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Miniature painting, probably 1815-1820. Private collection.

The best things turn up when I’m looking for something else entirely. First came the miniature, now in a private collection, with the lovely carnelian or coral jewelry and the bright yellow dress. I’ve got some yellow cotton with a red and black print pattern in the cupboard, so this dress seemed within reach.

And then, while looking for something else, I found the right fabric! Not that I can buy it, mind you. It’s already owned and in use, in a gown at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. And not that I haven’t spent some quality time searching the interwebs for similar fabric, which can be found if you look hard enough. Fortunately, better sense prevailed and no cupboard will burst with an additional five yards of block printed silk.

Woman’s Day Dress, English, ca. 1820. Yellow silk brocade exported from India. Philadelphia Museum of Art. 1996-164-1a,b

Still, the fun bit is finding two such similar thoughts, one in paint and one in cloth, without even looking. that means there are more bright yellow Federal or Regency gowns out there. All it will take is the looking.