All posts tagged: 1840s

Angela Georgina Burdett-Coutts, Baroness Burdett-Coutts, ca. 1840, NPG, detail

Rate the Dress: the Philanthropist in Plaid

Last week’s peach-on-peach 1914 evening dress earned its rating almost entirely on how much you liked said shade.  If it was too much overtones of 1980s bridesmaids dresses – not so much!  I was highly entertained by the wildly varying opinions and some of the descriptions (peach flavoured onion!).  Alas, for something so entertaining, it came in with a rather nondescript rating of 7.3 out of 10.  The lowest in a long while, but far higher than some of the lowest scores. This week let us turn from soft peachy pink, to crisp black and white, as we look at philanthropist, heiress, art collector, honourary beekeeper and goat aficionado, Angela Burdett-Coutts, 1st Baroness Coutts. Angela’s life is remarkable; from inheriting one of the largest fortunes in England (though I’ve always wondered how her four older sisters felt about being left out of it); to using it for a huge range of Very Good Things (many quite unusual and advanced for a lady of her era); to proposing to the  45-years-her-senior Duke of Wellington, fending off …

Rate the Dress: 1840s summer whites for a gentlemen

For last week’s Elizabeth Amalie Rate the Dress I had one request:  Please don’t look at the baby. You looked at the baby.  How could you not!  That was some baby… Luckily looking at the baby resulted in a very entertaining set of comments.  If the baby itself didn’t make you fall off your chair laughing, then Rachel’s imagined conversation with EA, and Mrs C’s all-too-apt Harry Potter reference were sure to! Beyond the most-unfortunate baby, Elizabeth Amalie’s dress was deemed very attractive, but not the most delicious creation of its time, coming in at 8.2 out of 10. I’ve just been to see the Reigning Men exhibition at LACMA* (11 word review: fabulous garments, slightly less fabulous curatorial choices, slightly overwhelming, totally worth it), so have menswear on the mind.  There aren’t that many museums that have a lot of images of fully assembled menswear outfits, so I’ve picked one that is from LACMA, though it isn’t in Reigning Men. This mid-1840s ensemble was made with hot summer temperatures in mind: light colours give …

Rate the Dress: All white in the 1840s

Last week I presented Mrs Lockett Agnew (nee Augusta Isobel Sheil), in an 18th c. inspired 1880s reception ensemble.  There were a few tiny niggles about the very high neck, or the top-buttoning only jacket, but generally you thought it fabulous, and even if you didn’t like it personally, you thought it was perfect for Augusta, giving it a smashing 9 out of 10 (basically anything above a 9 is a perfect score these days!). This Week’s Rate the Dress dress shows the transition from 1830s to 1840s fashions.  The more elaborate sleeves and scalloped edging looks back to the cluttered detailing of the Romantic era, but the overall silhouette of the dress follows the smoother, sleeker line of the 1840s. Made from a stiff cotton tarlatan, with details in silk satin, the dress uses the shine of the satin weave to highlight and define the detailing, while keeping the an overall simple, monochromatic ivory. While this may have been a wedding dress, white was also a very popular choice for evening dresses, particularly for young women (think …