Friday 7 June 2013

Morning gowns in The Mirror of the Graces at the start of the Regency

Morning dresses from The Mirror of the Graces (1811)
Morning dresses from The Mirror of the Graces (1811)
By a lady of distinction

I recently discovered The Mirror of the Graces; or the English lady's costume by "a lady of distinction who has witnessed and attentively studied what is esteemed truly graceful and elegant amongst the most refined Nations of Europe." It was published in 1811, at the start of the Regency period.

Morning or domestic dresses

The above plate is one of four included in the Mirror:

The description reads:
The first plate represents two ladies in morning or domestic habits. The sitting figure is arrayed in a Flemish jacket and petticoat, of cerulean blue muslin, poplin or Chinese silk, laced up the front of the bust with white silk cord; and the jacket trimmed in narrow vandykes to correspond. An antique frill and cuffs of white lace: a Parisian mob cap of thread lace and beading, ornamented with an appropriate flower in front: half boots of amber colour or buff kid: gloves, a pale tan-colour: an occasional scarf of mohair or Cashmire.

The erect figure is represented in a round high dress of white muslin, ornamented at the feet with a coloured border of laurel leaves, in tambour or embroidery: a square falling collar, trimmed with lace, and Spanish cuffs to correspond: a large emerald or gold brooch confining the dress in the centre of the throat: a rich Turkish cord and tassel ornament the bottom of the waist, and fall in irregular lengths on the left side of the figure. The hair, in dishevelled curls in front, twisted in an Indian knot behind, and confined with bands of twisted silk or muslin, corresponding with the colour of the cord and tassel which embrace the bottom of the waist: Roman shoes, and gloves of the same shade.1
A vandyke is a v-shaped point that is part of a decorative border or edging. Its name derives from the Flemish painter, Sir Anthony Vandyke, who sported a short pointed beard.

Headshot of Rachel Knowles author with sea in background(2021)
Rachel Knowles writes clean/Christian Regency era romance and historical non-fiction. She has been sharing her research on this blog since 2011. Rachel lives in the beautiful Georgian seaside town of Weymouth, Dorset, on the south coast of England, with her husband, Andrew.

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(1) A lady of distinction, The Mirror of the Graces; or the English lady's costume (1811)

Read more from The Mirror of the Graces - Regency promenade dresses

A lady of distinction, The Mirror of the Graces; or the English lady's costume (1811)

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