I’m as much, if not more, intrigued by the accouterments in this month’s prints than in the dresses themselves. Both prints feature ladies reclining on chairs, one seated, and one partially kneeling. Both chairs have scrolled backs, and slightly curved out legs, giving both an air of elegance to the ladies resting upon them.
I’m also curious about what these two ladies are holding in their hands. The one in plate 26, in “Morning Dress,” appears to have a tiny book of some sort in hand. A memorandum book? A small prayer book? It seems far too small to be a household account book, or even a journal or diary.
At first, I thought that the lady of plate 27 might be holding a newspaper, something I would have been very excited to see. But, realizing she was attired in “Evening Dress,” and that the sheets in her had seemed to be separate, rather than folded as a newspaper would be, I thought it more likely that a collection or book of sheet music might be intended here. She would make a lovely figure sitting down to the piano-forte in her pea-green gown, with its “deep flounce of lace round the feet, headed with silver netting.”
This month’s fabric samples include a chintz designed for “her Grace the Duchess of Bedford,” to “ornament several of the rooms in the cottage now building in Devonshire.” No, you can’t purchase the same exact fabric; what would the duchess say! The pattern is offered “as a sample of those numerous and beautiful articles for furniture, which are exhibited at the splendid gallery of Mr. Allen, of Pall-Mall.”
I’m drawn to fabric sample #4, described as a “rich lilac-shot figured sarsnet, calculated for spencer, pelisses, mantles, and bodices.” The sample looks more pink than lilac to my eye. The zig-zags topped with what look to be tiny French knots make for a very unusual fabric, one that would have had me hieing off to Mr. King’s silk mercer shop. And since his shop is also in Pall-Mall, perhaps I would have also taken a peek into Mr. Allen’s?
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