Saturday, September 22, 2018

Regency Romance era Fashion as Jane Austen knew it

Early Nineteenth Century Fashion and Accessories For Ladies. Clothing Worn By Jane Austen And Her Contemporaries.

During the later part of the 18th century, a great deal of tinsel drawn work was done on fine muslin, and became beautifully treated in delicate design on the hem and down the front of many of the high-waisted dresses as in . Later on towards the twenties we see a great deal of effective coarse work in heavy gold tinsel, and at the same time to the forties a number of dresses were ably enriched with fine gold thread.

The white embroidery in the earlier trimmings of this period, was remarkable for its wealth of fancy; the chief beauty of these dresses was the delightful treatment of gathered effects, and with the reign of George IV we note the gradual return of the longer pointed bodice, with the growth of very full sleeves, also the increase in the size and fuller set-out of the skirts over the stiff flounced drill petticoats. The V-shaped Bertha setting to neck and shoulders began to establish itself, and became a great feature through the thirties and forties; the first signs of it appear about 1814. Varieties of materials were used to great advantage in designing, and drawn tulle trimmings were happily introduced to soften hard shapes and colours. The shoulder fullness also began to be neatly drawn in and held by straps, which gave a charming character to many bodices.

From 1816 choice work in piped shapes, often of flower forms decorated with pearls or beads, was set on fine net. The attraction to the thirties was the happy effects gained by the bow and flower looping on the flounces, and these ripened in fancy and variety through the forties. Braiding was adopted in the thirties with a rather charming treatment of tassels down the front of the dress; the polonaises of this time were[239] also effective and simple, caught here and there with posies of flowers, and we find this fashion again revived in the sixties.

With the reign of George IV we notice an increasing choice of strong coloured effects, which culminated in the mid-Victorian era in raw colour and violent shot silks, velvets, and heavy fringes, but one may see that many of these dresses of bright pure tone looked exceedingly refined and were quite stately. A remarkable dress of very strong bright blue; its only enrichment being a curved line of folded silk. All these dresses from 1800 were delightfully embellished with embroidered fichus, light scarves of frail gauze, crêpe, or Norwich silk, and in the Victorian times capes and V-shaped shawls; fascinating lace ruffles and tuck-in fronts to the bodice necks, of frills and bands of embroidery, broke the severity or bareness of many dresses. An endless variety of fascinating caps and lace head-lappets was pinned or caught into the hair at the wearer's fancy; besides the bows, flowers, and jewels (especially pearls) which have always played an important part in the coiffure from early times, the chatelaines and bags, fobs, fans, and lace or silk handkerchiefs all give the artist a note of extra colour when desired. The cruel period of taste really came with the seventies, though one can trace many quaint and interesting cuts in the bodices and skirts of this time; but the "grand dress" of complicated drapings, heavily fringed or braided, was a "set piece" which, let us hope, will never appear again.

The long stocking-purse which began to appear in the late 17th century was up to 1820 sometimes carried tucked through the belt; it was set with a pair of metal rings and tassels of steel or gilt beads. Small and large circular and bag-shaped purses were also in use; all these were made in coloured silk threads enriched with steel, gilt, or coloured beads, the latter shapes being set in chased metal mounts, the circular ones generally having a fringe and the bag shape a small tassel or heavy drop. These shapes can also be seen in coloured leathers with a leather tassel, besides the plain money-bag with a draw-string.

The hair up to 1808 was gathered into a knot of curls at the back of the head, rather high up, with a small curl at the sides in front of the ear. Later the knot was set more on the top, and the side curls were made more of a feature, several being arranged at the sides. Numerous varieties of large and small brimmed hats, bonnets, and turbans are seen, and several masculine top-hats and cockade hats may be noted late in this reign. The usual feather decorations and large ribbons or flowers were in use, and a handkerchief was sometimes bound over the top of the straw hat and tied under the chin.

The classic high-waisted dress continued till 1808, and was often beautifully decorated with white embroidery and gold or tinsel. There were several interesting drapings, one being a cord hanging from the back of the shoulder to loop up the train of the dress. The simple tunic shapes are better described by the illustrations: more originality was essayed in design after the last-mentioned date. A high Vandyked lace collar and fan setting to the shoulders appeared, and many interesting dresses of a plain cut, mostly in velvet and silks, were worn about 1810-12. A gathered sleeve drawn tight at intervals was often seen up to 1816, when embroidered ruffles and frills decorated most of the necks and skirts, and a braided type of character, rather military in effect with beautifully piped edgings, came in from about 1817. Spencer bodices were an additional interest at this period, and a short puff sleeve was generally banded or caught with bows; these being often worn over a fairly loose long sleeve gathered by a wristband. Dresses were worn shorter from about 1810. Charming lace and embroidered fichus crossed the shoulders, and long scarf-capes were thrown round the neck and were often tied round behind, as in the 18th century; long capes with points and tassels in front fell to the knees, and a simple pelisse with cape became a pleasing feature. Bags were always carried, of which there is a variety of shapes in the plates; long gloves or mittens were generally worn. Parasols of a flat shape, or others with round or pagoda shaped tops are seen, many being edged with a deep fringe. Long purses were often tucked through the waistband.

The pointed shoe, tied sandal fashion up the leg, and with no heel, remained through this reign, but a round-toed low shoe, tied on in the same manner, began to supersede it about 1810.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Regency Romance Era Editorial On The Evils Of Female Gamesters

The Following Is A Regency Romance Editorial

On The Evils Of Gaming By Women

'As soon as you have set up your unicorn, there is no question but the ladies will make him push very furiously at the men; for which reason, I think it is good to be beforehand with them, and make the lion roar aloud at female irregularities. Among these I wonder how their gaming has so long escaped your notice.
'You who converse with the sober family of the Lizards, are, perhaps, a stranger to these viragoes; but what would you say, should you see the Sparkler shaking her elbow for a whole night together, and thumping the table with a dice-box? Or how would you like to hear good widow lady herself returning to her house at midnight and alarming the whole street with a most enormous rap, after having sat up till that time at crimp or ombre? Sir, I am the husband of one of these female gamesters, and a great loser by it both in rest my and pocket. As my wife reads your papers, one upon this subject might be of use both to her, and;
I should ill deserve the name of Guardian, did I not caution all my fair wards against a practice, which, when it runs to excess, is the most shameful but one that the female world can fall into. The ill consequences of it are more than can be contained in this paper. However, that I may proceed in method, I shall consider them, First, as they relate to the mind; Secondly, as they relate to the body.
Could we look into the mind of a female gamester, we should see it full of nothing but trumps and mattadores. Her slumbers are haunted with kings, queens, and knaves. The day lies heavy upon her till the play-season returns, when for half a dozen hours together, all her faculties are employed in shuffling, cutting, dealing and sorting out a pack of cards; and no ideas to be discovered in a soul which calls itself rational, excepting little square figures of painted and spotted paper.
Was the understanding, that divine part in our composition, given for such an use? Is it thus that we improve the greatest talent human nature is endowed with? What would a superior being think, were he shewn this intellectual faculty in a female gamester, and at the same time told, that it was by this she was distinguished from brutes, and allied to angels?
When our women thus fill their imaginations with pips and counters, I cannot wonder at the story I have lately heard of a new-born child that was marked with the five of clubs.
Their passions suffer no less by this practice than their understandings and imaginations. What hope and fear, joy and anger, sorrow and discontent, break out all at once in a fair assembly, upon so noble an occasion as that of turning up a card?
Who can consider, without a secret indignation, that all those affections of the mind which should be consecrated to their children, husbands and parents, are thus vilely prostituted and thrown away upon a hand at loo? For my own part, I cannot but be grieved, when I see a fine woman fretting and bleeding inwardly from such trivial motives: when I behold the face of an angel, agitated and discomposed by the heart of a fury.
Our minds are of such a make, that they naturally give themselves up to every diversion which they are much accustomed to, and we always find, that play, when followed with assiduity, engrosses the whole woman. She quickly grows uneasy in her own family, takes but little pleasure in all the domestic innocent endearments of life, and grows more fond of Pam than of her husband.
My friend Theophrastus, the best of husbands and of fathers, has often complained to me, with tears in his eyes, of the late hours he is forced to keep if he would enjoy his wife's conversation. When she returns to me with joy in her face, it does not arise, says he, from the sight of her husband but from the good luck she has had at cards.
On the contrary, says he, if she has been a loser, I am doubly a sufferer by it. She comes home out of humor, is angry with every body, displeased with all I can do or say, and in reality for no other reason but because she has been throwing away my estate. What charming bed fellows and companions for life are men likely to meet with, that chuse their wives out of such women of vogue and fashion? What a race of worthies, what patriots, what heroes must we expect from mothers of this make?
I come in the next place to consider the ill consequences which gaming has on the bodies of our female adventurers. It is so ordered, that almost every thing which corrupts the soul decays the body. The beauties of the face and mind are generally destroyed by the same means. This consideration should have a particular weight with the female world, who are designed to please the eye and attract the regards of the other half of the species.
Now there is nothing that wears out a fine face like the vigils of the card table, and those cutting passions which naturally attend them. Hollow eyes, haggard looks, and pale complexions, are the natural indications of a female gamester. Her morning sleeps are not able to repair her midnight watchings.
I have known a woman carried off half dead from bassette, and have many a time grieved, to see a person of quality gliding by me in her chair at two o'clock in the morning, and looking like a spectre amidst a glare of flambeaux: in short, I never knew a thorough-paced female gamester hold her beauty two winters together.
But there is still another case in which the body is more endangered than in the former. All play-debts must be paid in specie, or by an equivalent. The man that plays beyond his income pawns his estate; the woman must find out something else to mortgage when her pin-money is gone. The husband has his lauds to dispose of, the wife her person. Now when the female body is once dipped, if the creditor be very importunate, I leave my reader to consider the consequences.
It is needless here to mention the ill consequences attending this passion among the men, who are often bubbled out of their money and estates by sharpers, and to make up their loss, have recourse to means productive of dire events, instances of which frequently occur; for strictly speaking, those who set their minds upon gaming, can hardly be honest; a man's reflections, after losing, render him desperate, so as to commit violence either upon himself or some other person, and therefore gaming should be discouraged in all well regulated communities.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Excerpt From The Memoir of Baroness DeStaal Regency Romance Era Author

 Anne Louise Germaine Necker, Baronne (Baroness) de Stael-HolsteinExiled by Napoleon During His Early Pre-Regency Campaigns Against The English

I was at Geneva, living from taste and from circumstances in the society of the English, when the news of the declaration of war reached us. The rumour immediately spread that the English travellers would all be made prisoners: as nothing similar had ever been heard of in the law of European nations, I gave no credit to it, and my security was nearly proving injurious to my friends: they contrived however, to save themselves. But persons entirely unconnected with political affairs, among whom was Lord Beverley, the father of eleven children, returning from Italy with his wife and daughters, and a hundred other persons provided with French passports, some of them repairing to different universities for education, others to the South for the recovery of their health, all travelling under the safeguard of laws recognised by all nations, were arrested, and have been languishing for ten years in country towns, leading the most miserable life that the imagination can conceive. This scandalous act was productive of no advantage; scarcely two thousand English, including very few military, became the victims of this caprice of the tyrant, making a few poor individuals suffer, to gratify his spleen against the invincible nation to which they belong.

During the summer of 1803 began the great farce of the invasion of England; flat-bottomed boats were ordered to be built from one end of France to the other; they were even constructed in the forests on the borders of the great roads. The French, who have in all things a very strong rage for imitation, cut out deal upon deal, and heaped phrase upon phrase: while in Picardy some erected a triumphal arch, on which was inscribed, "the road to London," others wrote, "To Bonaparte the Great. We request you will admit us on board the vessel which will bear you to England, and with you the destiny and the vengeance of the French people." This vessel, on board of which Bonaparte was to embark, has had time to wear herself out in harbour. Others put, as a device for their flags in the roadstead, "a good wind, and thirty hours". In short, all France resounded with gasconades, of which Bonaparte alone knew perfectly the secret.

Towards the autumn I believed myself forgotten by Bonaparte: I heard from Paris that he was completely absorbed in his English expedition, that he was preparing to set out for the coast, and to embark himself to direct the descent. I put no faith in this project; but I flattered myself that he would be satisfied if I lived at a few leagues distance from Paris, with the small number of friends who would come that distance to visit a person in disgrace. I thought also that being sufficiently well known to make my banishment talked of all over Europe, the first consul would wish to avoid this eclat. I had calculated according to my own wishes; but I was not yet thoroughly acquainted with the character of the man who was to domineer over Europe. Far from wishing to keep upon terms with persons who had distinguished themselves, in whatever line that was, he wished to make all such merely a pedestal for his own statue, either by treading them underfoot, or by making them subservient to his designs.

I arrived at a little country seat, I had at ten leagues from Paris, with the project of establishing myself during the winter in this retreat, as long as the system of tyranny lasted. I only wished to see my friends there, and to go occasionally to the theatre, and to the museum. This was all the residence I wished in Paris, in the state of distrust and espionnage which had begun to be established, and I confess I cannot see what inconsistency there would have been in the first consul allowing me to remain in this state of voluntary exile. I had been there peaceably for a month, when a female, of that description which is so numerous, endeavouring to make herself of consequence at the expense of another female, more distinguished than herself, went and told the first consul that the roads were covered with people going to visit me. Nothing certainly could be more false. The exiles whom the world went to see, were those who in the eighteenth century were almost as powerful as the monarchs who banished them; but when power is resisted, it is because it is not tyrannical; for it can only be so by the general submission. Be that as it may, Bonaparte immediately seized the pretext, or the motive that was given him to banish me, and I was apprized by one of my friends, that a gendarme would be with me in a few days with an order for me to depart. One has no idea, in countries where routine at least secures individuals from any act of injustice, of the terror which the sudden news of arbitrary acts of this nature inspires. It is besides extremely easy to shake me; my imagination more readily lays hold of trouble than hope, and although I have often found my chagrin dissipated by the occurrence of novel circumstances, it always appears to me, when it does come, that nothing can deliver me from it. In fact it is very easy to be unhappy, especially when we aspire to the privileged lots of existence.

I withdrew immediately on receiving the above intimation to the house of a most excellent and intelligent lady, Madame de Latour, to whom I ought to acknowledge I was recommended by a person who held an important office in the government, Regnault de Saint-Jean-d'Angely; I shall never forget the courage with which he offered me an asylum himself: but he would have the same good intentions at present, when he could not act in that manner without completely endangering his existence. In proportion as tyranny is allowed to advance, it grows, as we look at it, like a phantom, but it seizes with the strength of a real being. I arrived then, at the country seat of a person whom I scarcely knew, in the midst of a society to which I was an entire stranger, and bearing in my heart the most cutting chagrin, which I made every effort to disguise. During the night, when alone with a female who had been for several years devoted to my service, I sat listening at the window, in expectation of hearing every moment the steps of a horse gendarme; during the day I endeavoured to make myself agreeable, in order to conceal my situation. I wrote a letter from this place to Joseph Bonaparte, in which I described with perfect truth the extent of my unhappiness. A retreat at ten leagues distance from Paris, was the sole object of my ambition, and I felt despairingly, that if I was once banished, it would be for a great length of time, perhaps for ever. Joseph and his brother Lucien generously used all their efforts to save me, and they were not the only ones, as will presently be seen.

Madame Recamier, so celebrated for her beauty, and whose character is even expressed in her beauty, proposed to me to come and live at her country seat at St. Brice, at two leagues from Paris. I accepted her offer, for I had no idea that I could thereby injure a person so much a stranger to political affairs; I believed her protected against every thing, notwithstanding the generosity of her character. I found collected there a most delightful society, and there I enjoyed for the last time, all that I was about to quit. It was during this stormy period of my existence, that I received the speech of Mr. Mackintosh; there I read those pages, where he gives us the portrait of a jacobin, who had made himself an object of terror during the revolution to children, women and old men, and who is now bending himself double under the rod of the Corsican, who ravishes from him, even to the last atom of that liberty, for which he pretended to have taken arms. This morceau of the finest eloquence touched me to my very soul; it is the privilege of superior writers sometimes, unwittingly, to solace the unfortunate in all countries, and at all times. France was in a state of such complete silence around me, that this voice which suddenly responded to my soul, seemed to me to come down from heaven; it came from a land of liberty. After having passed a few days with Madame Recamier, without hearing my banishment at all spoken of, I persuaded myself that Bonaparte had renounced it. Nothing is more common than to tranquillize ourselves against a threatened danger, when we see no symptoms of it around us. I felt so little disposition to enter into any hostile plan or action against this man, that I thought it impossible for him not to leave me in peace; and after some days longer, I returned to my own country seat, satisfied that he had adjourned his resolution against me, and was contented with having frightened me. In truth I had been sufficiently so, not to make me change my opinion, or oblige me to deny it, but to repress completely that remnant of republican habit which had led me the year before, to speak with too much openness.

I was at table with three of my friends, in a room which commanded a view of the high road, and the entrance gate; it was now the end of September. At four o'clock, a man in a brown coat, on horseback, stops at the gate and rings: I was then certain of my fate. He asked for me, and I went to receive him in the garden. In walking towards him, the perfume of the flowers, and the beauty of the sun particularly struck me. How different are the sensations which affect us from the combinations of society, from those of nature! This man informed me, that he was the commandant of the gendarmerie of Versailles; but that his orders were to go out of uniform, that he might not alarm me; he shewed me a letter signed by Bonaparte, which contained the order to banish me to forty leagues distance from Paris, with an injunction to make me depart within four and twenty hours; at the same time, to treat me with all the respect due to a lady of distinction. He pretended to consider me as a foreigner, and as such, subject to the police: this respect for individual liberty did not last long, as very soon afterwards, other Frenchmen and Frenchwomen were banished without any form of trial. I told the gendarme officer, that to depart within twenty four hours, might be convenient to conscripts, but not to a woman and children, and in consequence, I proposed to him to accompany me to Paris, where I had occasion to pass three days to make the necessary arrangements for my journey. I got into my carriage with my children and this officer, who had been selected for this occasion, as the most literary of the gendarmes. In truth, he began complimenting me upon my writings. "You see," said I to him, "the consequences of being a woman of intellect, and I would recommend you, if there is occasion, to dissuade any females of your family from attempting it." I endeavoured to keep up my spirits by boldness, but I felt the barb in my heart.

I stopt for a few minutes at Madame Recamier's; I found there General Junot, who from regard to her, promised to go next morning to speak to the first consul in my behalf; and he certainly did so with the greatest warmth. One would have thought, that a man so useful from his military ardor to the power of Bonaparte, would have had influence enough with him, to make him spare a female; but the generals of Bonaparte, even when obtaining numberless favours for themselves, have no influence with him. When they ask for money or places, Bonaparte finds that in character; they are in a manner then in his power, as they place themselves in his dependance; but if, what rarely happens to them, they should think of defending an unfortunate person, or opposing an act of injustice, he would make them feel very quickly, that they are only arms employed to support slavery, by submitting to it themselves.

I got to Paris to a house I had recently hired, but not yet inhabited; I had selected it with care in the quarter and exposition which pleased me; and had already in imagination set myself down in the drawing room with some friends, whose conversation is in my opinion, the greatest pleasure the human mind can enjoy. Now, I only entered this house, with the certainty of quitting it, and I passed whole nights in traversing the apartments, in which I regretted the deprivation of still more happiness than I could have hoped for in it. My gendarme returned every morning, like the man in Blue-beard, to press me to set out on the following day, and every day I was weak enough to ask for one more day. My friends came to dine with me, and sometimes we were gay, as if to drain the cup of sorrow, in exhibiting ourselves in the most amiable light to each other, at the moment of separating perhaps for ever. They told me that this man, who came every day to summon me to depart, reminded them of those times of terror, when the gendarmes came to summon their victims to the scaffold.

Some persons may perhaps be surprized at my comparing exile to death; but there have been great men, both in ancient and modern times, who have sunk under this punishment. We meet with more persons brave against the scaffold, than against the loss of country. In all codes of law, perpetual banishment is regarded as one of the severest punishments; and the caprice of one man inflicts in France, as an amusement, what conscientious judges only condemn criminals to with regret. Private circumstances offered me an asylum, and resources of fortune, in Switzerland, the country of my parents; in those respects, I was less to be pitied than many others, and yet I have suffered cruelly. I consider it, therefore, to be doing a service to the world, to signalize the reasons, why no sovereign should ever be allowed to possess the arbitrary power of banishment. No deputy, no writer, will ever express his thoughts freely, if he can be banished when his frankness has displeased; no man will dare to speak with sincerity, if the happiness of his whole family is to suffer for it. Women particularly, who are destined to be the support and reward of enthusiasm, will endeavour to stifle generous feelings in themselves, if they find that the result of their expression will be, either to have themselves torn from the objects of their affection, or their own existence sacrificed, by accompanying them in their exile.

On the eve of the last day which was granted me, Joseph Bonaparte made one more effort in my favour; and his wife, who is a lady of the most perfect sweetness and simplicity, had the kindness to come and propose to me to pass a few days at her country seat at Morfontaine. I accepted her invitation most gratefully, for I could not but feel sensibly affected at the goodness of Joseph, who received me in his own house, at the very time that I was the object of his brother's persecution. I passed three days there, and notwithstanding the perfect politeness of the master and mistress of the house, felt my situation very painfully.

I saw only men connected with the government and breathed only the air of that authority which had declared itself my enemy; and yet the simplest rules of politeness and gratitude forbid me from shewing what I felt. I had only my eldest son with me, who was then too young for me to converse with him on such subjects. I passed whole hours in examining the gardens of Morfontaine, among the finest that could be seen in France, and the possessor of which, then tranquil, appeared to me really an object of envy. He has been since exiled upon thrones, where I am sure he has often regretted his beautiful retreat.

Teresa Thomas Bohannon
Author of the Regency Romance Novel
A Very Merry Chase

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Nineteenth Century Late Regency Romance Era Fashions Worn By Men

Nineteenth Century Late Regency Romance Era Fashions Worn By Men

The mode in beaver hats was most varied; high straight crowns with small brims, others tapering at the top with larger curled brims, or crowns enlarging at the top with almost straight small brims. A short-crowned hat was also worn. The hair was combed towards the front at either side, and the face shaven, with the exception of short side-whiskers.

A very high stock of black satin or linen surrounded the throat, with or without the points of collar showing, and a frilled shirt, often stiffly goffered.

Coats were very tight-fitting and mostly double-breasted, with long swallow-tailed skirts, or long full skirts; the waist was rather short, and the effect of coat-front round-breasted with a high turned-over collar finished in large lapels, which were often treated with velvets. The favourite colours for overcoats were greys, buffs, greens, and blues, and the edges were neatly finished with fine cord. The sleeves, rather full in the shoulder, became tight on the lower arm, coming to a curved shape well over the hand, and buttoned up the side. The pockets were frequently set at an angle, as in illustration, and a short round cape, or two, was seen on many overcoats. A short type of coat is seen about 1827, with a single roll collar.

1820-1840 Regency Romance Fashions For The Fashionable Gentleman.
Waistcoats mostly had a round-shaped lapel, and were often double-breasted and very shaped at the waist, which was set fairly high; a long opening allowed the frilled shirt-front full display. There were also waistcoats having no lapels, no pockets, or no cover-flap; the points of front were very small, being buttoned to the end, or, with the double-breasted shape, they were straight across.

Breeches were not so much worn as trousers of cloth, nankeen, drill, and fine white corduroy; these were usually fastened under the boots with a strap, others were looser and often worn short, well above the ankle. A very full type in the upper part peg-tops, was in fashion about 1820-25 amongst the dandies, and for evening dress, very close-fitting breeches to the knee, or just above the ankle, the latter being opened and buttoned up to the calf. Pince-nez were favoured, with a heavy black ribbon, generally worn tucked in the lapels of the waistcoat; and a fob of gold seals, hung from the braces, below waistcoat pocket.

1830-1840 Fashions For A
Gentleman Of The Era.

Shoes and short Wellington boots were chiefly worn, the former being low in the heel and very short in the tongue, which was almost covered by small latchets, either buckled or tied, the shape of the toe being rather round. The Hessian boots with curved front and tassel at the top were still worn.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Female Fashion and Accessories Worn During the Regency Era of Jane Austen and Reign of George IV

Female Fashion and Accessories Worn During the Regency Era of Jane Austen and Reign of George IV

The hair at this period was worn in plaits or curls gathered on top, and during the latter years was arranged into stiff loops set with a high comb; a group of curls was drawn to the sides of the face, the hair being mostly parted from the centre. Plumes were much used for head-dresses, and caps with gathered puffs and pointed frills. A high-crowned straw poke bonnet, tilted upwards, was still in form; but the prevailing mode was a silk bonnet, with the brim curved in at the front, the sides being drawn together under the chin with a bow. The prevailing decoration was a group of feathers thrown forward or ribbon loops, and after this a large round hat, with a full gathered crown, arrived about 1827, or straw shapes.

Dresses gradually assumed a longer waist, and a short pointed bodice made its appearance here and there from about 1822, when short stays began to return, and pointed belt corselets were frequent, though the waistband or sash was chiefly used. Short puffed sleeves of charming character and workmanship were sometimes set in a gauze sleeve.

Spencers and pelisses had long sleeves coming from these short ones; they were rather full, and were caught at the wrist with a band. The upper sleeve gradually disappeared as the full-topped sleeves began to develop in size, about 1824; this fullness was often broken up into gathered parts, a tight cuff-piece usually finished at the wrist. The high set-up collars and neck-frills gave way to the flat capes about 1827, though the small ruffs were worn round the top of the high-necked capes to 1830. The gathered shoulder began about 1823, and soon became a marked feature; pointed or scalloped frills and trimmings came into favour from 1825, and about 1827 the sloped appearance in the bodice began to be noticed as the sleeves were set lower. The shoulders in ball dresses were shown, and a gathered Bertha of silk or lace was arranged round the neck of bodice. The V-shaped piece from the centre of waist or breast began to spread over the shoulders, where it was opened. This V shape was often open down to the waist, where it was filled in with a centre-piece of embroidery. Skirts were gradually set out fuller, with stiff-flounced petticoats; they had various simple or richly decorated borders and fronts, or several small flounces, or one deep one often with the edges cut into divers shapes.

Outdoor Silk Dress. 1825-35.

Shoes were rather round at the toes till near the end of the reign, when they took a square shape; a tiny rosette or bow was placed at the front of instep, and they were held by narrow ribbons, crossed and tied round the ankle. Boots lacing at the inside, with seam down the front, often had a toe-cap; no heels were worn.
Light gauze scarves were usually carried, and very small fans besides the larger feather ones. Bags or sachets of the forms illustrated were painted or embroidered in ribbonwork, chenille, tulle, and coloured silks.

A few specimens of parasols are also given, and gloves and mittens were of the same character as in the latter part of the last reign.

The patterns given of some of the dresses shown in the plates will be useful as to the measurements of the increase in skirt-width and sleeves; one may also note the very pointed set-out of the breast, sometimes made with two gores, which only occurs in this reign. Muffs were usually of a large size, and a bow with long ends was often worn on the front.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Early Nineteenth Century Fashions and Accessories for Men

Early Nineteenth Century Fashions and Accessories for Men. Clothing Worn By Mr. Darcy and His Contemporaries.

Wigs had practically gone out, except for a few of the latter type of the 18th century amongst elderly people. The hair was now worn short, and left rather full on the front, with short side-whiskers. Plain black or white stocks tied with a front bow, and a starched or unstarched collar with a frilled or gathered shirt-front were in use. A tie-pin or stud was also seen in the centre of the stock or frilling.

The same hats as in the latter part of the 18th century continued for a time, but the top-hat had established its favour, and assumed various shapes throughout this reign.
 A. Morning Coat of Chintz

 B.  Cloth Coat 1808-1820

 C.Cloth Overcoat 1820-35

The coats were set with very high turn-over collars and a wide-shaped lapel, and the lapel of the waistcoat was still brought outside. As these lapels on the coats became smaller and changed into a roll collar, they were cut into points at the breast, as seen in the illustrations.

The front of the coat cut away in a short square, rather high in the waist, which thus formed a long-tailed skirt; the fronts were made double-breasted, and were often fastened high up the lapel. The hip-pleats had gone round more to the back into a closely pressed fold, about three inches from the back-opening. Sleeves were gathered rather full in the shoulders, becoming very tight on the forearm, and were finished in a cuff, or buttoned cuff-shape. We also see that a short square coat without tails was worn over the longer one. Overcoats (or long-skirted coats) with a cape or capes, up to four, were worn all through this reign, both double and single breasted, sometimes with turn-up cuffs; but this mode was not frequently used, as a sewn-on cuff or cuff made in the sleeve was now worn, and began to take a curved shape well over the hand, with three buttons to fasten it on the outer sides.

Short double-breasted waistcoats continued much the same, but a round-shaped lapel appeared on many.
Very tight-fitting breeches were worn of the same 18th-century cut, and trousers began to gain favour; a fob of seals were always worn, coming from under the waistcoat.

Soft high boots with turn-down tops, and boots with longish brown tops set low on the leg. The top-boot with the pointed or oval-shaped front and tassel still held sway, and an oval-toed low shoe with or without small latchets was in use.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Lady Emma Hamilton Regency Romance Era Supermodel and Cultural Icon

My degrees are in history--which, when chosen as a profession, is probably the best way there is to die both educated and poor--but regardless of that fact there was never any other choice for me. Children and family notwithstanding, I've always loved history with a depth of passion unmatched by almost any other in my life--the unimaginable heroics, the glory and the majesty, the dark and scandalous hidden depths, the purity and the pain, the total culminating whimsy created by the collision of circumstance, fate...and opinion that has changed history's course 10 million times a day ever since time began. I love it all and can happily spend hours and days jumping from nebulously connected fact to nebulously connected fact like a bloodhound on a cold trail, seeking the truth behind some long ago writer's opinion....

Lady Hamilton as Thais by Sir Joshua ReynoldsWomen's history is my favorite and that is one historical topic that truly offers a world of cold trails to follow, for let's be honest here--to the victor not only goes the spoils; but the right to tell the story in the way they see fit--and when it comes to history...women were more often than not the losers. If there is ever any doubt about that in your mind--try reading contemporary 19th century accounts of the true Regency Romance era love story of the incredibly beautiful, Lady Emma Hamilton (1765-1815) and her lover, the brilliant naval strategist, Lord Admiral Nelson. He was the hero of his time and she was the mother of his illegitimate children and the bad-girl tabloid queen and supermodel of her day. He was venerated and buried with all honors as the hero of the Battle of Trafalgar and she was vilified by her country and the journalists of her day--condemned to die in pain and poverty in a foreign land.
Lady Hamilton as Circe. A hauntingly beautiful portrait by George Romney.
He was war torn, disabled and idolized as a war hero. She scratched her way up from humble beginnings and was denigrated for it; but what would he have been without her? True he was already a hero before they met; but she gained enormous influence with Neapolitan Queen Marie Caroline and used that influence to both the advantage of Nelson, her country and that of the fighting men of the British navy. In addition, she provided Nelson with a degree of unbounded love and adoration that could not help but counteract the disfiguring infirmities he had acquired along with the titles, honors and rewards that accompanied his status. Although the clearest picture of this can be achieved by reading his Love Letters to her, and in his last will and testament--if you don't have the time or inclination to read them, take a moment and watch this clip from That Hamilton Woman- (The Criterion Collection)--starring the gorgeous Vivian Leigh. (It's a wonderful movie. I saw it years ago and never forgot it--and I just gave myself a copy as a early Christmas present.)

"OCTOBER 21st, 1805. Then in sight of the Combined Fleets of France and Spain, distant about ten miles.

"WHEREAS the eminent services of EMMA HAMILTON, widow of the Right Honourable Sir WILLIAM HAMILTON, have been of the very greatest service to my King and Country, to my knowledge, without ever receiving any reward from either our King or Country:

"First, that she obtained the King of Spain's letter, in 1796, to his brother the King of Naples, acquainting him of his intention to declare war against England; from which letter the ministry sent out orders to the then Sir JOHN JERVIS, to strike a stroke if opportunity offered, against either the arsenals of Spain or her fleets:—that neither of these was done, is not the fault of Lady HAMILTON; the opportunity might have been offered:

"Secondly: the British Fleet under my command could never have returned the second time to Egypt, had not Lady HAMILTON'S influence with the Queen of Naples caused letters to be wrote to the Governor of Syracuse, that he was to encourage the Fleet's being supplied with every thing, should they put into any port in Sicily. We put into Syracuse, and received every supply; went to Egypt, and destroyed the French Fleet:

"Could I have rewarded these services, I would not now call upon my Country; but as that has not been in my power, I leave EMMA Lady HAMILTON therefore a legacy to my King and Country, that they will give her an ample provision to maintain her rank in life.

"I also leave to the beneficence of my Country my adopted Daughter, HORATIA NELSON THOMPSON; and I desire she will use in future the name of NELSON only.

"These are the only favours I ask of my King and Country, at this moment when I am going to fight their battle. May GOD bless my King and Country, and all those I hold dear! My Relations it is needless to mention: they will of course be amply provided for.



The prayer and codicil were both written with HIS LORDSHIP'S own hand, within three hours before the commencement of the engagement in which he died.  His express wishes were ignored by the country for which he fought, and as a result the love of his life died in pain, poverty and exile.

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Smiles and Good Fortune,

Teresa Thomas Bohannon

Author of the Regency Romance A Very Merry Chase