'Do you know, I saw the prettiest hat you can imagine, in a shop window in Milsom Street just now - very like yours, only with coquelicot ribbons instead of green; I quite longed for it.' Isabella, Northanger AbbeyI've been reading Susannah Carson's collection of essays on Jane Austen and some of the selected letters. I've been fascinated with all the detail about fabrics and dress-making. In a letter to Cassandra dated 1798, Austen describes a hat she is customising and her intentions to replace the black feather with a coquelicot one 'and besides coquelicot is to be all the fashion this winter.'
Coquelicot was one of the fashionable Regency colours - a bright orange-red like a poppy. I love the fact that Austen was interested in clothes and fashion and I've learned that persian was used to line dresses, sarsenet is a fine soft silk and cambric is a white linen. Who knew?!