I’m always taken by the color words from the Regency period. “Morone” is the color for January 1813, used to describe the “Morning Walking Dress” in Plate 5. As one might surmise from the print, “morone” is a (now obsolete) variant of maroon, a “deep crimson colour,” according to the OED. In a citation from 1836, the shade is described as “the colour of the unripe mulberry.” When trimmed with spotted ermine, as the robe pelisse in this plate is, it makes me think of all those costume robes for kings that we used to dress up in as children. Do you think the combination had the same connotation of royalty for Regency fashionistas?
Both dresses are credited to one Mrs. Gill, Cork-street, Burlington-Gardens; for “the superior elegance” of her dresses she “has long stood distinguished and unrivalled.” A decidedly English name, Mrs. Gill. Perhaps all the Regency novels that portray the most sought-after dressmakers as French (or as pretending to be so) do not have it quite right?
This month’s “Patterns of British Manufacture” are not fabrics, but rather decorative papers. The sample is difficult to see, but #4 is rice paper, “imported from the East Indies.” The OED gives 1810 as the earliest mention of “rice paper” in English, so its appearance in Ackermann’s Repository (and at Ackermann’s shop) illustrates how up to the minute the magazine was in bringing innovative goods to the attention of its fashionable readers.
The paper, which comes in multiple colors, is recommended for fashioning paper flowers, which will “possess a superior degree of delicacy, and a nearer approach to nature” when constructed from such thin, translucent paper.
All the peers’ coronation robes and their parliamentary robes ( two different garments) have lavish amounts of spotted ermine. The dukes wore more ermine than barons but all had some. The peeresses didn’t have parliamentary robes but could have coronation robes which would be distinguished pretty much the same way the men’s were. So, I think the regency fashion was tending more to remind people of the nobility than royalty, if anything.
Many had a preference for French fashions but these were unavailable because of the war so English designers got into the act. Various dress makers — French or pseudo French could vary the garments for an individual look. La Belle Assemblee often had garments designed by Mrs. Bell– the owner’s wife. The magazines sometimes complained that their fashion designer hadn’t delivered as promised. Quite often the fashion leader would lead ladies off in a different direction though usually through accessories. Might be interesting to see if one can find illustrations from three different publications– by three different women– to see how they compare..
Bliss Bennet says
Thanks, Nancy, for the info on the peers’ robes. I’ll have to try and find a picture!
That’s a great idea, Nancy, looking at fashion plates across different publications that appeared during the same month and year. La Belle Assemble, Ackermann’s, and what would be a good third choice?
Kadee McDonald says
I liked the pelisse in the marone color so much that I used it on a cover for a Valentine’s Day novella. Thanks for such an interesting article. 🙂
Lovely book cover, Kadee! Interesting how many traditional regency authors who are self-publishing are turning to historic prints for their covers. Do you think such prints say “traditional” more than photographs of contemporary models garbed in Regency clothes do?