Monday, January 15, 2018

Blonde Lace on the 19th Century Red Carpet

Monday, January 15, 2018

1833 Bridal Ensemble

Loretta reports:

Some of my readers have asked about blonde lace.

Certain of the ladies’ magazines listed who wore what at court events. If you type “blonde” into the search box for this 1831 Royal Lady’s Magazine, you will notice that nearly every single lady wore blonde or blonde lace to the Queen’s Drawing Rooms.

Naturally, then, blonde features in my heroines’ clothing. And quite naturally also, readers have asked about it, some puzzled especially by the notion of “black blonde.”

Blonde lace is a silk bobbin lace. A search on YouTube will show it being made, and give you an idea why the handmade version was so very expensive and highly prized. The “blonde” part refers to the silk’s natural color. Once a way was found to make the silk stronger, it could be lightened, for a white blonde, and dyed for black blonde.
1833 Carriage Dress

Sleuthing online, one ends in a confused state. “Next to Chantilly the blondes are the most important among the silk laces.” Elsewhere, we’re told that Chantilly is a blonde lace. My impression is, the blonde made in Chantilly was considered superior. I await elucidation by textile experts.

For the purposes of my books, this isn’t crucial, any more than it was crucial for the magazines to distinguish. For the purposes of A Duke in Shining Armor in particular, what you’d probably rather see are examples.
Beechey, Queen Adelaide

The bridal ensemble (at top) I gave my heroine Olympia includes “a pelerine of blond extending over the sleeves” and “a deep veil of blond surmounting the coiffure, and descending below the waist.”
The “French” dress she donned at the inn was based on several images, but this pink carriage dress from the Magazine of the Beau Monde, though listed for August 1833 (my story is set in June of that year), about covers what I had in mind. She wears “a black blond pelerine with square falling collar, the points descending low down the skirt and fastened in front with light green ribbon noeuds.”

However, portraits capture the look of the lace much better than the stiff, stylized fashion prints. Queen Adelaide (consort of King William IV, monarch at the time of my story) is wearing blonde lace in this image from about 1831.
Giovanina Pacini

Giovanina Pacini, the eldest daughter of the Italian composer Giovanni Pacini wears what I'm pretty sure is black blonde in this 1831 image.

You can see a sample of Belgian Bobbin Lace in this lappet.
And here is a sample of French Pillow-made Silk Blonde.

Clicking on the image will enlarge it.  Clicking on the caption will take you to the source, where you can learn more and enlarge images as needed.


Snuze said...

Wow. I love the details you put in your book and how much I can learn from them. Thank you, Loretta!

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