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chatelaine A chatelaine is a device which clips to the waist band or belt of a dress for holding such items as the mistress of the house would need with her throughout the day. It might include her seal, watch, scissors, thimble, a vinaigrette, and a key holder.


Fans were an important accessory in Georgian and Regency times. Both men and women carried fans. At first, they were very expensive and only the wealthiest people could afford fans, but in 1796, the invention of lithography, a new printing process, made fans cheaper and available to people of more modest means. Fans were decorated with current events (like Nelson's victory of the Nile), travel scenes, riddles, and art.

A fan is made up of a head where the pivot or rivet holds the sticks together, sticks, the outside sticks are known as guards, and it may have paper, silk, or other pleated material, know as the leaf, adhered to the sticks.

Fans were constructed in styles including: the folding, brisť, cockade, or as a simple rigid shape mounted on a handle. A folding fan consisted of a set of sticks fastened together at one end in such a way that they could be spread with a pleated material fastened to the sticks. The paper or silk material was often painted with a scene. A landscape setting with figures from mythology was popular during the Neoclassical fad at the turn of the century. A brisť fan is made up of separate sticks fastened together at one end like in the folding fan, but with no material and wider sticks that are kept from spreading too much by a ribbon laced through the sticks. A cockade fan in made of pleated paper that opens into a full circle with the end sticks, known as guards, fitting together to form a handle.

A code of fan gestures developed that sent messages. This signal language was published in contemporary etiquette books and magazines. Fanology or Ladies’ Conversation Fan was put together by Charles Francis Badini and published by William Cock in London in 1797. It contained a list of gestures paired with the message they conveyed, such as:


A reticule was a small handbag that could be hung from the wrist to be used in much the same manner as an evening bag is today. It might also be called an indispensable. The reticule became an indispensable accessory because the line of the newly fashionable high-waisted Empire gowns would be interrupted by any object lodged in a pocket. In December 1801, Katherine Wilmot, an Irish woman on Grand Tour visiting Paris, described reticules as like a "little workbag." (Read her description of the French fashions on page 15 and of reticules on page 16 in Elizabeth Mavor's book The Grand Tours of Katherine Wilmot.) The bag might be knitted, made of rich cloth with a gold chain and closure, or derived from such items as shells. Netting reticules and covering screens were considered suitable pastimes for young ladies. The term purse during the Regency would only be used to describe a very small leather bag for carrying moneys as in a change purse today. A reticule might contain a fine linen handkerchief, a calling card case filled with the Lady's card, a small purse for tips, a vinaigrette, the Lady's seal, a tablet and pencil in a small case, and a tin of breath mints. Each case was probably housed in a small velvet bag to prevent scratches. Two Ackermann plates below show ladies in walking dress with reticules.

Lady in walking dress wearing a pelisse and carrying a shell reticule Lady in walking dress wearing a pelisse and carrying a velvet reticule with gold chain and closure



'"Good God, the child's raving! Horatia, what –what have you been doing?" Lady Winwood sank back upon her cushions with closed eyes…The hartshorn, the vinaigrette, and some Hungary Water applied to the temples restored the afflicted Lady to life."
  Quoted from The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer.

A vinaigrette is a little tightly sealing box with a second pierced lid inside to contain a bit of gauze soaked in vinegar, lavender water, or other scent. Sniffing the contents were meant to revive someone feeling faint or give relief from unpleasant odors. It might be kept inside a reticule or be equipped with a loop and hung about the wearer's wrist or from a chatelaine. Vinaigrettes were made by silversmiths specializing in boxes so they usually also made snuffboxes. There were smiths in London who did this type of work, but most boxes were made in Birmingham.

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