Title: Looking East
Collection: The Regency Wardrobe
Garment: Woman’s dress
Materials: paper tablecloth, tissue paper, quilling paper strips, rice paper,
crepe paper, embroidery thread, chord, gold leaf, transfer paper, pencil
The scene on the front of the skirt of this dress is inspired by the painted red and gold canvases hanging on the walls of the Music Room in The Royal Pavilion, which incorporate scenes from William Alexander’s The Costume of China, published in 1805. The tassel is likewise inspired by attributes of an oriental pagoda. The trim on the bodice and skirt, as well as the shapes that form the necklace, reflect foliage and blossom.
Looking East is also inspired by Grace Gore (1805-1868) one of five women to whom the silhouette dresses are attributed. She was the eldest of the three daughters of Lady Grace Gore, who in her trun inspired the dress titled Wallflower. Grace would have been 26 in 1831, and living with her parents in Brunswick square, Hove, Sussex when she attended a Grand Ball at The Royal Pavilion, Brighton. She would marry Frederick Dundas MP in 1847. Dundas was the maiden name of Maria Cunnyngham. So it is possible that Grace met her husband Frederick through Maria, another of this group of five local women, at one of the numerous social events for which Brighton was famous. Because it can be proved that they knew each other it has been imagined (to the ends of informing The Regency Wardrobe) that the silhouette women gathered together in advance of the Ball wearing these dresses. Perhaps they gathered in Brunswick square, where they would all at some point live, or perhaps at Firle Place, the home of Lady Gage who also is on the guest list for the Grand Ball.
*Please note: Part of the concept of The Regency Wardrobe is that the colour of many of the pieces risks fading over time. This is to reflect:
- research done by The House of Embroidered Paper into Regency era garments and the observation that the colures of their surfaces have faded overtime (as evidenced by looking under seams and inside material crevices).
- how historical events and people fade in the collective memory
- how the power and prestige of civilizations and empires fades overtime.
- how the surfaces of most items we find left to us from history have faded.
Areas of this piece therefore risk changing colour/fading over-time. That is, they may effectively, noticeably, age just as we do.