Le Beau Monde, or Literary and Fashionable Magazine, 1806-1810

Volume I, No. 3 January, 1807

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This number contained three plates: (1) "Portrait of His Royal Highness the Duke of Clarence"; (2) "Two beautifully coloured Court Dresses for Her Majesty's Birth-day"; and (3) Two beautifully coloured Walking Dresses." The contents include as headings: Biographical sketches of illustrious men, history, state of Society and manners, original communications, review of literature, poetry, fine arts, public amusements for December, Retrospect of Politics for the month of December 1806, Miscellanies, and Le Beau Monde. Under each heading (in all capital Letters) is listed the various articles or subheadings.

Court Dress, January 1807. By 1807, the waist of court dresses had moved up to the height common for dresses, but, since hoops were still required, it was much less attractive. Here a lace-trimmed overskirt covers a dress with bands of flowered garland and a deep lace trim around the bottom of the skirt. The male figure shows the typical formal court dress that varied little from the 1780s. The formal suits included matching coat and breeches in the same fabric, usually a dark color and sometimes patterned. Always these court suits would be heavily embroidered. This suit is embroidered on collar, cuffs and along the front opening. The sword would be worn for such a formal event as the Birth Day, the traditional closing ending event of the London season. The waistcoat here is lighter than the suit, but we are unable to see if it is embroidered or not. The hat is a style particularly easy to carry under the arm. Compare to the formal suit of the 1790s owned by the Victoria and Albert museum. The words beneath the print read "COURT DRESSES for His Majesty's Birth Day. Printed for J. B. Bell & Co."

Text of Fashion Description [page 181]


The return of the rigid season brings with it once more, to every loyal bosom, the happy occasion of doing honour to the birth-day of our gracious and amiable Queen. Fancy and taste have been long busy in making preparations, and the condescension of a noble lady has enabled us to anticipate some of the characteristics that are likely to distinguish the habiliments of the day. The design which she has done us the honour to communicate, brings the whole into a central point of consideration, and we have therefore only to describe it.

Fig. No. 1. FOR LADIES.--The hair dressed in natural curls round the face, with a coronet, bandeau, or other ornament in gold--feathers of every kind. The body, sleeves, and petticoat, of rich, full coloured satin or velvet: the draperies of gauze or tiffany spotted with gold embroidery; the trimmings and false sleeves of the same, edged with rich lace, and the cords and tassels that festoon the draperies, of gold. The bracelets round the sleeves, the zone and the binding of the petticoat to be of plate gold, we suppose in commemoration of the lately achieved conquest of South America. The petticoat is decorated with artificial wreaths of the white thorn made in relief.

Fig. No. 2. FOR GENTLEMEN.--Dark-green, or other dark colour, coat and small- cloaths of silk, velvet, or fine cloth, covered with a small spot somewhat lighter of the same kind of colour, edged with silver lace, and embroidered with any kind of wild flower of acknowledged British growth: waistcoat of white satin, embroidered in a very light pattern of gold thread. Silk stockings perfectly white.

Fig. No. 3. MORNING WALKING DRESS.--A plain muslin dress, walking length, made high in front, and forms a shirt collar, richly embroidered; long sleeves, also embroidered round the wrists, and at the bottom of the dress; a pelisse opera coat, without any seam in the back, composed of orange-blossom tinged with brown, made of Angola cloth, or sarsnet, trimmed either with rich Chinchealley [sic] fur, or sable tipt with gold; white fur will also look extremely delicate. The pelisse sets close to the form on one side, and is fastened on the right should with a broach; both sides may be worn close as a wrapping pelisse. Indispensables are still much worn, and of the same colour as the dress. The Agrippina hat, made at Millard's, corner of Southampton-street, Strand, is truly elegant and quite new; the hair in loose curls, confined with a band of hair: ear-rings are quite out of fashion. Leather gloves, and high shoes or half-boots, or orange-blossom, brown velvet or kid.

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