These claimed that the Marlborough opposition was so extreme and unconstitutional that they were effectively setting up a court of their own. Twas talkt of as if the Duke of M. As Robert Bucholz notes, in , the opposition Whigs attempted to generate an alternative ceremonial calendar that challenged the celebrations of the Tory-dominated court. The Whig nobles gathered at the Kit Kat Club to toast the former King, and made it known that they were wearing new clothes to celebrate the event, an honour traditionally bestowed on the current monarch alone In , the Earl had found his lengthy absences from London were generating rumours about his political sympathies.
In an effort to quash the gossip he wrote to his wife, then in London, instructing her to wear a new and especially fine dress to court as a public statement of continued allegiance to the monarch, finessing his commands with verse. Our loyalty is still the same, Whither it wins or loose the game, True as the diall to the sun, Altho it be not shind upon One year later, the Earl made public his move to political opposition and never again attended court. Notably though, until he was quite ready to act, he used court dress to cloak his manoeuvring and buy more time. In this context, we find that clothing was again routinely deployed by the elite to display political preference, with the distinction between new and old clothing carefully deployed as politicized sartorial statements.
Those attending the court used court birthdays and appearances at court to register their opposition or affiliation to different factions of the royal household. If it was not so much a direct slur against the official court, it may nonetheless have been an attempt to garner favour from the heir apparent when such recognition from the current monarch was less forthcoming.
By tensions had eased, but the Prince of Wales nonetheless retained a separate residence at Leicester House in Leicester Square. Arriving in London in November of that year, Lady Hertford wore the same new clothing to both courts to demonstrate her arrival in the capital and loyalty to the crown. In contrast, at St. The physical separation of the courts of the monarch and heir, and the often fractious relationship between the two ensured that the clothing worn to each was loaded with significance and the distribution of new clothes to old being particularly closely monitored.
On this occasion the attempt by the Duchess of Hamilton and Lady Susan Stewart to distort the information about court clothing in circulation appears to have been driven by interpersonal rivalries between the Scottish noble families, but nonetheless the nuanced significance of whether court clothing was deemed new or old, fine or not is clear In the early s, the King and his heir apparent continued to appear together at court events, but contemporaries watched the court closely for signs of discontent.
A plethora of conflicting reports on the finery and show seen at court hinted at the tensions that were beginning to build. It is said to have been very handsome and it is said the contrary. There were about twenty couples consisting chiefly of the Families of Ministers and of Persons belonging to the Court […] but then some with such Pretensions being left out and some without any such taken in, [which] always makes a wonderment.
The Maids of Honour were not asked and are very many of them angry some of them you know are thought not to be in great favour Nevertheless, the most extreme Whigs still found ways to accessorize their sartorial displays with messages of opposition, while ostensibly bowing to the authority of the crown.
In late April a formal service of thanksgiving had been held at St. Celebrations and political displays continued elsewhere too. And their wives wore their latest court dress. The women in the opposition camp, high profile Whig hostesses such as the Duchess of Devonshire, were also recorded as shunning court-inspired clothing, and attended the gala in other, more fashionable, gowns. Contravening late eighteenth-century court protocols which stipulated that English silks should be used for court dress, the Whig party had commissioned their clothing in France.
In a snub to the crown they decided to show themselves at court wearing new clothes of foreign manufacture. However, all did not go to plan. The imported suits were seized at Dover by customs and so the clothes and the challenge they would have suggested were kept away from court. Moreover, within that report, the dresses of two women in particular — Mrs Colonel de Bathe and Mrs Colonel Egerton — were singled out for particular praise. It is striking that it was the attire of the untitled, military wives rather than the female courtiers and noble ladies that The Morning Chronicle puffed.
As war with revolutionary France raged, it seems likely that the coverage of court dress denounced in one sentence but detailed in the next was utilised by The Morning Chronicle as more than a straightforward fashion story. At this date, the newspaper was notoriously partisan. Under the proprietorship of Richard Brinsley Sheridan, it served as a mouthpiece for the Foxite Whigs who routinely boycotted court as a statement of their political opposition.
However, this display was far more than empty spectacle. An investigation of contemporary letters and their preoccupation with court dress reveals a system of reporting that extended beyond the recitation of cut, colour and style. Court dress was defined by more than its place within, or distance from, contemporary fashions. Rather, when reported , the clothing worn was interpreted as a meaningful signal of political display, read by observers both as a general measure of the political climate and also as an active component in the creation of political identities.
It appears to have been precisely because of the uncertain nature of relationships between crown, government, palace and Parliament during the eighteenth century that court dress, and the interpretation of courtly display, became so overtly politicised. When dressing for court, elite figures broadcast their position in a political system, comprising a newly established constitutional monarchy, whose rules and expectations were universally unresolved.
For the elite to shun the court entirely was an extreme statement of opposition that few were ready to attempt. However, it was possible for elite figures to display degrees of opposition through their sartorial choices. By selecting foreign-made fabrics, by wearing old instead of new or new instead of old , or even by loading a dress with trimmings better suited for another garment, the clothing worn to court provided a means to articulate nuanced politicized positions and complex relationships to the presumed authority of the monarch.
Crucially, though, it was politics that was foregrounded in court dress reports. Far from straightforward catalogues of court fashions, both epistolary and published newspaper reports of court clothing mediated and manipulated the representation of courtly displays. Such reports are best approached as part of an interconnected culture of commentary that encompassed both the unpublished accounts in manuscript letters and the published accounts which appeared in newspapers. Although here a brief and nondescript comment, when positioned alongside a wider context of court dress reports, it stands as a reminder of the interrelationship of published and unpublished accounts within a culture of commentary that was often politically nuanced, with one report endeavouring to countermand another.
At moments of political tension, members of the elite relied on close acquaintances to confirm or challenge the veracity of different accounts. The circulation of information about court clothing, and indeed the manipulation of reports about court show, also illuminates that this was not an entirely closed world. Crucially, although court dress was worn only at court, the messages it broadcast extended further.
By donning court clothing the elite were not simply cloaking themselves in the traditions of monarchical authority. The messages communicated by court dress helped to forge new and complex politicised identities — identities that were as meaningful and relevant outside the palace walls as they were within them. Laird and A. I have sought to avoid unnecessary overlap but these two essays share a broad and still developing investigation of the politics of court clothing.
Together they represent the preliminary stages of a wider project on the material culture of the eighteenth-century court. I am grateful to these publications for allowing me to position these findings in two very different contexts. The Morning Chronicle , 20 January , p. See, for example, letter from Peter Wentworth to his brother Earl of Strafford of 12 January , p. Birdwood, London, H.
See her succinct introduction for an overview of the historiographical debates relating to the position of the court in eighteenth-century English politics and culture. Smith, Georgian Monarchy , op. For studies of the Jacobites, their continental activities and court-in-exile, see Edward T.
Davis, , p. Over rare photographs document "Sunday best" clothing from the s to the s. Bustles, pantalets, top hats, waistcoats, bowlers, other attire, as well as hairdressing and tonsorial styles. This revealing history of corsetry ranges from the 19th through the midth centuries to show how simple laced bodices developed into corsets of cane, whalebone, and steel. Lavish illustrations include line drawings and photographs. This revealing history of corsetry ranges from the 19th through the midth centuries to show how One-piece strapless bathing suits and dresses with plunging necklines for women; business suits with wide lapels for men; bluejeans and plaid shirts for girls; and much more.
Over black-and-white illustrations. One-piece strapless bathing suits and dresses with plunging necklines for women; business suits with This stunningly comprehensive survey of hats and headgear from ancient Egypt to midth century illustrates an astonishing range of styles — plumed turbans to modern homburgs, plus images of hairstyles, jewelry, and cosmetics. This stunningly comprehensive survey of hats and headgear from ancient Egypt to midth century Fascinating, well-documented survey covering 6 centuries of English undergarments, enhanced with over illustrations: 12th-century laced-up bodice, footed long drawers , 19th-century bustles, 19th-century corsets for men, Victorian "bust improvers," much more.
Fascinating, well-documented survey covering 6 centuries of English undergarments, enhanced with Bonnets, capes, caps, shawls, bodices, and crinolines as people actually wore them from to More than photos depict aristocrats and members of the middle class as well as celebrities. Over this was laced her corset of soft, corded cotton, nipping in the waist and separating the elevated bosom by the insertion of a busk, a long strip of wood or bone at center front. These pillows were squeezed through the narrow dress armscyes and puffed back into shape to support the exterior fabric.
Corded petticoats were worn to support the full skirt. Like the corset cording, the insertion of cotton ropes into casings around the petticoat made the material firm, yet flexible.
Historically, full skirts dragged on the ground, concealing all traces of lower limbs. The s was one of those rare periods to witness tiny feet shod in ballet-like slippers and dainty ankles encased in boldly patterned stockings. Only the most daring woman, though, would have consented to this blue and white striped pair with multiple openwork patterns encircling her legs. How ridiculous are stockings when embroidered on the instep!
Such coquetry can only find excuse from an opera dancer, who wishes to fix all the eyes…on her legs and feet. This cotton day gown is ornamented with pointillist scrolls and foliate designs in a quartet of colors; four calibrated rollers each containing a different dye were passed over the length of cloth during its printing process. The finely printed floral cotton gown is superbly draped and sewn, perfectly replicating the construction of a full-sized garment. The shoulders have been banded down in tight pleats which, over the next few years, would elongate and push the fullness down the arms.
The bodice is stiffened with a built-in, thick wood busk at center front, anticipating the boning that defined the female torso for the rest of the century. Their costumes were a major influence on fashion, particularly their delicate, flat-soled slippers. This pair, made of straw and horsehair, was for use at home.
The shoes are fragile and required a light, graceful step. The horsehair mesh supports a variety of intricate bordures—straw plaits, braids, and ornaments—that were likely surplus trimmings from the bonnet industry. The crimson silk linings highlight these miniscule twists, spirals, loops, and weaves.
Improvements in agrarian practices during the first decades of the nineteenth century resulted in a glut of straw, a by-product of cereal crops such as barley and wheat. The style is British in origin and was first worn as hunting attire in the country before being incorporated into formal urban dress.
It was most often made of sheared beaver fur and wool felt, although straw or silk plush was substituted during summertime. It also readily took to dye, making black, gray, and even blue top hats options for the well-dressed gent. The white fleur-de-lis was the symbol of the House of Bourbon.
Although they were employed in fewer numbers as the Victorian era continued and employment laws changed, they could still be found in certain roles. Courtesy of JCHS. As noted by Ewing , the connection between social and fashion change was most noticeable in this period; as society modernized, so did fashion. Documents include all manner of written records such as wills, inventories, wardrobe accounts, bills of sale, advice on dressing, as well as eyewitness accounts of how people dressed in the past. Stevens, George. Rents in the Old Nichol area near Hackney , per cubic foot, were five to eleven times higher than rents in the fine streets and squares of the West End of London.
Pinrock, June , October 1, , Adrienne L. See for example, The Metropolitan Museum of Art Batsford Limited, , 46— See George S. Willet Cunnington. Pam Parmal, et al. Eleanor St.