When researching Don’t Tempt Me, I finally made the connection between the number of mourning dresses in fashion plates in late 1817 and early 1818 and the fact that Princess Charlotte had died in November 1817. The court didn’t come out of mourning until late February 1818. We 21st century people tend to forget that there was a time when mourning followed a lengthy, prescribed pattern, and there was a system of dress for its various stages.
I’ve seen quite a few Regency era mourning dresses in fashion plates, but never anything like the one I was shown at Colonial Williamsburg’s Millinery Shop.
The black design, which seems to be a cypher (C-Y-E) is not embroidery. As the photos show, it’s done in ink. This dress is a copy of an existing one, c 1817-1820, though no one is sure whether the original was English or American.
I’d be interested to learn whether any of you have ever seen this sort of hand-drawn pen and ink decoration on a dress. It was a first for me.
There’s a big difference in how we use history. But we’re equally nuts about it. To us, the everyday details of life in the past are things to talk about, ponder, make fun of -- much in the way normal people talk about their favorite reality show.
We talk about who’s wearing what and who’s sleeping with whom. We try to sort out rumor or myth from fact. We thought there must be at least three other people out there who think history’s fascinating and fun, too. This blog is for them.