1809 September Lady and Infant In Slight Mourning Habits. Black gossamer net, or imperial gauze, worn over a white satin slip. A half train. A round frock front, and short French sleeves, each edged with a rich Vandyke lace. A cestus, or belt, of white satin edged with gold bullion and finished in front with a rich cord and cone tassels, suspended from topaz studs. Pearl necklace and bracelets, with topaz snaps. Hair in the eastern style, with a Spartan diadem, and comb of topaz or gold. Circassian scarf of grey Spanish silk with a Tuscan border in black embroidery, tassels to correspond, confined on one shoulder with a topaz broach. Shoes of grey satin, with clasps of jet, or rosettes of black bugles. White gloves of French kid; and fan of black crape, with gold spangled devices.
‘In deep mourning, this robe should be formed of black crape, and worn over black sarsnet. The ornaments and trimmings of every description must be of bugles or jet. The shoes of queen’s silk. The scarf, black crape or imperial silk, spotted and bordered with bugles. Jet tassels and broach. The child’s dress is a simple frock of black crape muslin, tucked small, and worn over a cambric skirt. A plain net-lace tucker, and cap to match. Grey kid slippers, with black clasps.’ Fashion Plate via Rudolph Ackermann’s ‘The Repository’ of Arts.
Because many men across Europe were fighting in wars during these years, women often had a reason to dress in black. The loss of numerous family members and friends meant that black was a mainstay in any lady’s wardrobe. Black dresses, hats, capes, shoes, gloves, fans and jewelry would have been essentials, with touches of white, grey or purple being added for times of half mourning. Early publications of Rudolph Ackermann’s ‘The Repository of Arts’ had many fashion plates that included children, but the plate below with a child in ’slight’ mourning dress is very unusual. With this fashion plate is a description of how this ’slight’ mourning could be adapted for deep mourning.
Fabrics for deep mourning would be flat, rather than shiny, hats would be black with little embellishment, and jewelry would be subdued. Slight mourning allowed the white dress trimming, white gloves and these grey satin shoes.
Definition Van Dyke: V-shaped lace and trims named after a 17th Century Flemish painter, Sir Anthony Van Dyck, known for painting V-shaped lace collars and scalloped edges on sitters.
1795 August Mother and Daughter walking in the country wearing white morning dresses and matching hats. Mother wears short blue gloves, aqua blue ribbons and a shoulder shawl, or fichu. Daughter wears long yellow gloves, a straw hat with pink ribbons and carries a fan. via Nikolaus Heideloff’s Gallery of Fashion.
1811 August Walking Dress for a Mother and a child, English. Mother wears a typical Regency or Jane Austen style high round robe with full long sleeve trimmed with Van Dyke lace at the throat and cuffs and ornamented around the bottom with a Tuscan border in needlework. Short capuchin cloak of buff shot sarsenet fastened with broaches on shoulders and trimmed with deep Chinese silk fringe. Moorish turban bonnet gathered into a broach in centre of the forehead. Purple ridicule, or bag, with gold snap and tassels. Buff kid half boots, parasol with deep Indian awning. Child wears a short sleeved Spanish vest and trousers in one, which looks like a skeleton suit, a tight coat or jacket buttoned to a pair of high-waisted trousers. An Indian dimity waistcoat with long sleeves and collar trimmed with a narrow border of muslin, high shoes of purple morocco and a college cap of purple velvet with a crimson band and carries a parasol. via Rudolph Ackermann’s ‘The Repository of Arts’.
Definition Skeleton Suit: Shirt and trousers made as one connecting piece, often buttoned together, and were one of the earliest fashions designs made especially for children and were worn from the 1790s to the 1820s.
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1770-1790 ca. Child’s Stays, American. Linen plain weave, baleen, or whalebone, silk braided tape. Dimensions: Center Front Length: 5 3/4 inches (14.6 cm) Waist: 18 inches (45.7 cm). Made in United States of America. This pair of stays is only eighteen inches around, and might have been worn by a small child of eighteen months to two years old. Putting stays on young girls and boys was not seen as harsh, but rather as insurance that their figures would develop the correct form, with chest out and shoulders down. While boys usually wore stays only in early childhood, they were considered essential for females throughout their lives. via Philadelphia Museum of Art philamuseum.org Accession Number: 1988-15-1Credit Line: Purchased with the Bloomfield Moore Fund, 198