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'The Fashions'. Summer toilet, July 1861

2 of 2 portraits by Laurent François Guerdet

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'The Fashions'. Summer toilet, July 1861

by Laurent François Guerdet, published by Samuel Orchart Beeton, published in The Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine, first published in Le Moniteur de la Mode, after Jules David
hand-coloured etching and line engraving, published July 1861
8 3/8 in. x 5 3/8 in. (212 mm x 135 mm) paper size
acquired unknown source, 1930
Reference Collection
NPG D47990

Artistsback to top

This portraitback to top

Described in the magazine:
1. Summer Toilet. - The bonnet, of white crêpe, is trimmed with a bunch of white feathers tipped with mauve, placed on the top of the bonnet, with mauve-coloured flowers for the bandeau, and very broad plain white strings. The mantle, of black silk, is trimmed with three broad lace flounces, and is worn very much off the shoulders. Each row of lace is headed by silk ruches, five inches of dark mauve and five inches of light mauve alternately, to match the colours on the bottom of the dress. The dress is of light mauve-coloured silk, with a plain body, short waist, and sash of dark mauve silk. The bottom of the skirt, to the depth of half a yard, is trimmed with puffings of light and dark silk placed alternately and in a slanting direction, as shown in the plate, with a thick cording of the light silk between each row of puffs.
2. Summer Toilet suitable for a Fete or Pic-nic. - The hat is made of fine plain white straw, is bound with rose-coloured silk, and has a bow in front and two long ends behind. A long white ostrich feather is fastened in the bow, covers the left side of the hat, and falls behind. The dress is of clear book muslin, worn over a pink silk petticoat. The body is made open in front, with a puffing of muslin round the neck, edged by a plainly hemmed muslin frill; a piece of ribbon is run in the puffing, finished off by a bow and ends. The sleeve is plain to the elbow, where it terminates with a puffing and deep muslin frill. This frill is sloped, and should be made longer at the back of the arm than in the front; it is also trimmed with a bow and short ends, whilst a sash with long ends completes the body at the waist. The skirt is trimmed at the bottom with five hemmed flounces each one three inches deep, with a tiny puffing of muslin to finish off the top flounces. In making this dress, let the flounces be as full again as the skirt, to allow for gauffering. If made scantier the flounces will not gauffer properly.

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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