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Walking or carriage costume, 1839

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Walking or carriage costume, 1839

published in The Court Magazine and Monthly Critic and Lady's Magazine and Museum
hand-coloured etching, line and stipple engraving, published April 1839
9 1/4 in. x 6 in. (236 mm x 152 mm) paper size
acquired unknown source, 1930
Reference Collection
NPG D47755

Artistback to top

This portraitback to top

Described in the magazine:
Hats of velours d'Afrique (ribbed silk) trimmed with crape. The fronts are évasée, coming low at the sides of the face, where one side is left square, the other rounded (see plate); the crown, which is neither high nor large, is made to sit back, and as well as the front, has a second border (or small piping) placed about an inch apart from that at the edge (see plate); a twisted piece of crape crosses the head of the bonnet (where the front joins with the crown) and descends at each side to form the brides (strings) which are left untied. A puffing of satin ribbon goes all round the back over the bavolet, and a lovely bouquet of roses with ample foliage is placed at the left side. It will be perceived that the roses in the pink hat are white, and those in the white hat pink; the crape trimming should be of the colour of the hat. Hair in ringlets. A wreath of roses beneath the front of the hat at the right side; two roses at the left.
Dress of Standing Figure - Redingotte of gros de Naples, colour écrue; corsage tight to the bust and a good deal open on the neck; a puffed or bouillon trimming goes round the top of the corsage, and a second row is placed lower, just over the shoulders, imparting to the redingotte the effect of a dress with a pelerine (see plate); the same puffed trimming is continued down the front of the skirt and round the bottom, with the only difference of its being wider as it goes down from the waist; large full sleeves confined with runnings at the shoulder, and finished by deep cuffs (see plate): Embroidered cambric ruffles, brooch, Saint Esprit, suspended from a chain round the neck, white gloves, black shoes of Spanish leather.
Dress of Sitting Figure - Dress of lavender silk; corsage tight to the bust and half high. Skirt ornamented with a deep flounce. Sleeves long and full, drawn into regular plaits at some distance below the shoulder, and with four tucks, without fulness and cut the cross way of the material, put on between the plaiting and full part of the sleeve (see plate); embroidered ruffles, ceinture with long ends tied in front; deep blonde or lace frill, brooch, yellow kid gloves.

Events of 1839back to top

Current affairs

The Bedchamber crisis strains relations between the government and the monarchy, after Queen Victoria refuses to dismiss her Whig-appointed ladies of the bedchamber at the request of the new, Conservative Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel. Peel resigns and Melbourne returns as Prime Minister.
The Grand National is first held at the Aintree race course, won by the horse Lottery, and the first Henley Royal Regatta, the rowing event, is held on the Thames.

Art and science

The French and British scientists Louis Daguerre and William Henry Fox Talbot separately publicise their experiments with the new form of photography.
The prolific journalist Harriet Martineau publishes her three decker novel Deerbrook, the story of middle class country life.


The first Opium War with China is sparked after the British government refuses to try six British soldiers accused of killing a Chinese man protecting a temple from looters. Relations were strained as Britain had promoted the drug opium in China to boost trade. Winning the war, Britain secured vital trading rights.
African captives aboard the Spanish ship La Amistad revolt, resulting in a highly publicised court case.

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