I realized, if I want a costume for Halloween, I actually do need to start plotting now.
Introducing (drum roll)…
For the extremely short bio – Ada Lovelace was the daughter of Lord Byron. She worked closely with Charles Babbage on his Analytical Engine, and wrote an algorithm for it. As such, she is described as the first computer programmer!
Ding ding ding nerd alert going off! I am all about the nerdy costumes, and isn’t it convenient when it overlaps with historical costuming?
Now, what the heck is going on in that portrait? It’s watercolor, so the details are unfortunately limited. I see:
- An off the shoulder ballgown in some shade of purple. Maybe a changeable silk? Because there are a whole lot of colors of purple in that picture.
- Elbow length sleeves with black lace on the bottom. I think there is a poof in the middle, and tight at the top (very standard 1830s construction). The top is somehow gold? Maybe gold ribbon? That is some serious contrast going on.
- There is a lace shawl (practically a mantilla) attached to her hair? Why would you attach a shawl to your hair?
- Plus some accessories – yellow hair ribbon and flowers, white gloves, gold fan.
1838 was a time for transitional dress (which technically is a useless description, because all dress can be described as transitional but whatever); coming off the hilarious dresses of the 1830s Romantic era, before the more sedate dresses of the 1840s.
Let’s check out some other 1830s dresses for details, since the Lovelace portrait ain’t giving it up:
None of these dresses have black lace, or the odd one-off pop of color like the yellow of my portrait. I’d really like to do something more than a plain bodice and skirt, but none of these designs are quite calling out to me as a plausible recreation. Thoughts from the readers?