Shades of Milk and Honey: Miss Dunkirk’s ballgown

Miss Dunkirk

This is one of my favorite dresses in the Glamourist Histories, so I wanted to show it to you. It appears in Shades of Milk and Honey  and belongs to Miss Dunkirk.

She offered Miss Dunkirk her arm and led her to a bolt of white lawn, the fabric most appropriate to a debutante. Then Jane suggested a deep green velvet which she thought might set off Miss Dunkirk’s hair to advantage…  Between the two of them, they selected a lace which complemented the cloth as well.

The original dress is from Ackermann’s Repository of Arts, the March 1814 edition.

A white crape, or fine muslin petticoat, worn over white satin, embroidered in silver lama round the bottom. A bodice of olive or spring-green satin, ornamented with a silver stomacher. Short, full sleeve, and rounded bosom, trimmed with a full silver border to correspond. A fan frill of fluted lace, continued round the back, and terminating in front at the corner of the bosom. A silver fringe round the bottom of the waist. The hair in irregular curls in front, falling low on each side, drawn smoothly on the crown of the head, and brought in a small bunch of curls at the back. A bandeau of pearl, twisted round the curls behind. Necklace and cross of pearl eardrops, and bracelets to correspond. Occasional scarf of white silk, richly embroidered in silver and coloured silks. Gloves of white kid. Slippers of green satin, with silver rosettes.


Just to be clear, when they refer to “a fine muslin petticoat” they aren’t talking about modern muslin. In the Regency muslin could be so fine as to be translucent, like this example of a hand-embroidered Regency dress. See how the paper shows through it? (Here are more photos of this lovely extant dress.)


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