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WALES, HRH PRINCE OF
Neg. No: GP (L) 1335
Neg. Size: 15"x12"
Neg. Date: 03-07-1897

copyright V&A

Sitter: King Edward VII (1841-1910), when Prince of Wales.

King Edward VII 1897 at the Devonshire House Ball by Lafayette, copyright V&A

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Biog: Reigned 1901-1910.Role: Grand Master of the Knights Hospitallers of Malta.

Date: 3 July 1897.

Occasion: The Devonshire House Ball, 2 July 1897.(1)

Location: Devonshire House, Piccadilly, London, W.

Descr: FL standing.

Costume:

"Pourpoint of black Epingle velvet, richly embroidered steel and black jet tiny beads, with passementarie of jet. Trunks formed of bands of black Epingle velvet embroidered steel over full bouillonne of steel grey silk. Mantle of black Sicilian silk with white cross of Malta. Haute de Chausse, black silk sword belt of black velvet with steel mountings. Sword, black scabbard, steel belt, with cross of Malta in white enamel. High turretted top boots. Crispin gloves, hat and feathers with diamond cross of Malta. Order-Ribbon of Order of Malta, with jewelled cross of Malta. Order of the Garter, with pale blue ribbon round neck. Ruff." (Description supplied by Alias, The Echo, 3 July 1897, p 1f).(2)

Costume Supplier: Alias, 36 Soho Square, London, W. .(3)

Orders, Decorations & Medals: Badge of a [Knight of Justice or Knight of Honour and Devotion] of The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta (Catholic).

Furniture & Props: Painted backdrop with 'baronial fireplace'; studio Persian rug.

This inset will give some idea of how widely details of The Devonshire House Ball were reported in the press. 

The similarity of costume descriptions in various newspapers and journals might suggest that guests and / or costumiers had sent out some form of press release with details of their costumes, as some of the detail given in these reports cannot have been written from a fleeting vision of the guests, and there are no reports of any members of the press being present at the ball itself.  However, The Echo gives a clue inasmuch as it states that "we are indebted [to Monsieur Alias] for the following details of some of the costumes worn by the more important personages."

The Constitution Atlanta, G.A. July 2nd 1897
The Prince of Wales, as Henry of Navarre [sic]

The Daily Chronicle, July 3rd 1897, p. 7, col. 7
The Prince of Wales, as Grand Master of the Knights Hospitallers of Malta, wore a doublet of black brocaded velvet, with the white crosss of the Order on the breast, and trunks of black satin slashed with grey. The sword handle, in the form of a cross, was jewelled, and the Order of St. John of Jerusalem was worn.

The Daily Graphic, July 3 p. 10, illus. 1
The Prince of Wales as grand Master of the Knights Hospitallers of Malta.
p. 13. col. 1
Under list of Alias designs.
Prince of Wales - Grand Master of the Knights Hospitallers of Malta.

The Daily News, July 3rd 1897, p. 5, col. 6
The Prince of Wales, as Grand Master of the Knights Hospitallers of Malta, wore a doublet and trunks of black Genoese velvet, the latter slashed with grey. On the left breat the Maltese Cross was embroidered in white satin, and his Royal Highness wore the Orders of Malta and the Garter. His narrow high hat was encircled by a jewelled chain, and bore the cross in front, with white plumes floating at the back, and he wore black velvet hose and high black turretted boots, St. Crispin gloves, and a velvet cape embroidered with this cross.

The Daily Telegraph, July 3rd 1897, p. 9, col. 7
The Prince of Wales as Grand Master of the Knights Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem and Chevalier of Malta, was attired in a rich dress of the Elizabethan period, carried out in black and silver. The doublet or pourpoint was of Genoese velvet, with silver woven in. The trunks were grey silk, with over-straps of velvet wrought with silver, the boots high turreted and of black leather, with large rowel spurs and spur-straps. The sword-belt was a mass of black velvet with steel mountings, and the mantle of black velvet had the White Cross of Malta on one shoulder. The hat was high, rather of the Spanish than the English style of that day. It was of black velvet and embroidered with jet, while at one side was a white plume of ostrich feathers. In front was a Maltese Cross in diamonds. The riband of the Order of the garter on a palaco riband, were worn. the Prince looked as if he had walked out of a splendid masterpiece by Velasquez.

The Echo, July 3rd 1897, p. 1, col. 6
To M. Alias, of Soho-Square, we are indebted for the following details of some of the costumes worn by the more important personages...
The Prince of Wales as Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller of Malta. (Elizabethan period). Pourpoint of black Epingle velvet, richly embroidered steel and black jet tiny beads, with passementarie of jet. Trunks formed of bands of black Epingle velvet embroidered steel over full bouillonne of steel grey silk. Mantle of black Sicilian silk with white cross of Malta. Haute de Chausse, black silk sword belt of black velvet with steel mountings. Sword, black scabbard, steel belt, with cross of Malta in white enamel. High turretted top boots. Crispin gloves, hat and feathers with diamond cross of Malta. Order-Ribbon of Order of Malta, with jewelled cross of Malta. Order of the Garter, with pale blue ribbon round neck. Ruff.

The Irish Times, July 3rd 1897, p. 8, col. 3
The Prince of Wales as Grand Master of the Knights Hospitallers of Malta, wore a doublet of black brocaded velvet, with the white cross of the Order on the breast, and trunks of black satin, slashed with grey, and there were high turreted black kid boots. The sword handle, in the form of a cross, was jewelled and the Order of St.Jude of Jerusalem was worn.

The Morning Post, July 3rd 1897, p.7, col.6
... the Prince of Wales in the costume of a Knight Hospitaller of Malta, a black velvet dress with a high crowned hat.
p 7e
The Prince of Wales - Knights Hospitaller of Malta. Black velvet, with large Maltese crosses of white satin worked on the cloak and brocaded doublet; trunks of velvet slashed with black satin; high crowned hat with large Maltese cross in diamonds in the front, white ostrich feathers at the back, and a silver chain round the crown; high boots to match.

New York Daily Tribune, July 3rd 1897, p. 7, col. 2
The Prince of Wales was dressed as a Knight Hospitaller of Malta, in black velvet, with Maltese crosses in white satin worked on his cloak, and a satin brocade doublet; velvet trunks slashed with black satin, a high-crowned hat with a large Maltese cross in diamonds in front and white ostrich plumes at the back. Around the hat was a silver chain. His Royal Highness wore the high boots which matched the costume.

The New York Herald, 3 July 1897, p 1e
The Prince of Wales was dressed as a Knight Hospitaller of Malta, in black velvet with Maltese crosses in white satin worked on his cloak, and a satin brocade doublet; velvet trunks, slashed with black satin; a high crowned hat, with a large Maltese cross in diamonds in front, and white ostrich plumes at the back. Around the hat was a silver chain. His Royal Highness wore the high boots which matched the costume.

Pall Mall Gazette, July 3rd 1897, p. 7, col. 2
The Prince of Wales as a Grand Master of the Knights Hospitallers of Malta, in the time of Elizabeth, had chosen a costume of black velvet slashed with steel-grey silk and embroidered with steel and jet, the white cross of Malta on his Mantle of black silk, and a black hat and feathers, with a diamond Maltese cross.

St. James's Gazette, 3 July 1897, p 8b
The Prince of Wales was noble habited as Grand Master of the Knights Hospitallers of Malta in the Elizabethan period wearing black velvet embroidered in steel and jet, the blue ribbon of the Garter around his neck.

The Standard, July 3rd 1897, p. 4, col. 1
His Royal Highness wore a very becoming costume - especially appropriate in view of the activity he always displayed in charitable works - the dress of a Grand Master of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem. The pourpoint was of black velvet, embroidered with rubies and beads of steel and jet. The trunks were of similar material, ornamented with steel. His sword belt also was of black velvet with steel mountings, while the shaft of the sword was a Maltese cross enamelled in white. Top boots, Crespin gloves, hat and feathers, and mantle of black Sicilian silk, with White Cross of Malta, completed the attire. His Royal Highness wore the diamond Cross of Malta, and the Orders of the Sartu and Malta.

The Times, 3 July 1897, p 12b
The Prince of Wales as Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller of Malta. (Elizabethan period). Pourpoint of black Epinglé velvet, richly embroidered steel and black jet tiny beads, with passementarie of jet. Trunks formed of bands of black Epinglé velvet embroidered steel over full bouillonné of steel grey silk. Mantle of black Sicilian silk with white cross of Malta. Haute de chausse, black silk sword belt of black velvet with steel mountings. Sword, black scabbard, steel belt, with cross of Malta in white enamel. High turretted top boots. Crispin gloves, hat and feathers with diamond cross of Malta. Order-Ribbon of Order of Malta, with jewelled cross of Malta. Order of the Garter, with pale blue ribbon round neck. Ruff.

The Washington Post, 3 July 1897, p 1b
The Prince of Wales was dressed as a Knight Hospitaller of Malta, in black velvet with Maltese crosses in white satin worked on his cloak, and a satin brocade doublet, velvet trunks slashed with black satin, a high crowned hat, with a large Maltese cross in diamonds in front and white ostrich plumes at the back. Around tha hat was a silver chain. He wore the high boots whcih matched the costume.

The Westminster Gazette, July 3rd 1897, p. 5, col. 1
The Prince of Wales looked a very genial and easy-going Grand Master of the Knight Hospitaller of Malta. The black dress, with touches of white, was distinguished, and made a good foil to the fairy-like dress of the Princess...

The Daily Graphic, July 5th 1897, p. 8, col. 1
The Prince of Wales as the Grand Master of the Knights Hospitallers of Malta, was in black velvet embroidered in jet and steel and slashed with grey silk. A white ruff, the blue ribbon of the Garter, and the Order of St. John of Jerusalem relieved the sombre character of the dress.

Truth, July 8th 1897, p. 108, col. 1
The Prince of Wales, as Grand Master of the Knights Hospitallers of Malta, in black velvet and white satin, led the Princess to the dais prepared for her, and the glittering processions began to file past, according to their historic period and date.
p 108b
Alias dressed the Prince of Wales.

Black and White, July 10th 1897, p.39, laf. pic. 1
The Prince of Wales as Grand Master of the Knights Hospitallers of Malta.
p.56, col. 1
The Prince of Wales was most elegant in black velvet embroidered in steel and a ruff. His costume was made by Alias,

The Clarion, 10 July 1897, p 1b
... the Prince in high turreted black kid boots, as a Knight of Malta;

The Court Circular, July 10th 1897, p. 624, col. 1
The Prince of Wales had chosen a very dignified and becoming dress, and looked exceedingly well in black velvet, slashed with grey satin and embroidered with steel and jet, as a Grand Master of the Knights Hospitallers of Malta.

The Court Journal, July 10th 1897, p. 1247, col. 2
The Prince of Wales, who assumed the character with great dignity, appeared as a Knight Hospitaller of Malta in black velvet with white satin Maltese crosses; the trunk and doublet brocaded with satin, 3 Maltese cross of diamonds, and a high-crowned hat.

The Gentlewoman, July 10th 1897, p. 57, col. 1
H.R.H. The Prince of Wales was very appropriately attired as Grand Master of the Knights Hospitallers of Malta (Elizabethan period), in a pourpoint of black epingle velvet, richly embroidered steel and black jet; trunks formed of bands of black epingle velvet, embroidered steel; mantle of black Sicilian silk, with white cross of Malta; high turreted top boots; crispin gloves, hat and feathers with diamond cross of Malta. Orders, ribbon of Order of Malta, with jewelled cross of Malta. Order of the Garter, with pale blue ribbon round neck and ruff.

Lady's Pictorial, July 10th 1897, p. 50, col. 2
The Prince of Wales chose admirably when he settled to represent the Grand Master of the Knights Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem and Chevalier of Malta. Truly picturesque and dignified looked His Royal Highness in his Elizabethan dress of black velvet embroidered in steel and jet as a doublet, trunks of grey silk slashes with black velvet straps wrought with steel; sword belt of steel embroidered velvet, the sword in a black velvet steel-mounted scabbard. His Royal Highness's black silk mantle had the white cross of Malta over one shoulder and the hat had a similar cross in diamonds in front, and was trimmed with white plumes. There were high black turreted boots and large spurs and spur straps and Crispin gloves; and then the Prince wore the real orders of St. John of Jerusalem, Malta, and the Garter.

The Queen, July 10th 1897, p. 65, illus. 1
The Prince of Wales, as Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller of Malta (Elizabethan period) - Pourpoint of black epingle velvet, richly embroidered steel and black jet tiny beads, with passementerie of jet; trunks formed of bands of black epingle velvet, embroidered steel over full bouillone of steel-grey silk; mantle of black Sicilian silk, with white cross of Malta; hauts de chasse, black silk; sword belt of black velvet with steel mountings; sword, black scabbard, steel belt with Cross of Malta in white enamel; high turreted top-boots; Crispin gloves, hat and feathers; with diamond cross of Malta; Order, ribbon of Order of Malta with jewelled cross of Malta; Order of the Garter, with pale blue ribbon round neck; ruff. Made by Alias, 36 Soho Street, W.
 

Registered photographer: James Stack Lauder (1853-1923), trading as 'J. Lafayette', 179 New Bond Street, London, W.

Evidence of photographer at work: Extensive retouching work on the negative to the legs.

No of poses: 1.

cabinet card, copyright V&A
Queen Alexandra 1893

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Provenance: Pinewood Studios; acquired 1989.

References:

Biog: Dictionary of National Biography; Hugh Montgomery-Massingberd ed., Burke's Royal Families of the World, Vol I, London, 1977, p 308-309.

Occasion: Sophia Murphy, The Duchess of Devonshire's Ball, London, 1984.

Role and Costume: The Daily Chronicle, 3 July 1897, p 7g; The Daily Graphic, 3 July 1897, p 10 [line drawing]; The Daily News, 3 July 1897, p 5a; The Daily Telegraph, 3 July 1897, p 9g; The Echo, 3 July 1897, p 2f; The Irish Times, 3 July 1897, p 8c; The Morning Post, 3 July 1897, p 7d; The New York Daily Tribune, 3 July 1897, p 7b; The New York Herald, 3 July 1897, p 1e; Pall Mall Gazette, 3 July 1897, p 7b; St. James's Gazette, 3 July 1897, p 8b; The Standard, 3 July 1897, p 4a; The Times, 3 July 1897, p 12b; The Washington Post, 3 July 1897, p 1b; The Westminster Gazette, 3 July 1897, p 5a; The Daily Graphic, 5 July 1897, p 8a; Truth, 8 July 1897, pp 107a & 108b; Black & White, 10 July 1897, p 56a; The Clarion, 10 July 1897, p 1b; The Court Circular, 10 July 1897, p 624a; The Court Journal, 10 July 1897, p 1247b; The Gentlewoman, 10 July 1897, pp 48 [line drawing] & 57a; Lady's Pictorial, 10 July 1897, pp 41 [line drawing] & 50b; The Queen, 10 July 1897, pp 65 [with line drawing].

Costume Supplier: The Daily Graphic, 3 July 1897, p 13a; The Echo, 3 July 1897, p 2f; The Morning Post, 3 July 1897, p 8b; Truth, 8 July 1897, p 108b; Black and White, 10 July 1897, p 56a; The Gentlewoman, 10 July 1897, p 57a; The Queen, 10 July 1897, p 65 & 76c; The Sketch, 14 July 1897, p 484b.  

Orders, Decorations & Medals: -

Photographer: Copyright Records, Public Record Office, Kew: Copy 1/431, 9 August 1897, (1 pose registered).

Reproduced: Black and White, 10 July 1897, p 39; The Sketch, 14 July 1897, p 487; The New York Times Illustrated Magazine, 25 July 1897, p 13; Devonshire House Fancy Dress Ball, July 2 1897: A Collection of Portraits in Costume of Some of the Guests, privately printed, 1899, p 4, (National Portrait Gallery Archives); Sara Stevenson and Helen Bennett, Van Dyck in Check Trousers: Fancy Dress in Art and Life 1700-1900, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, 1978, p 71.

1. The Lady, 12 August 1897, p 1 reported that the Prince of Wales gave permission for his costume to be copied for an autumn production at the Drury Lane Theatre.

2. The costume (or a copy) is still held by Angels Bermans, 40 Camden Street, London, NW1.

3. Kurt Friedrich Gänzl, The Encylopedia of the Musical Theatre, Blackwell, Oxford, 1994.

Vol 1, p 19

ALIAS, Charles (b France, 184-?; d London, 11 May 1921). The most famous name in British theatrical costumery in the second half of the 19th century.

The son of a French doctor, the young Alias fought alongside his father in the Franco-Prussian war where he is said to have lost the sight in one eye. He visited Britain and the Philharmonic Theatre, Islington, shortly afterwards as a dresser with the French dance troupe, Les Clodoches, and there he met and married Miss Price, the theatre's costumer. Although Alias had no experience in the theatre, he joined his wife in setting up the freelance firm of M et Mme Alias & Co, someties designing and manufacturing, or more often just making up from the designs of such artists as Wilhelm or Faustin, the costumes for an ever-extending series of musical shows.

The Aliases made their mark in the West End when theyprovided the costumes for the original London production of La Fille de Madame Angot (1873), and thereafter they costumes, either wholly or partly, many of London's most important musical productions including the burlesques at the Gaiety Theatre (The Bohemian G'yurl, Little Dr Faust, Gulliver, Il Sonnambulo, Pretty Esmeralda etc), the Royalty (Madcap, Pluto etc), and the Strand (The Lying Dutchman, L'Africaine, Nemesis, Loo, Antarctic, Champagne, The Baby, Intimidad), Gilbert's early Tospyturveydom and Princess Toto, Gilbert and Sullivan premières at the OPera Comique (The Pirates of Penzance) and the Savoy (Iolanthe), the vast spectaculars at the Alhambra (La Poule aux oeufs d'or etc) and, most noticeably, the long string of French opéras-bouffes and opéras-comiques which were produced in Britain in the 1870s and 1880s. These included the record-breaking Trouillat (La Belle Normande), Le Jour et la nuit (Manola), La Timbale d'argent (The Duke's Daughter), La Marjolaine, Les Prés St Gervais and most of the long string of adaptations from the French made by Alias's close friend Henry Farnie, and produced by Alexander Henderson.

Alias maintained a close connection with his homeland. His home at 48 Soho Square became well known as a first stopping place for Frenchmen new to London and a congenial gathering place for theatricals, and he as a useful and friendly intermediary in various theatrical dealings between London and Paris. Hervé, Planquette, Chassaigne, Audran and Lecocq were all guests at Soho Square and the little costumier was said to have been instrumental in the brothers Mansell bringing Hervé and his Chilpéric (1870) to London, and thus helping set off the craze for opéra-bouffe which dominated the 1870s musical theatre in England. He also encouraged Planquette to work with H B Farnie on an original musical for Britain - the result of which was the enduring Rip van Winkle.

Alias & Co prospered in the 1880s, having a major succss with their new costumes for the transferred version of the amazing Dorothy, and on into the 1890s by which stage they had become largely costume-makers rather than designers. Alias himself had by this time become one of the 'characters' of the London theatre, always anxiously asking 'What time de répétition générale?' as an opening approached, but always punctually ready with the show's costumes on dress-rehearsal night.

When Mme Alias died, Charles remarried and continued the business with his new wife, Mme Marie Wallet Floret from the Paris Opéra wardrobe, up to his death.