Friday, September 7, 2012

Archery Fashion

I am not intentionally neglecting this blog, and have in fact been doing a lot of prep work for projects!  Unfortunately I am having computer trouble that makes it difficult to post.  Apologies for the bursts and droughts of writing recently!
In keeping with my recent need to shoot things, I have totally fallen in love with this fashion plate.

Archery Dresses, La Belle Assemble 1831
Isn't it super adorable? Unfortunately, I really will never need an 1830s day dress.  But this got me thinking about archery and fashion in general, and I did some poking around.  While archery is an acceptable sport for ladies by the very end of the 18th century, I had some trouble finding images of it.  In fact, almost all the images I found of ladies doing archery from the early 19th century (I'm on a Regency kick) related to the British Bowmen, an archery society which was open to women in the 1790s (although the society itself was much older than that).  There are two illustrations of the British Bowmen from the first half of the 19th century, which give a pastoral impression of the sport.

The British Bowmen at Gersyllt Park, 1795-1805
Meeting of the Royal British Bowmen, 1823

Aren't these lovely?  In the first image all of the participating women appear to at least coordinate, if not match.  In the second image both genders are certainly wearing uniforms.  I thought the women's uniform looked like fun (and I love green/gold as a color combination) so I did some more digging and found these two versions at the Manchester Gallery of Costume.

1790s British Bowmen women's uniform bodice

British Bowmen women's uniform, 1815-1820
The wrap bodice is a smart design for easier movement, but I really find the dress to be totally darling.  As I am not British and not a talented archer (although I plan on practicing!), I really don't feel justified making a uniform for an elite archery society...but I am heavily inspired to make some cute outerwear for adventuring!  I am thinking a wool pelisse with contrasting bottom and binding.  I'm holding off until I find wool I like, so I'm not yet sure what the colors will be.

And last, just because I love tartan ever so much, the men also had pretty spiffy archery uniforms.  This one is for the Royal Company of Archers from about 1800.

George Douglas, Earl of Morton in Holyrood Park

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