REGENCY EVENING GOWNS : THE REAL THING
In my last blog, I showed you some modern replica costumes from Jane Austen adaptations. This time, I thought you might like to see the real thing, from the Hereford Museum collection. They’re not displayed on mannequins, sadly, because Hereford can’t afford that kind of display, but the curator is very happy to show them to visitors (by appointment).
I said before that I thought Regency ladies would have become bored with white and pale colours. Have a look at this one, where the colours are still blazing, even after nearly 200 years. Not boring in the least!
The interesting thing about this gown, apart from the colour, is its sleeves. In this photo, you can see that it has plain long sleeves. However, they were only an optional extra which could be tacked in when the occasion required. The real gown has the most beautifully fashioned puff sleeves, seen in the picture below. In this close-up, you can also see the fineness of the material, and the vibrant colours it contains. Note also the acid yellow trimming. It might be a little too bright for modern tastes, but it was meant to be seen by candlelight, when it would have appeared more subdued.
The gown is in a very poor state, as you can see from this photo of part of the bodice, but you may be able to judge just how magnificent it once was. Now, most of it has rotted away.