Late Victorian Fancy Dress: The Devonshire House Ball in 1897

The Devonshire House Costume Ball of 1897 was one of the most anticipated social events of 1897. To stress the importance of th magnificent affair, the London Photographic Firm Lafayette was invited to take studio-style photographs of the guests in their costumes, which ranged from mythical goddesses, figures from paintings, and historical kings and queens.

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The Duke of York, later King George V (1865-1936), as “The Queen’s Champion” and the Duchess of York, later Queen Mary (1867-1953)  as “a Lady at the Court of Marguerite de Valois” at the Devonshire House Fancy Dress Ball, 1897 via

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Frances Evelyn (Daisy), the countess of Warwick, chose Marie Antoinette as her costume for the elegant and highly anticipated evening. The costume, made by Worth of Paris, was studded with real diamonds and used both gold and antique lace via

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Lady Randolph Churchill (1854-1921), née Jennie Jerome in a Worth Parisian Costume, as Empress Theodora, while attending the Devonshire House Ball, 1897 via

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Consuelo Marlborough (née Vanderbilt), dressed for the Devonshire House Ball, 1897 via

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Mary Teresa (‘Daisy’) (Cornwallis-West), Princess of Pless dressed as Queen of Sheba for the Devonshire House Ball via

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Miss Goelet as Scheherazade via

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The ethereal beauty of Mrs J Graham Menzies in the role of Titania, Queen of the Fairies via

Wonderful Portrait of Queen Mary of Teck Prior to Royal Wedding (1893)

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Portrait of Queen Mary (1867–1953) when Princess Victoria Mary of Teck, sitting prior to wedding, 6 July 1893. The Diamond rivière necklace was a gift from King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra in memory of the Duke of Clarence, 27 February, 1892. Photo by James Lafayette via

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Portrait of Queen Mary (1867–1953) when Princess Victoria Mary of Teck, sitting prior to wedding, 6 July 1893. The Diamond rivière necklace was a gift from King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra in memory of the Duke of Clarence, 27 February, 1892. Photo by James Lafayette via