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Tuesday, September 18


During an era when thin cotton dresses, short sleeves, and low necklines were prevalent, the shawl became an important and ubiquitous necessity, especially in cool, draughty houses. Jane Austen mentions them throughout her novels and letters as a matter of course. Here are a few of Jane's quotes and a sampling of shawls.

Neoclassical hand embroidered white work shawl, 1810-1820

They were entering the hall. Mr. Knightley's eyes had preceded Miss Bates's in a glance at Jane. From Frank Churchill's face, where he thought he saw confusion suppressed or laughed away, he had involuntarily turned to hers; but she was indeed behind, and too busy with her shawl.
Jane Austen, Emma

Mr. Knightley thought he saw another collection of letters anxiously pushed towards her, and resolutely swept away by her unexamined. She was afterwards looking for her shawl--Frank Churchill was looking also--it was growing dusk, and the room was in confusion; and how they parted, Mr. Knightley could not tell.
Jane Austen, Emma

In Paragon we met Mrs Foley & Mrs Dowdeswell with her yellow shawl airing out—& at the bottom of Kinsdown Hill we met a Gentleman in a Buggy, who on minute examination turned out to be Dr Hall—& Dr Hall in such very deep mourning that either his Mother, his Wife, or himself must be dead.
Jane Austen, Letter (1799-05-17)

Spitalfields Shawl in the long, rectangular shape so popular during the Regency Period.

Links to shawls of the era

1 comment:

Jaimie said...

Those shawls are really beautiful. Thank you for sharing them.