Mrs. William Chinnery (1803)
Copyright held by Indiana University Art Museum
Thanks to Kevin J. Kelly for the color version
of this painting.
Mrs. Chinnery is wearing a long veil,
a common headdress in the Regency period. Veils, sometimes called "nun's
veils" evoked a sense of the Gothic, of Medieval Europe. Women dressed
to feel like the heroines of Gothic novels set in these "Romantic" wild
times of the past. This is an elaborately trimmed dress, likely an evening
gown. It is worn with a tucker to cover some of the breast area exposed
by the extremely low cut of the bodice.