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Ball dress and promenade costume, February 1842

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Ball dress and promenade costume, February 1842

published by Dobbs & Co, published in The Court Magazine and Monthly Critic and Lady's Magazine and Museum, first published in Le Follet, Courrier des Salons, Journal des Modes
hand-coloured etching, line and stipple engraving, published February 1842
8 1/4 in. x 5 7/8 in. (208 mm x 148 mm) paper size
acquired unknown source, 1930
Reference Collection
NPG D47895

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This portraitback to top

Originally published in Paris in 'Le Follet' on 30 January. Described in the Court Magazine:
Ball Dress - Dress of pink velours épinglé. The corsage is very low at the bosom and on the shoulders; it is tight and à pointe. The sleeves short and plain. The Berthe which is of an exquisite form coming down in front in the style of a stomacher, is of guipure, as well as the robings en tablier, on the dress, which are put on in quite a novel style; being rounded at bottom at each side and carried up a short way towards the back of the skirt; two falls of guipure likewise ornament the short sleeves, rendering them extremely becoming: five choux, or rosettes of silk go down the centre of the corsage, whilst eight others are placed at distances along the guipure flounce which forms the tablier; half long white kid gloves trimmed at top with swansdown; fan; hair in very long ringlets à l'Anglaise, turban of silver tissue with silver ornaments and ostrich feathers drooping to the left side.
Costume de Promenade - Hat of blue velours épinglé with feathers of the same shade. Dress of dark lilac striped satin or gronde Naples. The corsage is three quarters high, and tight, fastening in front, and the fronts cut on the cross way, de biais; the skirt opens at the left side, the two sides being finished with a biais of itself. The sleeves are tight and cut on the straight way, finished at the waist with embroidered cuffs. The dress is without a ceinture, but is fastened round the waist with a cordelière. White lace pelerine; this pelerine is made on a form of fine white tulle, upon which are six falls of lace, each falling sufficiently over the other to conceal the puffing; on a seventh row of lace, commences at the neck, goes down the front, and then round the pelerine after having formed the pointed corner. This very simple though elegant pelerine will be understood by a single glance at the plate. A gold brooch fastens it at the neck where it just meets. Hair in long ringlets à I'Anglaise, yellow gloves, embroidered handkerchief, black kid gloves.

Events of 1842back to top

Current affairs

Edwin Chadwick publishes his damning report, Sanitary Conditions of the Labouring Poor, which details the shocking living conditions of the urban poor and prompts government to take a new interest in public health issues.
A year-long depression and the rejection of the Chartist petition leads to riots, with workers striking in the Midlands, Lancashire, Yorkshire, and parts of Scotland.

Art and science

Mudie's Lending Library opens, becoming one of the largest circulating libraries in the period. Made popular by the otherwise high cost of books, it exerts a great influence over literature; both by maintaining the more costly 'three decker' novel structure, and acting as moral censor.
Richard Owen, the English biologist, comparative anatomist and palaeontologist, coins the term 'dinosaur', combining the Greek words for 'formidable' and 'reptile'.


Treaty of Nanjing, which allows China to trade with Britain and lends Hong Kong to the British crown for 150 years. In Afghanistan, the Anglo-Afghan war ends as the British abandon Kabul, withdrawing to India and losing most of their garrison force in the operation with only one member, Dr William Brydon, surviving.

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