Happenings and Fashion of the Regency Haut Ton in January 1807

The following text comes from the first chapter of The Follies and Fashions of our Grandfathers (1807),  a compilation of news and fashion from periodicals in the year 1807 as edited by Andrew W. Tuer and published in 1886.

Five hundred cards of invitation are issued for Mrs. Shallowhead’s masquerade on Tuesday — Count Storm-Bag gives his grand Fete Champetre on Friday ; we hear that cards of invitation have been sent to all the gay, the idle, the frivolous, and the stupid in town, — consequently a most delicious day may be expected ! ! !

Viscount ——’s grand dinner on Tuesday. At the splendid entertainment given on Sunday by Elfy Bey, there was a most elegant assemblage of Fashionable Belles, and every other delicacy that could be expected,

The venerable Lady and her two amiable grand-daughters, sang a trio on Friday night at lady Squanderfield’s Drum-major which astonished all present —’ Say, lady fair, where are you going ? ‘

The lady of Sir T C presented her lord with twins on Saturday, at her delightful Villa at Leatherhead.

At the grand masquerade warehouse in Square, on Wednesday night, the doors were thrown open at an early hour ; upwards of 700 persons sat down (and threw off the mask) to a sumptuous supper, whom the feast of reason detained till a late hour, when they separated in great order to their respective homes. At this matchless Fete, there was a galaxy of patent lamps, and a forest of greenhouse plants. The company consisted of the following illustrious personages, viz. —— and —— and brothers, lady —— and her accomplished daughters ——, the venerable lord —— and his lovely young wife, besides numberless others of first distinction

We are informed that lady Betty B —— is at Bath, and every morning at an early hour visits the pump room, to the great satisfaction of her friends.

Belcher and Jemmy from Town are now rusticating at the elegant villa of a lord in Hertfordshire. Poor Miss G —— being disappointed in her matrimonial scheme, takes it greatly to heart, and has retired (in dudgeon) to the country. The Hon. Capt. —— , who was wounded in an affair of honour, on Saturday, died on Monday. That charming creature (Shock) Lady ——’s lap-dog, has got the influenza. Col. O——’s Parrot is speechless.

We hear Viscount ——intends in a few days to lead his cook maid to the hymeneal altar.


Two or three duels may occur, where the parties have missed fire, never meaning to hit each other ; and one or two where the consequences are more serious, the parties may be tried at the Court of Sessions, but the laws of honour will prevail in favour of the acquittal.

Some thousand sermons will be preached and not attended to, and many that are attended to will not be understood.

Several coaches, carrying too many outside passengers, will be overturned, and some of them will be severely bruised ; but when the parties commence actions for redress, they will generally obtain damages.

The general topic of tea-table conversation will be the plague of servants, that they are above their work, and that they dress as fine as their mistresses.

It will be the fashion for ladies to wear no pockets, and a variety of circumstances may occasion some men to need none.


LADIES: The delicate and restrained condition which custom imposes on females, subjects them to great disadvantages. Mrs. Morris offers to remove them. Ladies or Gentlemen who have formed predilections may be assisted in obtaining the objects of their affection ; and those who are unengaged may be immediately introduced to suitable persons ; but she will not assist applicants in marriage if their characters are not irreproachable, and their fortunes independent.

Apply or address (post paid) at the Bow-window, next door to Margaret-chapel, Margaret-street, Cavendish-square.

Ladies may be waited on at their own houses, when she will be able to convince them that she is employed by persons of the highest respectability, and is deserving of the utmost confidence.


THE Queen. — Perhaps there never was a period when the female branches of the
Royal Family of Great Britain were so preeminently distinguished for their many excellent qualities, both personal and intellectual, as at the present time. In the Queen of England, we proudly contemplate the matron with her surrounding offspring, setting an example of emulation to her lovely daughters, which has been productive of the happiest consequences.

The Queen is an elegant artist, and an exquisite musician. Her Majesty’s taste in the fine arts, particularly in that of figure groups is universally admitted. One portrait of Venus, in her wavy car, has been much admired by the few who have seen it ; for it is proper to observe, that the Queen possesses that great degree of diffidence, which always accompanies real merit, and is extremely averse to having her productions exhibited. They are consequently always kept in her Majesty’s port-folios.

The Queen’s performances on the piano-forte are distinguished for brilliancy of style, more than boldness and rapidity of execution. Her voice was, for her Majesty now seldom sings, sweetly harmonious. A German air, composed by the Queen, which her Majesty used frequently to sing, was much admired by the King for its taste, delicacy, and science. Needle-work, which is now considered as perfectly antediluvian, occupied a great portion of her Majesty’s time,

A COUNCIL was held at the Royal Academy, on Wednesday, Dec. 10, for the purpose of electing a President, and distributing the three silver annual Prize Medals ; when, after sitting from seven until half past eleven o’clock, Benjamin West, Esq. was re-elected President. Mr. Wyatt then presented the medals to Mr. Mulready for the best drawing from life ; Mr. Cote, for the best model from life ; and Mr. Gandy, for an architectural drawing, West View of St. Paul’s, from actual measurement. His drawing was the only one for the medal.

A FEW nights ago, a young sprig of fashion, not eighteen years of age, lost five hundred guineas, his gold watch, and his phaeton and horses, to the merry caster at one of the gaming-houses in St. James’s Street.


Our young bucks of distinction, not content with their enormous whiskers, have mounted the mustachio on the upper lip. The ladies at first affected a dislike to this odious barrier ; but as modern fashion soon reconciles the sex to any novelty, the mustachio salute is not only sanctioned now by the dowagers of the whiskerando tribe, but even voted by the young-smooth-lipped belles, to be ”funny enough ! ”



HARRY Lee has again challenged Mendoza. —Mendoza, in answer, says, he fights no more. The challenge and answer are given, in all due form, in a Daily Paper. Mendoza, by his epistle, kills two birds with one stone ; he tells Lee he will never fight another pitched battle, but at the same time —to answer the purpose of an advertisement —that he teaches gentlemen the art of self-defence.


A SINGULAR and desperate battle was fought on Thursday morning at North Shields, between two old soldiers, one of whom was an Irishman. As each of them wanted an arm, it could not be expected that the noble science was so scientifically displayed as to please an amateur of that fine art. Both stumps and fists, however, were vigorously employed, and the battle at length terminated fatally to the gigantic Hibernian, who receiving a kick, accompanied with a shove from the stump of his antagonist, though little more than half his size, fell to the ground and broke his leg.


On Friday, the long expected match, between the lady of Col. —— and ——, Esq., was run on the race-course at ——, in the presence of an immense concourse of spectators ; the day was fine, the sport excellent, and the lady rode triumphant. Indeed, Mrs. —— , who has long been considered the greatest whip in the kingdom, completely beat her man the first heat, to the great gratification of the sporting connoisseurs who assembled on that occasion.

The Marchioness —— of —— hunted on Thursday with her harriers in the neighbourhood of ; her Ladyship is said to be the best sportsman in that sporting country ! ! !

SPORTING Extraordinary. A fine field of sportsmen, amounting to about 70, lately went out with the Croydon harriers. The dogs soon came on a fine fresh scent, which they ran breast high, near fifty miles, without ever being at fault. The sportsmen were confident that they were in chase of a strong fox, and enjoyed the sport exceedingly. Three horses fell dead from excessive fatigue. At last the dogs ran in upon their prey, which proved to be a drag made of a piece of hay, with a piece of bacon, rubbed with oil of aniseed. This trick is attributed to a jealousy between the gentlemen of the regular fox hounds and those of the harriers, the latter having lately drawn the covers on the day when the earth was stepped for the fox hounds. It is understood to have been carried into effect by three men, stationed at a distance of about fifteen miles asunder, who dragged this bait across the country, relieving each other.


Fletcher Read, Esq., a celebrated patron of the art of boxing, was found dead in his bed at his residence at Shepperton. He had gone to rest rather late, after several hours spent in a convivial manner. For the last three years Mr. Read has devoted the whole of his study to fistic diversions: and had expended a handsome fortune in backing most of the bruisers of the day. He felt many severe losses in betting against the Game Chicken, which he uniformly did : and since the contest between Belcher and the Chicken, his finances had been very low. He had received the tidings of the death of his mother two days previous to his decease, by which he had come to a considerable property.



THE return of the frigid season brings with it once more, to every loyal bosom, the happy occasion of doing honour to the birthday 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 that 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. A 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 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 shoulder 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, the high shoes or half- boots, of orange- blossom, brown velvet or kid.

Fig. No. 4 A morning walking dress for a gentleman is composed of a dark brown coat, with double-breasted lappels, cut into angles, skirt moderately long ; fancy toilinette, but chiefly marsailles, waistcoat, leather breeches, with two or three buttons ascending above the knee : boots with round toes, and dark brown glossy tops.


The most fashionable females consider no morning dress so truly elegant, in point of simplicity and neatness, as the chemise dress, made of muslin or cambric, drawn close round the throat with a broad lace frill, and to set entirely plain in front, so as to form the shape of the bosom; and fluted round the sleeves and the bottom of the dress.

The most approved pelisse opera coat, and which will be general during the month of January, is composed of twilled sarsnet or Angola cloth, of orange blossom, tinged with brown, and trimmed with white swansdown, sable, or Chinchealley fur. The Agrippina mantle is quite novel, and is formed of tiger fur, lined with sarsnet to match : a broad cape of the same falling on the shoulders ; these mantles, tiger fur tippets, and pelisse opera coats, composed of orange blossom, tinged with brown, will be very prevalent in the land of fashion. The Agrippina hat is the most tasty hat that has ever been made of straw, and will be universally worn. Tiger fur bonnets are also much in estimation. There is little necessity or opportunity for a lengthened description of Full Dress, as the Court mourning renders observations to fashions rather confined ; ornaments and trimmings being obliged to wear a sombre hue ; but the present mode of dress will, doubtless, preserve the enchanting elegance which has been so much approved by the well-discerning Noblesse ; grey crape with black or grey bugles, tastefully introduced in the dresses, have an elegant effect Some of our dashing belles have also introduced silver trimmings ; they have a brilliant appearance in the full dress already described. One of the London fashionables has again introduced the train frocks, which were a short time since so much approved of; they have undergone some variations, and are cut into a long train on one side, and squares off to the length of the petticoat on the other side ; a light embroidery of silver leaves, short sleeves drawn into quarters at the top, so as to cover the tip of the shoulder, separated with broad silver chain ; embroidery of silver leaves round the bottom of the sleeves, to match with the extremity of the dress ; the body shaped to the bosom, made entirely of lace and silver leaves to correspond with the remainder part of the dress ; and made sufficiently high, so that it may be worn alone ; this ornament in dress must cover a white satin slip ; grey crape made in nearly the same manner, and trimmed with swans* down, is very elegant With full dress, the hind part of the hair is brought to the left side of the front, with a large rosette of curls, under which, a band of hair confines the left ear, and exposes the right ; fastened in front with either a brilliant diamond star or pearls. Some Fashionables prefer the hair cut short in the neck, and curled long and high on the top, parting shews the whole of the forehead ; others adopt a plain band of hair a la Grecque on the left side, on the other three small plaits, ranging towards the back part of the head, and passing behind the right ear, so as to leave the whole exposed. This kind of head-dress is worn with fronted tiara fronts, silver or gold nets, drawn to the side of the head, according to the taste of the wearer : pearl or silver passion flowers are much worn in dress caps. Fans are made of white or grey crape, spotted with silver or gold.

Ridicules are fashionable ; and York tanned gloves are most approved of for morning dress. White stockings, with small narrow clocks, white kid gloves, white or grey satin shoes, are the necessary appendages for full dress. Half boots or high shoes, made of orange blossom or brown kid ; black velvet or kid boots, are indispensable for morning dress.


THE general mourning ordered on account of the death of the venerable Duke of Brunswick, has prevented much alteration in Gentlemen’s dress ; evening parties in the fashionable world have been a mere assemblage of sables ; and as many Gentlemen’s ward- robes furnished them with what was deemed sufficient for the purpose, the inventors of fashion found themselves completely cramped and disappointed in the great field of taste, by the necessity of new clothes being done away in the total exclusion of a coloured garment.

Morning coats of dark brown mixtures, or dark green mixtures, made either according to the same style as the evening coats, or single breasted, and rather short, are still fashionable. These .we observe to have generally a moderate sized metal plated button ; and though collars of the same cloth are much used, a black velvet collar is considered as carrying a greater degree of style.

The few coloured coats for full dress that have been worn, during the last month, have undergone but trifling variation ; when the mourning is over, dark- greens will gain an ascendancy in the circle of fashion ; and brown coats with collars of the same will still be much in favour.

The collar of coats, though made to rise well up in the neck, is, however, not so extremely high as it was formerly. It is now made just sufficient to admit of a small portion of the neck-cloth being seen above it ; it then descends gradually on the sides of the neck, so as to fall open and rather low in front ; the waistcoats are worn both double and single-breasted with collars of moderate heights to support themselves freely from the neck ; and as they are buttoned only about half way up, and only two or three of the lower buttons of the coat fastened, they are made to show the drapery of the shirt to much advantage by the apparent fulness they display when tastefully made, and properly adapted to the body. The breeches come tolerably high up on the hip, and are two or three inches below the bend of the knee, where they sit perfectly close, taking, as they ascend, a gradual increase of size, sufficient to make them completely full, but at the same time void of the extravagant folds which they exhibited some months past : the colours of the small-clothes were becoming somewhat more of the orange blossom, — or fawn, in compliment to the Ladies, who at present seem much attached to these colours in their pelisses ; and we think they would have become pretty general had they not been prevented by the introduction of black ; they will be taken into favour during the present month, as they are much admired in the haut ton.

7 Replies to “Happenings and Fashion of the Regency Haut Ton in January 1807”

  1. Thank you! I think this book is a great find…not sure how accurate it is, but he does cite the journals he pulled the information from. I found it when I was running a search on Ziegfeld Follies. Happy accident.

  2. @Abigail, What? I thought it was lovely! If I ever become pregnant with septuplets, I’m going to have a dress like that made for me.

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