La Belle Assemblée, March 1807
It being the Lord Chamberlain’s orders that the Court mourning is to be changed on the 3rd of January to plain black silk, and grey for undress; and on the 24th to be still further changed, to black silk with coloured ribands, we have endeavoured to procure descriptions of some dresses now preparing for the change of mourning, which we flatter ourselves our fair readers will find worthy of their attention.
The first is a pelisse of fine Merino grey cloth, lined with white sarsnet; it has a plain broad back, which is finished at each side with five or six small plaits of grey satin, close to these plaits on each side, is a row of small jet buttons, which are placed at irregular distances, and are braided with black silk cord. The collar is a full rouleau of grey satin, which is entwined with black silk cord. The fronts are plain and tight to the shape. The sleeve is very long and loose. The shoulder is ornamented with a full rouleau of grey satin to correspond with the collar, it is so contrived as to stand up; the bottom of the sleeve is finished with a rouleau to correspond. The trimming which goes entirely round the pelisse, consists of a row of broad black velvet shells, edged with swansdown. This is one of the most elegant half mourning dresses that we have seen.
We have been favoured also with the sight of an evening dress composed of black velvet; it is cut down very low all round the bust, but an under body of white satin shades the neck sufficiently to prevent any indelicacy. The trimming of the bust is a row of small crape roses without leaves, of that beautiful and vivid red which we term the French rose colour. Short full white satin sleeve, over which is a small half-sleeve composed of black velvet; it is a single deep point, it comes from the back part of the shoulder to the front of the arm, and is trimmed with small roses to correspond with the bust. At the bottom of the skirt, is a deep flounce of black patent net, the edge of the which is slightly finished with rose-colour chenille; this is looped at considerable distances with single roses, which are much larger than those on the neck and sleeves; there is a narrow heading left to the flounce, the edge of which is slightly finished with chenille.
This dress, though celebrated for the latest half mourning, might also, with the greatest propriety, be worn in full dress at any time during the winter months. We must in justice to the eminent house, by whom we were flavoured with a sight of it, and the pelisse, observe that nothing can be more strikingly elegant than the former, or better calculated for grand costume.
White crape toques for evening dress are at present is considerable estimation, and are likely to continue so during the next month. Diadems of crape roses, principally white, are also much worn. The toque cap is likely to be fashionable for half dress; it is extremely novel, the lower part is a mob, the upper a low toque, with a small dome crown; it is usually ornamented with a crape flower in front; the toque part is composed of white satin, and the cornette of crape; it has a very narrow full border, and fastens with a little bow of satin riband under the chin.
Ladies’ publications such as La Belle Assemblée, Ladies Monthly Museum, Lady’s Magazine, etc. were not merely fashion-oriented. Each issue had one or two fashion prints, a portrait engraving of some celebrated person (usually a woman) and perhaps other illustrations. Ackermann’s Repository, which was for ladies and gentlemen both, also had prints of furniture, homes, inventions, etc. The remainder of the publication consisted of articles.
I am not aware of any publication that consisted only of fashion prints, although people could remove the fashion prints and have them bound up together. I have one of these myself.
Correction: The Journal des Dames et des Modes was a weekly publication and thus there were around 5-6 fashion prints per MONTH.
More commonly, people would collect individual issues and have them bound together. I have quite a few of those, occasionally with an issue or two missing. (Somebody’s dog probably ate it or something.) If these were in a Regency home, however, they would be up to a year old, which is a long time in terms of fashion.
It may seem nit-picky, but I twinge when I read a story where a lady picks up Ackermann’s and pages through the latest fashions. The latest Ackermann’s would have TWO fashion prints.
Just a friendly FYI.
More about Queen Charlotte on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlotte_of_Mecklenburg-Strelitz
The mourning for our late venerated and beloved Queen is equally deep and general: no wonder indeed that the whole English nation should be eager to pay a tribute of respect to the memory made in the robe form, of a three-quarter height, are very general for morning: they are trimmed all round with a broad border of plain muslin or long lawn, with weepers to correspond; and are worn with lawn or muslin handkerchiefs, and large mourning ruffs, which in general are rounded at the ends, and do not quite meet in front of the throat.
Black bombazine is universally worn for dinner dress, and is also adopted for social evening parties. There is a good deal of variety in the form as well as the trimmings of dinner gowns. Frocks are very general; some are cut quite low and square round the bosom, with very short sleeves, which are formed of full puffings of black crape placed between bands of bombazine. The bust is trimmed with black crape, variously disposed; but ruches, though so long worn, appear to us most prevalent. The bottoms of the skirts are always very full trimmed with black crape; some have a broad band of crape formed into bias flutings, which are placed across; others are trimmed with black crape leaves, of which there are two or three rows placed one above another. Corkscrew rolls of crape, which are very narrow, and always four or five in number, are also a favourite trimming; and we have observed several gowns trimmed extremely high with black crape tucks.
The bodies of other dresses are made partially high round the back of the neck; the back is plain, and buttons up behind with small jet buttons; the front has a little fullness at each side of the shoulder-strap; the middle of the bust is plain, and sloped gradually on each side; the waist is very short, and the bust is trimmed round with a single row of crape disposed in wolves’ teeth. Plain long sleeve, ornamented at the hand to correspond with the bust, and finished at the bottom of the skirt with a similar but broader trimming.
We recommend this dress, at least the manner in which the body part is made, to those of our fair subscribers who are of the middle age; it is at once delicate and becoming. We understand that several matronly ladies of distinction have given orders for dresses made in this style, and we shall be glad to see it generally adopted.
Black crape over black sarsnet is universally adopted for full dress. The most elegant style is that given in our print. We have, however, noticed another, which we consider as very tasteful and worthy of attention: it is a frock; the body, formed of a fullness of crape, is made to fit the shape of the bust by jet beads, which form a kind of stomacher; the back is full; the shape is formed on each side by jet beads, and it is fastened behind with small jet buttons. A short full sleeve, the fullness looped in various places by little jet ornaments. The bottom of the skirt was trimmed with a deep flounce of black crape, which was looped in the drapery style with jet ornaments, and headed by a row of small crape roses.
We understand that it is expected; dresses both of bombazine and black crape, trimmed with white crape, will be worn, particularly by young ladies. We consider this very likely, because it is still very deep mourning, though less gloomy than all black: we have not yet, however, seen any of them.
Several trimmings, composed of black crape and intermixed with scarlet, are we understand in preparation for some very dashing élégantes. This mixture of black and scarlet has of late years have been tolerated even in the deepest mourning; in our opinion it is far from appropriate: we remember upon a late ever-to-be-lamented occasion it was seldom seen, and we believe it is now likely to be confined chiefly to those ladies whom the French would style merveilleuses.
Head-dresses, both for full- and half-dress, are mostly made in white crape. Toques and turban-hats are generally adopted in the former, and caps in the latter; they are always of a round shape, and the cauls low: some have narrow borders; others have no border, but have the head-piece formed in the toque style, that is to say, disposed in very full folds: these last are always ornamented with flowers.
Toques are usually made without any other ornament than the crape tastefully disposed in front. Turban-hats are either ornamented with flowers, or if black, with jet beads. Head-dresses are at present either entirely white or entirely black; and the former, as we have just observed, are most prevalent.
Very young ladies wear jet combs, sprigs, and tiaras, in full-dress; but for dishabille, belles of all ages wear simple undress caps, which are in general muslin, long lawn not being much used.
It is almost superfluous to mention, that all ornaments for the hair &c. at present are composed of jet.
Gloves and shoes are always of black chamois leather.
A black crape dress over a black sarsnet slip: the body is cut very low and square round the bust, and is tight to the shape; it is trimmed round the bosom and the back with a rouleau of crape intermixed with jet beads: this trimming does not go round the shoulders. The bottom of the waist is finished by rounded tabs. Long sleeve, made very loose, and finished at the band by a rouleau to correspond with the bosom; the fullness of the sleeve is disposed on the shoulder in puffs, which are interspersed with jet beads, some of which also confine it across the arm: this forms a new and elegant style of half-sleeve. The bottom of the skirt is cut in broad scallops, the edges of which are ornamented with narrow black fancy trimming, and an embroidery of crape roses, with branches of crape leaves disposed between each; a second row of this trimming is laid on at a little distance from the first. The front hair is much parted on the forehead, and disposed in light loose ringlets, which fall over each ear. The hind hair is braided, and brought round the crown of the head. Head-dress, a long veil placed at the back of the head, and an elegant jet ornament, consisting of a rose and aigrette, which is also placed far back. Chamois leather gloves and shoes. Ear-rings, necklace, and cross, jet.
A round dress of black bombazine; the body is made tight to the shape and up to the throat, but without a collar; long sleeves, with white crape weepers: the skirt is finished at the bottom with a broad black crape flounce, disposed in large plaits; over this is a very narrow flounce, which is also plaited to correspond; a little above this is a third flounce, which is quilled in the middle to correspond, and the whole is surmounted by a broad band of bias crape. The spencer worn with this dress is composed of black clothing; it is cut without a seam, and ornamented with a fullness of black crape, disposed in large plaits at the bottom of the waist: a high standing collar rounded in front, made to stand out from the neck, and edged with a light trimming of black crape: long loose sleeves, finished at the hands with black crape trimming, and surmounted by epaulettes draperied with black cord and ornamented with small tassels. Head-dress, a bonnet of black crape of a moderate size; the edge of the brim is finished with a row of large hollow plaits; the crown is trimmed to correspond. A white crape frill stands up round the throat. Gloves and shoes black chamois leather.
Admiral Cornelius Hardcastle met his future wife Léonie at the Siege of Toulon. Their daughter Cornelia is the heroine of The Marriage Obligation.
The fictional character of Admiral Hardcastle is based on Admiral Sir Benjamin Hallowell Carew, whose ship, the HMS Leviathan, took part in the evacuation of allied troops and royalist civilians being persuaded by the Republican army.
The Siege of Toulon (29 August – 19 December 1793) was a military operation by Republican forces against a Royalist rebellion in the southern French city of Toulon.
After a series of insurrections against the Republicans within the French cities of Lyon, Avignon, Nîmes, and Marseille, Republicans managed to recapture Marseille and punish them with severe reprisals. Upon hearing this, Toulon, which was currently in the hands of Royalist forces, called for aid from the Anglo-Spanish fleet. On 28 August, Admiral Sir Samuel Hood of the Royal Navy and Admiral Juan de Lángara of the Spanish Navy, committed a force of 13,000 British, Spanish, Neapolitan and Piedmontese troops to the French Royalists’ cause. This was a serious blow to the Republicans, since Toulon had a key naval arsenal and was the base for 26 ships (about a third of the French navy). On 1 October, Baron d’Imbert proclaimed the young Louis XVII to be king of France, and hoisted the French Royalist flag of the fleur de lys, delivering the town of Toulon to the British navy.
By 16 December, however, the Republicans (among them a young Bonaparte), managed to push past the Allied troops toward the waterfront. At that point, Lángara gave the order to destroy the French ships. While that was going on, Hood had ordered HMS Robust under Captain George Elphinstone and HMS Leviathan under Captain Benjamin Hallowell Carew to evacuate the allied troops from the waterfront. In addition to the soldiery, the British squadron and their boats took on board thousands of French Royalist refugees, who had flocked to the waterfront when it became clear that the city would fall to the Republicans. Robust, the last to leave, carried more than 3,000 civilians from the harbour and another 4,000 were recorded on board Princess Royal out in the roads. In total the British fleet rescued 14,877 Toulonnais from the city; witnesses on board the retreating ships reported scenes of panic on the waterfront as stampeding civilians were crushed or drowned in their haste to escape the advancing Republican soldiers, who fired indiscriminately into the fleeing populace.
Author’s Note: I’ve advanced Cornelia’s age five years for the purpose of this story. An author’s prerogative!
Cornelia Hardcastle has been determined never to marry since she was eighteen and discovered an ugly family secret. Now that she’s twenty-four, however, her parents want to see her settled so they can move to Canada for her father’s prestigious new government post. Not a chance!
The second son of a viscount, Preston Warrington is more than happy to leave the viscount business to his brother so he can travel the world in search of adventure. His recent stint as a spy for the British in the War with the French has come to an end, and he’s getting pressured to marry and settle down. Hell no!
How could the notorious Marriage Maker from Inverness all the way in Scotland possibly know that these two marriage-averse individuals are perfect for each other?
Note: At this point in the story, Cornelia has confessed her terrible secret to Preston, her husband-in-name-only.
He took her hand and led her back to the folly. “There, you got it out. That wasn’t so bad, was it?”
She tilted her head to look at him. “You’re not—shocked? Disgusted?”
He squeezed her hand and looked directly into her eyes. “Surprised, yes, certainly. Disgusted? I don’t quite understand your meaning, Cornelia.” His eyes widened. “Unless you are thinking—surely not—that I should be disgusted by you!”
She burst into tears. He pulled her trembling body into his arms and held her against him until her body quieted and the tears slowed, eventually turning into occasional hiccups. When she raised her head from his chest, he handed her his handkerchief. “Shall we sit down? When you are ready, you can tell me what it is that has you so distressed.”
Dabbing at her eyes, she nodded and allowed him to guide her back to the stone seat.
“I must look a mess,” she said finally, in a shaky voice.
“You look beautiful,” he said, his hand making gentle circles on the surface of her back.
She made a face. “Liar. I’ve seen my face in this condition before. Red eyes, splotchy cheeks, shiny nose. Definitely not a good look for me.”
In response, he reached over and turned her face toward his before capturing her lips with his for a tender kiss. Her sweet response tempted him to deepen it into something more passionate, but he sensed she was not ready for that and reined in his desire.
“Do you still believe I was lying, my dear?” he said as their kiss ended.
She swallowed. “Perhaps you were just being kind.”
Well, then. If she did indeed need more convincing, he would be more than pleased to deliver it.
He took her face in his hands again and kissed her again, this time with more pressure, then pulling away slightly to tease her lips with his tongue, before probing between them with his tongue. Her eyes widened with surprise, but far from protesting, she pressed closer to him, her arms floating to his shoulders. She smelled of violets and tasted like a combination of innocence and passion. His hands drifted to her hair, where his gentle caresses caught on pins and sent dark locks spilling down her back. When her eyes widened, he took her lips again, this time plunging his tongue between her teeth and coercing a timid response from hers. His hands floated down her back, lightly touching the side of her breasts before settling possessively at her waist.
Mine. My woman. This woman was made for me. She has to know it too.
When they finally pulled apart, she looked down, flushed and breathing hard.
“Well?” he said when he found himself able to talk again. “Was that a ‘just being kind’ kiss, do you think?”
She looked up at him, her eyes lit with a mischievous glow. “You’ve proved your point. There was nothing ‘kind’ about it. I must allow that you are a magnificent kisser, Preston.”
His breath quickened. “There is nothing I would like better than to kiss you like that every day. Several times, in fact. I am convinced that we could have an exemplary partnership, my dear, if we were to make our marriage a real one.”
It all started last winter when I decided to begin collecting fashion prints. Not just images of fashion prints on Pinterest, but real antique fashion prints. The images are pretty, but the thought of having the real piece of paper printed and hand-colored by people two hundred years ago gives me a thrill. I feel as though touching it makes me a part of history (although so far I haven’t been whisked back in time, unfortunately).
As more and more little packages began arriving from England, France, Australia, and the U.S., I started to lose track of which prints I already had, causing me to have a few duplicates. Scrivener, an application I use for writing projects, seemed an obvious choice for organizing my fashion prints. I simply grouped the scanned images into chapters by year, thus making it simple to refer to when considering the purchase of new prints.
But what I really wanted was some sort of reference book with all the prints and descriptions to use in my writing projects. Those I purchased online were beautiful and extremely well done, but they didn’t include them all. I wanted a book with them all. I didn’t realize at the time how large a book that would be, or that it was probably an impossible task. It didn’t matter. I wasn’t thinking of publishing a book or anything. I just wanted to have them on hand.
So I started with Ackermann’s Repository, because I knew where to download issues from all of its twenty years. It was tedious going, but it gave me something to do in the afternoons when Dad and I were watching TV (I’m a caregiver in the winter), and I had to be able to switch my attention off and on when he needed something. I went through every issue and screenshot the two prints from each issue as well as the descriptions and fashion commentary. And a few other things I found of interest there. (Someday I want to go through and read some of the other articles and stories as well.) I kept everything in folders by month and year, and eventually I started typing out the text and organizing it all in another Scrivener project. It turned out to be a HUGE project: 480 fashion prints and over 200,000 words. (Fortunately, I am a very fast typist.)
About halfway through, I began to think perhaps other authors might benefit from having this information. It wouldn’t take much to format it as an e-book. It didn’t occur to me to put it up for sale until later, when several authors assured me they would love to purchase it. And frankly, the process of formatting so many images and text turned out to be extremely time-consuming, even when my plan was for an e-book only. Charging a few dollars for such a comprehensive project seemed reasonable enough. Little did I know how large the book was going to be. 1462 pages, to be precise. Amazon warned me it was a big file. I hope the buyers don’t have problems with it.
Eventually I mentioned it at a Facebook party, and everyone kept asking if it was going to be in print. Well, I hadn’t thought of doing that right away, but as long as I had all the files, I thought I might as well look into it. And when I did, I had some surprises coming.
First of all, Createspace won’t print a 1462-page book. In fact, Createspace’s limit is 480 pages. So I had to break the book down into four parts: 1809-1814, 1815-1818, 1819-1822, 1823-1828. Four books, in addition to the original monstrously huge e-book. Four books is four times the amount of work, but oh well. I plugged away.
That leads to the second surprise. Color books of 300-400 pages are very expensive. The lowest price Createspace would allow me to set was $46+, with zero royalties. That pretty much floored me. Who’s going to pay $200 for four books? But hey, they were already done. I couldn’t stop now.
However, it occurred to me that many potential purchasers might not be that interested in the fashion commentary. What if I put together a print book with only the fashion prints? Since there were 480 prints alone, the minimum number of pages I needed was 492. Createspace only does a maximum of 480. So I decided to check out Ingram Spark. Ingram will publish a wider range of sizes and pages than Createspace, so I initiated the process. Ingram will do an e-book for the same price as a print book, so that’s how I ended up with another e-book (with the prints only) as well as another print book.
Seven. That’s seven versions in all. Does that sound excessive? Of course it does. But through it all, I learned so much. I hope historical fashion connoisseurs will find at least one of them useful.
And now… I think I better get back to writing stories.
P.S. I also created a Regency fashion print Facebook group. Here’s the link if you are interested: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2216340281934103.
Also, today at 4 p.m. EDT, I’m hosting a release party for my Ackermann books. If you’d like to attend, you must first join the group above, and then you’ll have access to the event. Guest authors include: Ella Quinn, Heather King, Caroline Warfield, Jude Knight, Louisa Cornell, Bluestocking Belles, Cora Lee, Cerise DeLand, Collette Cameron, Rue Allyn, Lizzi Tremayne, Victoria Vane, Elizabeth Ellen Carter, Aileen Fish, and Sherry Ewing. Will I see you there?
$49.99 (374 pp)
$49.99 (360 pp)
$49.99 (364 pp)
$52.99 (408 pp)
$34.99 (496 pp)
This post is part of the Authors in Bloom Ten-Day Blog Tour. Each stop on the tour will offer a prize, and a Grand Prize of an eReader and a $25 Gift Card will be awarded to two participants who comment on each and every one of the participating blogs.
My prize is a print copy of my time travel romance, A Home for Helena, about a young woman who discovers she was kidnapped from Regency England as a child. This prize is International and will be awarded to a random commenter on this blog post.
Note: Be sure to leave your contact email in your comment so that you can be contacted if necessary.
What is technically called a made-dish, presupposes either a more elaborate mode of cookery than plain frying, boiling, or roasting or else some combination of those elementary processes,—as, for example, half-roasting and finishing in the stew-pan, which is a very common way of dressing a ragout. All dishes commonly called French dishes are of this class, such as fricassees and ragouts, meat braised, larded, &c. and so are hashes, curries, and generally all viands that are re-dressed.
Made-dishes are valued by the gourmand for their seasonings and piquancy, but they are equally esteemed by the economist from the circumstance of a much less quantity of material than would suffice for a boil or roast, making a handsome and highly-flavoured dish; while, by the various modes of re-dressing, every thing cold is, in a new made-dish turned to good account. The most common fault of made dishes is, that they are overdone.
The very name made-dish, with us implies something savoury and highly relishing, and though over seasoning is to be avoided, it is proper that made-dishes should rather be piquant than insipid.
Few persons come to the years of eating-discretion like cold meat, and though the days are quite gone when the hospitality of the landlord was measured by the size of the joint, it still happens that where a table affords any variety of dishes, much meat will be left cold. The invention of the culinary artist is thus put on the rack for new forms and modes of dress, and new names for various dishes which are intrinsically one. The most common and the best methods of dressing cold beef are broiling, heating in the Dutch oven, or hashing.
Mrs. Leah Barlow, mother of five lovely daughters herself, has graciously condescended to provide Susana’s Parlour with some of her tasteful advisements on housewifely matters, such as meal planning and the rearing of children, in hopes that our readers will find them informative. Having recently set up a Twitter account where she will be sharing her most treasured household tips, she hopes many of you will follow her: https://twitter.com/lucybarlowsmom
Much of her advice comes from this manual, which she insists should be in every housewife’s possession:
The Cook and Housewife’s Manual, Containing the Most approved Modern Receipts for Making Soups, Gravies, Sauces, Regouts, and All Made-dishes; and for Pies, Puddings, Pickles, and Preserves; Also, for Baking Brewing, Making Home-made Wines, Cordials, &c.
Mrs. Margaret Dods (Christian Isobel Johnstone), Edinburgh, 1826
Without dowries or the opportunity to meet eligible gentlemen, the five Barlow sisters stand little chance of making advantageous marriages. When Lucy, the eldest, attracts the attention of a wealthy viscount, she knows she should encourage his attentions, since marriage to a peer will be advantageous to all. The man of her dreams was Andrew Livingston, her best friend’s brother. But he’s always treated her like a child, and now he’s betrothed to another. Perhaps the time has come to accept reality… and Lord Bexley.
Andrew returned from the Peninsular War with a lame arm and emotional scars. Surprisingly, it’s his sister’s friend, “little Lucy”—now a strikingly lovely young woman—who shows him the way out of his melancholy. But with an eligible viscount courting her, Andrew will need a little Christmas magic to win her for himself.