Tuesday, April 12, 2011

French Riding Dress for April 1807

Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Loretta reports:

As I discovered while researching previous blogs on bridal costume, wedding dresses do not appear frequently in the fashion prints of the first third of the 19th century.  Riding dresses are even rarer.  This one, from 1807, is French.  The purple boots with yellow laces are an interesting choice for the blue dress.

Since the fashion description is so short, I’m also including the delightful overview of the life of a fashionable lady during the London Season.

No. 3,
Represents a Parisian lady, mounted in the most fashionable style, for the Long Champs and Elysées, at Paris.—An equestrian habit of fine seal-wool cloth, with elastic strap; the colour blue (but olive, or puce, are equally esteemed), with convex buttons of dead gold. The habit to sit high in the neck behind, lapelled in front, and buttoned twice at the small of the waist; a high plaited frill of cambric, uniting at the bosom where the habit closes. A jockey bonnet of the same materials as composes the habit, finished with a band and tuft in front. Hair in dishevelled crop. York tan gloves ; and demi-boots of purple kid, laced with jonquille chord.

At this season of fashionable festivity, when pleasure dances on the wings of time—when the magic influence of taste and ton, aid the enchanting witcheries of the Loves and the Graces; and nature and beauty disdain not to pay homage at the shrine of genius and art, the triumph of the goddess is complete—-she mounts her airy car, wields her sceptre of rainbow hue, exulting in the splendour of her train. Routs, balls, and operas, pic-nics, plays, and sumptuous dinners, are but tests of her popularity, and existing specimens of her all powerful dominion.

La Belle Assemblée, Volume 2, 1807.

Perhaps our equestrian readers could explain why the horse's posterior is so prominent in the illustration?


Regencyresearcher said...

I have always wondered at the fact that the magazines carried Paris fashions despite the bitter war going on between the two countries. I , also, wondered about French publications bothering with the frivolous area of fashion when the country was engaged in warfare. One would think that, if nothing, else, the group that executed aristocrats would turn thumbs down to fashion pictures.
as to colors. I have often noticed what we would consider as clashing colors used together.
I think the horse posed as it is, was to give us the best view of the costume on the seated woman.
You do have a talent for finding different and interesting items.

Anonymous said...

The woman looks as though she were barely perched on the back of the horse without saddle or stirrup. Her boots aren't visible that I can see.

Anonymous said...

You can't SEE the boots but they ARE described - "demi-boots of purple kid, laced with jonquille chord."
Thank you Loretta once again you find the best fashion pictures.

Charles Bazalgette said...

I think this riding dress may be what was sometimes called a levette. I don't know anything further about the word. My gggggfr made several 'levets' for Maria Fitzherbert. Riding habits were the only article of women's clothing made by male tailors, presumably because they were more skilled in cutting coats.

Abby said...

I want the purple boots...how awesome..!

Anonymous said...

There are a number of odd things about the riding equipment and the horse. The person who pointed out that there appeared to be no saddle or stirrups is correct; most of the sidesaddles that I have seen have VERY deep seats that rise up behind the woman's posterior.She also looks as if she could fall off any second; her rump is half off the horse's back. Also, the horse's ears are so short as to appear a little deformed. He does not look like a Thoroughbred, which is what you might expect a lady to be riding. Also, this horse has a VERY long back and large haunches. In my opinion, the artist was mostly interested in displaying the habit, and wasn't very particular about accurately portraying either the horse or its gear.

Nina Marsh said...

I have tried a couple of side saddles before there much harder then you would think to stay on a horse, I would have to agree the last comment there artist is defiantly not knowledgeable on horse riding with the lack of accurate horse or gear.

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