Friday, July 13, 2012

Ladies' Dresses on His Majesty's Birth-day

In January 1809, La Belle Assemblee presented an article entitled 'Ladies' Dresses on Her Majesty's Birth-day'. I discussed and posted excerpts from this article on Nov. 12, 2009, here.

The July 1810 issue of the popular magazine published a very similar article but the celebration was for His Majesty's Birth-day. George III had been born on 4 June 1738, but the date of this celebration is not mentioned. Royalty has always celebrated its birthdays publicly on dates other than the actual birth date.

As with the account of dresses for Queen Charlotte's birthday celebration, we do not know what form the celebration took. A ball, or perhaps an evening party, a rout--whatever the event it would have been tinged with anxiety, as the king's health was not good, and was soon to worsen.

Nevertheless, the ladies were wonderfully dressed. The velvets of the January party are replaced by satins, and the rich colours have paled, but the opulence remains constant. The royal ladies were particularly magnificent:

I found this last description surprising as it indicates that the Prince of Wales' detested wife, Caroline of Brunswick, was included in the party. The writer of the article is most complimentary also, confirming the ambivalence with which the Princess was regarded. The people's support of her can certainly be seen in this description.

The Princess Castelcicala, mentioned third below, was from the Grand Duchy of the same name--a principality near Naples, Italy. A Rowlandson cartoon of the Prince of the Duchy can be seen here
It would be interesting to know the total cost of these gowns and jewels. Certainly the ladies of the court, above, vied with the royals for conspicuous consumption.

This, according to La Belle Assemblee, is one of the gowns worn on the occasion. It is captioned "Court Dress - As worn by a Lady of Distinction on His Majesty's Birth-Day 1810". I have not yet been able to match it to one of the descriptions.

The Regency was not yet instituted, but the court already glittered. Fiction writers need not stint when they describe the scintillating Regency world.

'Til next time,



Here...There...and Everywhere!! said...

Recently discovered limited edition of Lithographs by Arthur Barbosa, History of the American
Army Uniform 1774-1864 in mint, unframed condition. Is there a market for these items? If so, could you provide information? Thank you!

Lesley-Anne McLeod said...

There is a market. Ebay might be a solution, but it might be best to deal with a reputable art seller. I'm afraid I can't be of more help!