Favorite decades: 1910's, 1800's, 1870's
Favorite artists: Anthony van Dyck, Giovanni Boldini, Henry Fuseli, Thomas Lawrence
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Town dress with chemisette owned by Empress Josephine, First Empire
“This high-waisted dress with its square, low-cut neckline and decorated with white embroidered flowers and leaves is typical of the fashion at the start of the First Empire. To conceal the low neckline, it could be worn with a chemisette which was slipped inside the dress. This one is in white muslin, embroidered with a sprinkling of flowers and embellished with a ruché trim. This outfit comes from the family of Madame Poyard who looked after the Empress’s wardrobe after 1809.”
Miss Eliza O’Neill as Belvidera in Thomas Otway’s ‘Venice Preserved’ by Arthur William Devis, 1816-22, Wolverhampton Art Gallery
Portrait of a Lady with an Ostrich Plume Hat by Joseph Clover, date not given (ca late 1810’s?), Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery
Portraits by Jacob Maentel and an unknown American artist, ca 1810-25, Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library
I’m actually kind of baffled by the rooster in the boy’s portrait.
Walking dress, 1817-20 UK, the Victoria & Albert Museum
Echoes of military uniform give this walking dress a masculine flourish. The curving satin bands applied to the front of the spencer are reminiscent of the parallel lines of braiding which extended across the breast of many uniforms. Passementerie in the form of crescent-shaped moulds, looped cord and balls covered in floss silk replace the gilt or silver buttons on some regimental coats. The tassels on the collar ends and cuff bands evoke the tassels adorning boots, hats, sashes and cap lines of military accessories. In place of epaulettes, puffed oversleeves composed of linked bows emphasize the shoulder line.
The infusion of military styles into fashionable dress in Britain was largely due to the influence of the Napoleonic Wars (1793-1815). Among other factors, contact with foreign troops had a strong impact on civilian as well as regimental dress, and military ornament was translated into stylish trimmings on women’s hats, bodices, spencers and pelisses. The uniforms worn during this period were some of the most elaborate in the history of military dress, and their bright colours, frogging, braid and tassels fuelled the imagination of fashion for years to come.
Although this walking outfit is not based on any particular uniform, some garments closely followed certain styles. The uniform of the hussars, who were light cavalry, was particularly flamboyant as it was derived from Hungarian national dress. In her memoirs, Elizabeth Grant describes the admiration she received when she ‘walked out like a hussar in a dark cloth pelisse trimmed with fur and braided like the coat of a staff-officer, boots to match, and a fur cap set on one side, and kept on the head by means of a cord with long tassels’.
Straw bonnet, 1810-15 US, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Long, tubular straw bonnet with green silk ribbon.
Wrapper, ca 1855
The lot also includes a day dress (ca 1850), a spencer (ca 1820) and a bodice (ca 1800).
Click to go to the absentee bidding page. This Kerry Taylor auction will end October 16th at 2:00 PM GMT (9:00 AM EST). You will need to register to bid ahead of time.