In May, 1801, Jane wrote to Cassandra from Bath:
"In the evening, I hope you honoured my toilette and ball with a thought; I dressed myself as well as I could, and had all my finery much admired at home. By nine o'clock my uncle, aunt, and I entered the rooms, and linked Miss Winstone on to us. Before tea it was rather a dull affair; but then the before tea did not last long, for there was only one dance, danced by four couple. Think of four couple, surrounded by about an hundred people, dancing in the Upper Rooms at Bath.
After tea we cheered up; the breaking up of private parties sent some scores more to the ball, and though it was shockingly and inhumanly thin for this place, there were people enough, I suppose, to have made five or six very pretty Basingstoke assemblies."What finery would Jane have chosen to wear? In 1801, Regency ball dresses were heavily influenced by Neoclassical motifs and the costumes seen in the paintings and on statues of the ancient world. Evening dresses would have a full gathering at the waist in the back and a short train. Jane probably could no afford to have had her seamstress make a new ball dress every time she went to an assembly, and her fashion might have been a little "safe" and embellished with new ribbons, head wear, shoes, gloves, shawl, fan and/or reticule.
|A. 1801 ball gown. Image from|
|B. & C. Ladies Monthly Evening wear.|
|D. & E. Evening dresses|