FOR A FANCY DRESS BALL

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On the 5th May, 1788, the Prince of Wales ordered from Louis Bazalgette some rather comical items of fancy dress. [The above extract from the account can be read if you use “Click to view large”.]  I haven’t yet found out what occasion these were to be used for, but it must have been for a fancy dress ball, or masquerade, as it would have been called.

The items consisted of:

To a dove colour stuff masquerade (Countrymans) dress coat & breeches & silk plaid waistcoat, the wais(coa)’t stuffed & all materials
P(ai)d. for a wigg
A mask
A pair stockings
To an old womans dress jacquet and petticoat & all materials
To a scarlet cloke
A wigg
A large silk hat – 21/- silk gloves &c.
A pair stockings
A mask – 6/- and a stick – 4/6
To 2 chimney sweepers dresses with masks stockings shovells brooms & all materials compleat at £6 each 

A silk mask for a Domino (A domino was a hooded venetian cloak worn over the costume at a masquerade).

We can only imagine who wore the fat ‘countryman’s’ costume, the old woman’s dress and the sweeps’ outfits, but it was presumably the Prince and some of his cronies.  Perhaps it was for some sort of elaborate prank.  Louis must have thought it unusual for a tailor to be asked to supply shovels and brooms.

Any theories about where and when these were used would be welcome!

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