to expose the right side of the figure, while it entirely conceals the back and adverse side, and on the bosom is a rich embroidered star of gold. The mantle is gradually sloped from the throat to its termination, near the bottom of the robe behind. A deep embroidered cape ornaments the back and shoulders, the square points of which appearing in front, give a finished relief to the whole. The hat is composed of the same material, edged with a border the same as the mantle; the crown is round, sitting close to the head, with a band of silk and gold cord tastefully blended, and terminating on the right side with a knot and gold tassel. It is turned up in the front with a gold ornament similar to the badge of the Order. A plume of ostrich, bird-of-paradise, or other feathers is placed nearly in front, one of which, of an unusual length, droops till it meets the left shoulder. The robe worn with these attractive and novel articles is of white sarsnet, with a pointed drapery border of the jonquille or primrose, or a trimming of Chinese floss. The stomacher and other ornaments are of pearl. Shoes the same as the mantle with gold rosets. This splendid costume is particularly well adapted for the Opera; and, divested of the mantle, also for the evening party. —This elegant and original dress is the composition of Mrs. Villars, Lower Gower-street, Bedford-square.

Events of 1809back to top

Current affairs

Duke of Portland resigns as Prime Minister to be succeeded by Spencer Perceval.
Motion for parliamentary reform is defeated in the House of Commons.
Notorious duel between George Canning and Viscount Castlereagh over strategic failures against Napoleon.

Art and science

Maria Edgeworth publishes Tales of Fashionable Life, a popular and perceptive series of stories exploring Anglo-Irish society after the Union.
Robert Smirke completes the New Covent Garden Theatre after fire. 'Old Price' theatre riots quickly break out against rising cost of admission.
Pall Mall in London is lit by gas for the first time.


British army lands in Lisbon and defeats the French at Talavera. Arthur Wellesley is created Viscount Wellington as a result of this victory.
Walcheren expedition led by General Chatham, which aimed to take Antwerp, fails amidst allegations of military corruption and carnage.
James Madison is elected President of the United States.

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