Saturday, March 29, 2014

Journal Journey into the year 1811; Spring is Marching toward us!

Ha, get it? March, Spring, har har. Here in Tennessee it has been a laugh, even worse in Virginia and the east coast where I spent the last two weeks, for the Millinery through Time conference (more on that later) and general travel.  Thus explains my tardiness, forgive me! It is still March, though, and if you have not yet, do take yourself to Germany, France, and the other fashions of England

Lucky for you, you will be treated to lots of fun pictures in this edition!  Here we go. 

Plate 17 - Carriage or Promenade Costume

A round high morning gown, with long sleeves and fluted collar (1) , composed of sprigged jaconot muslin (2) with border of needlework at the feet.  A robe pelisse or loose wrapping coat (3), of spanish lambs wool cloth; the color pomona green (4):  One side of the coat trimmed with a broad black lace, gathered into a winged collar in the center of the throat.  A regency cap (5), composed of white satin and lace.  A crowned veil (6) of fine black lace, partially shading the face, and falling towards the left side.  Half-boots of green cloth and gloves of pale tan-coloured kid.

Plate 18 - Opera Dress

A simple french frock of white gossamer satin-sarsnet (7), or crape, with a short sleeve, edged at its several terminations with narrow silver braiding (8). Cestus (9) and clasp to suit.  A short roman tunic coat (10), of pale amber-shot sarsnet, or velvet, with short standing collar, trimmed down each side with broad white lace.  The coat thrown open in front of the figure. Necklace and earrings of pearl, or mocho stone (11).  Hair in waved curls in front, simply confined on the crown of the head with a pearl or other ornamental comb.  Slippers the same as the coat, with small silver clasps.  Gloves of white kid. 

1. The term "fluted" means a zig zag pleat that does not overlap, usually achieved with a mechanism that looks like gears, heated and the fabric is pressed through it. Use a lot of starch. 

2. A jaconot or jaconet muslin is a smooth slightly stiff form of muslin, named for its source in Jagganth, India which is now Puri.  Sprigged refers to a pattern woven or embroidered all over it on a small scale (dots, flowers, etc.)

3. "Robe Pelisse" is sort of self explained by "loose wrapping coat" which means it has little to no structure. Much like the surviving example thought to be Jane Austens with the oak leaf printed on silk.

4. Pamona green is similar to today's "Spring" Green, a bright shade close to a Granny smith apple.  One of my favorites.

5. Again we see something being described as "Regency ____".  Perhaps it is meant to describe something that is a favorite of the Regent, whether it be trim, fabric, or garment.  

6. Interesting to add any structure to a veil but i guess this sort of bridges the odd gap between veil and cap. I find it to be rather hideous..

7.  A sarsnet with a satin weave

8. This brings to mind a short sleeve with something like a mameluke look, with the phrase "several terminations."  What are your thoughts?

9.  A cestus means a belt. 

10.  Very similar to a wrapping coat, or robe pelisse, it seems to have no shape but is just short instead of full length like in the carriage costume.

11.  In my searching I have found nothing about "Mocho Stone" but "Mocha stone" is the same as Moss Agate. 

General Observations:

The long continued mourning, and the unvarying costume consequently upon it, has rendered almost unnecessary the structures of Arbiter Elegantiarum; but, if his majesty should speedily recover (of which there is now an immediate prospect) (1) it will give an additional zest to the introduction of coloured dresses (2), and make the gay season of spring still more lively and animating: and as a reaction, after so long a suspension, may, probably, lead to extremes, I
doubt not, that the ladies will furnish me sufficient subject for animadversion. (3)

Simplicity in all arts is the maturity of study and the perfection of taste: small is the number of those who attain it, and when attained it meets with but few to feel and appreciate its excellence.  The flowery nonsense of Hervey (James Hervey 26 February 1714 – 25 December 1758) finds more admirers among the multitude, than the manly simplicity of Paley; (William Paley July 1743 – 25 May 1805)  and the sonorous periods of Johnson (Samuel Johnson 18 September 1709 – 13 December 1784) are read with more avidity, than Addison’s (Joseph Addison 1 May 1672 – 17 June 1719) correct and chastened essays.  The splendid bravura of Rubens (4), and the insipid bustle of Peter Cortona, (5) are more congenial to the taste of the multitude than the exquisite sentiment of Rafaelle (6), or the simple grandeur of Poussin (7); and, I fear, the monstrous forms, discordant colours, and ostentatious displays of ornament which distinguishes the dresses of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, (8) are really more admired by ladies in their hearts, than the pure taste and modest elegance of the grecian costume.

I am induced to make this remark by the disposition which hate lately manifested itself among many ladies to enter again upon all the horrors of long waists (9), in spite of the anathema's of taste, in opposite to the physicians, and in defiance of the disgust which ALL MEN feel at the sight of the straightened and unnatural appearance.  Oh! that I could convince my fair readers of this truth; that I could prove to them, that by adopting this mode of dress, they effectually destroy every thing that is lovely, or love inspiring in their form and movements.  Then might I have some hope of reforming this strange propensity.  That grace cannot exist without ease, one should suppose self evident; and that motion must be impeded, and health destroyed by rigid confinement in steel and whalebone, equally so (10).  But what is self evident to every one else, is unintelligible to minds blinded by prejudice and fashion and those without the pale can only wonder at the force of the delusion.

There is a story in Bulver's pedigree of the english gallant not very foreign to our purpose, and as the book is scarce, it may, without impropriety, find a place here.  When Sir Peter Wych was ambassador to the Grand Seignior from King James the First, his lady was with him at Constantinople; and the Sultaness, having heard much of her, desired to see her; where upon Lady Wych, accompanied with her waiting women, all of them neatly dressed in their vardingales (11), which was the court-dress of the English ladies of that time, waited upon her highness.  The Sultaness received them with great respect but wondering much at the narrowness of her waist and the extension of her hips, enquired if that monstrous shape was peculiar to the women of England to which the lady replied, that the English women did not differ in shape from those of other countries, and by explaining the nature of the dress, convinced the Sultaness, that she and her companions were not really so dreadfully deformed as they appeared to be. 

1.  This latest bout of George's illness would be his final, and he would never recover, allowing the Regency to permanently take place until he became king. 

2.  By 1811 we are seeing a bigger surge of colored gowns for any mode of dress, the modern thought that all Empire gowns were white is very inaccurate in this year.  

3.  Webesters dictionary defines this funny word as: "a critical and usually censorious remark".  This guy has some 'tude.









8. Here we are beginning to see the surge of the "gothic" era which leads into the "romantic" era. As the century moves from its first decade into its second (1810  and on) the grecian styles fall away. 

9. Our sharp tongued Arbiter is referring to the shape of the stays worn by women in this period. Here is a good insight to their shape, though it is being described through the eyes of someone who dislikes them so.

10. I believe the reference to steel is meant to describe the "divorce" mechanism which causes the bust to separate, I have seen it described with springs as well. Whalebone would be used for the basic boning.

11. A hilarious 19th century bastardization of "Farthingale".  By this time it would be a wagon wheel, or french, farthingale made popular late in Elizabeth the 1st reign, and lasted until after her death. 

No. 1 and 2 
A bright permanent Morone (1) printed cambric (2), calculated for the intermediate order of dress (3).  This print will admit of repeated washing, without any detriment to its colours. Round dresses and wraps of this article should be constructed quite plain, or with lace cuffs and frills.  

No. 3 
A green figured shot sarsnet, adapted for robes, spencers, pelisses, and mantles.  The trimmings appropriate to this article are, fancy chinese floss (4), indian gimp (5), and thread lace (6).  Jewelry ornaments must consist of diamonds, pearl, satin bead, or white cornelian (7). 

No. 4
A beautiful regency shot sarsnet (8), a most fashionable article, for the same purposes as described in no. 3. The regency helmet cap (9), composed of white velvet or satin, and ornamented with the prince's plume of white feathers (10), is an appropriate and becoming head-dress with robes of this attractive material. 

1. Marone is a reddish brown or burgundy color.  You will remember it from last month's edition of La Belle Assemblee, which predicts for the next month, so it seems this color was popular in March. 

2.  Very likely by this time the Camrbic is Cotton, instead of linen, though it could be both. 

3.  "Intermediate order of dress" generally means what you would wear for the day; walking or promenade gown, or even carriage dress.  It is more dressed than your morning clothing, and less dressy than your opera, evening, or ball dress.

4.  I have no reference or idea what they mean by "fancy chinese floss"  If anyone has any ideas, please share!

5.  I know what a gimp looks like, but I cannot fathom what makes it "indian" gimp.  Perhaps where it came from? Color choices? 

6.  After having spent some amazing time perusing the collections at Colonial Williamsburg and picking the brain of the incomparable Linda Baumgarten, the mystery of "thread lace" has become clear to me.  It is a bobbin style lace made of linen thread! 

7.  Cornelian or Carnelian, is a quartz stone that is generally reddish.  Ergo, white cornelian is a white quartz stone.

8 and 9.  Another description using "regency".  Perhaps these were colors the Regency liked?

Whew! Some fantastic little insights into the period and its fashion, no?  Tune in next month for April, and hopefully a delicious taste of spring, I, for one, am so tired of freezing my little buns off!