Tuesday 14 October 2014

What a Royal Herbstrewer Wore

My post on the coronation of George IV is consistently one of the most popular here on the Guide. It seems that people never tire of reading about Prinny's largess and really, who can blame them? Several people have contacted me to seek more information about the photograph of the dress featured in that post and it is my pleasure to make that gown the star of its own tale, which I hope will entertain!
A Herbstrewer's Gown (Royal Pavilion, Museums and Libraries, Brighton)
A Herbstrewer's Gown (Royal Pavilion, Museums and Libraries, Brighton)

The coronation took place on 19th July 1821 and was a monumental undertaking. A cast of hundreds played their part and the start of festivities was a procession to Westminster Abbey, at the head of which walked Miss Fellowes, the King's herbwoman. Behind her followed six attendants, all of her selection and all of whom were around seventeen years old.

The six lucky young ladies were Miss Walker, Collier, Hill, Garth, Ramsbottom and Daniel and they walked two by two, each carrying their own basket of flowers. They scattered these as they walked, in a traditional ceremony intended to ward off plague and pestilence. 

The girls wore these gowns, made of cream silk gauze. Each also had an ornate ruffled collar, though these have since been lost. The hem and sash that decorate the gown might appear to be flowers but these are actually made of silk and cotton too, adding a very pretty adornment to the gown.

The Coronation Procession by George Scharf, 1821
The Coronation Procession by George Scharf, 1821

The procession must have been quite a sight to behold and one can only imagine the excitement of the young gentlewomen who were chosen to lead it; I am sure it was an experience they remembered all their days!

Life in the Georgian Court, true tales of 18th century royalty, is available at the links below.

Pen and Sword
Amazon UK
Amazon US
Book Depository (free worldwide shipping)


Sarah said...


Karen in Dakota said...

Lovely bit...thank you.

Catherine Curzon said...

Thank you!

Catherine Curzon said...

My pleasure!