Favorite decades: 1910's, 1800's, 1870's
Favorite artists: Anthony van Dyck, Giovanni Boldini, Henry Fuseli, Thomas Lawrence
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Mourning evening dress, 1823-25 Scotland, the Victoria & Albert Museum
This black velvet evening dress was worn Jane Johnstone (1803-1847), niece of William Jardine founder of Hong Kong merchants Jardine, Matheson & Co.
The wide neckline and short sleeves of the dress are typical of fashionable evening wear of the mid 1820s. Although it retains remnants of the high-waisted, neo-classical shape popular at the beginning of the century, its construction shows the move towards the lower waists and fuller skirts of the 1850s. The use of velvet demonstrates the trend for more sumptuous fabrics after the dominance of cotton and muslin in the previous two decades.
The death of Princess Charlotte, the only child of George IV, in childbirth in 1817 plunged the whole country into mourning and set the high standards for mourning dress of this period. Fabrics such as silk and velvet were too shiny to be worn for the first stages of mourning, however, official mourning guidelines issued by the Lord Chamberlain decreed that black velvets and silks were permissible in the third and final stage. This dress would have been worn with an evening turban, long gloves and a pelisse cloak, often lined with chinchilla fur. It is likely that it was a gift from William Jardine and was worn when mourning the death of Jane Johnstone’s grandmother, Elizabeth Johnstone who died in 1825.
Caroline Ferdinanda Luise of Naples and Sicily by François Gérard, 1820-37 (ca early 1820’s) France, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
Street Scene by Georg Emmanuel Ortiz. The British Museum.
They don’t have many details about this print at the British Museum, but my guess is early 1820-1825, based on their clothing. Ortiz was living in Leipzig in the 1820s, so I think that this is in Germany. There are some wild pieces of headwear in this image, including the strange grey headdress on the girl in the short-sleeved spencer and the headdress of the woman directly behind her. Also, on the far left is a soldier wearing a very unusual helmet! I know very little about early 19th century German uniforms, so if anyone out there has more information about him, I sure would appreciate it!
Dress, ca 1825
Day dress, ca 1820-25 UK (made of French silk), Museum of London
Evening dress, ca 1820-25 England, Kent State
Evening dress worn by a teenager or young woman, 1820-25 US (Salem, Mass)
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