In the possession of Messrs. Gill ¿BKeigate. 7 it. o ins. long 5 ft. o ins. wide x 9 ft. 2 ins. high.
we should expect to find numerous examples of the newer and more convenient form preserved at the present day, which is certainly not the fact. Added to this, there is evidence, in the chronicles of the house of Gillow, to show that enclosed dressing-tables—which had little or nothing to recommend them, in comparison—were made up to the close of the eighteenth century, and for some years after.
The fashions in the costume of the ladies of the last quarter of the eighteenth century changed with almost kaleidoscopic rapidity, and were the subject of numerous " skits " in the periodicals of the time. The following, from the London Magazine of 1777, is a good example of the sly fun poked at the extravagances in dress of the fair sex at this period :—
Give C'hloe a bushel of horse-hair and wool, Of paste and pomatum a pound : Ten yards of gay ribbon to deck her sweet skull, And gauze to encompass it round.
Of all the bright colours the rainbow'displays Be those ribbons which hang on her head ; Be her flounces adapted to make the folks gaze, And about the whole work be they spread.
Let her flaps fly behind for a yard at the least, Let her curls meet just under her chin ; Let these curls be supported, to keep up the jest, With an hundred instead of one pin.
Let her gown be tucked up to the hip on each side, ^hoes too high for to walk or to jump ; And to deck the sweet creature complete for a bride, Let the corkcutter make her a rump.
Thus finish'd in taste, while on Chloe you gaze, You may take the dear charmer for life ; But never undress her, for, out of her stays, You'll find you have lost half your wife !
The changes of fashion before referred to occurred with such bewildering frequency that it is not possible to give a pen-picture of the female costume at this period which would hold good even for a single year. Fairholt, in his Costume in England, quotes the following from the Universal Magazine of 17S0 as showing how these constant changes in the last quarter of the eighteenth century were ridiculed at the time :—
Now dress'd in a cap, now naked in none; Now loose in a mob, now close in a Joan : Without handkerchief now, and now buried in ruff; Now plain as a Ouaker, now all of a puff ; Now a shape in neat stays, now a slattern in jumps; Now high in French heels, now low in your pumps ; Now monstrous in hoop, now trapish, and walking With your petticoats clung to your heels like a maulkin ; Like the cock on the tower, that shows you the weather, Vou are hardly the same for two days together.
The hoop skirt was still retained for fashionable functions until about 1796, and at the close of the fashion was of more preposterous size than it had ever been before. Huge wreaths of flowers and swags of coloured silks and ribbon still further
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