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'The Fashions'. Walking dress for May 1861

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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'The Fashions'. Walking dress for May 1861

by Amédée Bodin, published by Samuel Orchart Beeton, published in The Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine, first published in Le Moniteur de la Mode
hand-coloured etching and line engraving, published May 1861
5 3/8 in. x 8 3/8 in. (136 mm x 213 mm) paper size
acquired unknown source, 1930
Reference Collection
NPG D47987

Artistsback to top

This portraitback to top

Described in the magazine:
1st Figure to the Left - The bonnet, of white crepe and violet-coloured velvet, is trimmed with a bunch of poppies the same colour. A band of crossway velvet is placed in the middle of the front, which is trimmed with two rows of broad blonde. The curtain is made of velvet, and trimmed with a row of deep blonde, the same as that on the front of the bonnet. Pardessus Impératrice of black silk, all the seams of which should be corded with violet-coloured silk, as also the bottom of the mantle. It is trimmed with black and violet silk buttons. The dress, of green silk, is brocaded with black stars.
2nd Figure - Tudor hat, with turned-up brim, trimmed with velvet, a white tuft, and long feather. The mantle is made of light summer cloth, and is trimmed with mauve coloured silk, cut on the crossway of the stuff, the points being finished off with a double row of black cording. This cloak opens down the front as far as the coloured silk goes, which will be seen in the illustration.
3rd Figure - The straw bonnet is trimmed with roses and pink ribbon. Pardessus of striped silk, fitting tightly to the waist. The sleeves are full, with a turned-back cuff, slightly scalloped. The front of the mantle is trimmed with rows of narrow black lace.
4th Figure - The rice straw bonnet is trimmed inside and out with green ribbon. The mantle is made of black silk, with a broad band of pale green silk close to the edge, and covered with a black lace insertion; the bottom of the garment being trimmed with rather a broad black lace. The pelerine is of guipure, and the mantle should be finished off in front with two large tassels. The pattern of this elegant article of apparel is given on the back of the sheet of patterns accompanying this number of our Magazine. Light silk dress, with one deep flounce, trimmed with a green ruche at the top and bottom.
Little Girl's Dress - The Tudor hat, of blue velvet, is trimmed with a blue tuft and white ostrich feather. Black silk Pardessus, trimmed with gimp and tassels. Striped silk dress.

Events of 1861back to top

Current affairs

Death of Prince Albert, from typhoid fever. Queen Victoria goes into a long period of mourning, withdrawing from public duties, and becomes known by the satirical title 'Widow of Windsor'.

Art and science

Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management is published by her husband Sidney, who successfully maintained the Beeton brand after his wife's early death seven years later. The highly popular book, containing recipes and advice for housekeeping, appealed to the Victorian belief that a woman's role was managing the home.
Morris, Marshall, Faulkner and Company is founded, marking the start of the arts and crafts movement.


The American civil war begins after the Confederate army attacks Union forces at Fort Sumter in April. The Confederates, comprised of eleven southern states who seceded from the Union over the right to independence on issues such as abolition, are presided over by Jefferson Davis, formerly senator of Mississippi. Although the Union had early successes, the Confederates' victory at Bull Run sets the Union up for a long, four-year war.

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