A rare Devonshire House Ball costume worn by the Marquise of Tweeddale (1826-1911) as St. Bris from the opera 'Les Huguenots', 1897, with remains of black silk maker's label bearing gilt Royal appointment badge to one side, comprising: blue/black velvet doublet, cape, breeches all adorned with jet beading with black bois durcie jet-like buttons, muslin frilled cuffs; with accessories comprising silk stockings, beaded velvet baldrick with attached purse and a muslin ruff.
Part of the lot is a volume of photographs of the attendees of the ball taken by J. Lafayette of New Bond street, showing the Marquis with his elder daughter Lady Clementine who made her debut at the ball in a white riding outfit in the role 'Valentina', the daughter of the St. Bris character, and also a photograph of his wife Candida, The Marchioness of Tweeddale as Empress Josephine.
Also part of the lot is a letter from Lady Lucan to the Lady Candida, July 4th, Portland Place (qty) 'Dear Candida, One line before I haste, I must send you; to congratulate you on the perfect success of last night. You were a dream of beauty! And everyone agreed that you were quite the most beautifully dressed character there and carried of the P***, Yours in haste beg Aff C. Lucan'.
Louisa, Duchess of Devonshire (1832-1911) was one of London's foremost political hostesses who planned a costume ball to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee on 2nd July 1897. It was to be a costume ball with characters based on historical figures and the arts. All of the leading fashion houses and court dressmakers (including Maison Worth) were commissioned to produce the lavish robes. The guests spent small fortunes on these costumes, which in most cases were worn just the once. The great and the good of British society clamoured for invitations, and the guest list was headed by Edward and Alexandra, the Prince and Princess of Wales, no less. The photographer Mr Lafayette set up a temporary studio in a tent to record the magnificence of the guests. These images were reproduced in the press of the day as well as published in a special volume which guests could purchase.
William Montagu Hay, 10th Marquis of Tweeddale was a Scottish landowner, peer and politician, who had spent time in India, first in the Bengal Civil service, then as Deputy Commissioner of Simla and as Superintendent of the Hill States of Northern India. Upon his return he became a Liberal MP and became chairman of the North British Railway Company. He was created Baron Tweeddale of Yester (his birthplace in Scotland) in 1881.
Condition Report: Doublet - label is largely missing. Lacking a button at the neck. Velvet is generally good. Threads used to couch the strands of black beads have discoloured to brown. Stitch marks at rear waist where the baldrick/belt was probably originally attached. · Breeches - good condition, wear to rear waist strap · Baldrick - good, couching threads have discoloured to brown. · Ruff - good condition · Stockings - good, signs of slight use · Cape - velvet has frayed front left hem edge above the beaded band.