I think the blue satin spencer must have been quite beautiful in person, and I would love to see that embroidered hem up close—but what struck me about this ensemble was the bonnet with its "very large" front. It seemed unusually tall and towering for this era, and reminded me of the extraordinary hat on the cover of Behind Closed Doors, a NHG Library selection I blogged about a while back.
PLATE 22.— PROMENADE DRESS. A high dress of jaconot muslin, richly embroidered round the bottom of the skirt. The body is composed entirely of work. Long sleeve, finished down the arm in front by bouillons of lace. With this dress is worn the Charlotte spencer, composed of cerulean blue satin; it is tight to the shape, the back a moderate breadth, and the waist short. The sleeve is rather wide. The trimming is extremely elegant, and it is disposed in so tasteful a manner, as to give an appearance of perfect novelty to the spencer. We are not allowed to name the materials of which it is composed. The sleeve is ornamented at the wrist, and on the shoulder to correspond. Bonnet, à la Ninon, composed of French willow. The crown is fancifully ornamented with the same material, cut in small squares, edged with white satin, and turned a little over at the ends. The front is very large; it displays the front hair, which is simply braided across the forehead: it is edged with puffed gauze, disposed in points, and confined by a narrow fold of white satin. A sprig of acacia ornaments it on the left side, and it is finished by white satin strings. French ruff and ruffles of rich lace. Blue or white kid shoes and gloves.
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.