She soon believed herself to penetrate Mrs. Elton’s thoughts, and understand why she was, like herself, in happy spirits; it was being in Miss Fairfax’s confidence, and fancying herself acquainted with what was still a secret to other people. Emma saw symptoms of it immediately in the expression of her face; and while paying her own compliments to Mrs. Bates, and appearing to attend to the good old lady’s replies, she saw her with a sort of anxious parade of mystery fold up a letter which she had apparently been reading aloud to Miss Fairfax, and return it into the purple and gold reticule by her side …
Emma, Chapter 16
Reticules became popular when pockets were no longer sewn into the slim delicate dresses and skirts so common during the Regency era. These small handmade bags, frequently beaded or tasseled, came in a variety of shapes and are made of silk, velvets, handmade lace, or knitted fabrics. Most fashion plates of the Regency Era show ladies attired in walking costumes carrying a reticule similar to the one on top, circa 1800-1824 (Victoria and Albert Museum). These fashionable accessories were used from the late 18th Century through the flapper era in the early 20th Century.
Read my previous post on the reticule here, and find more examples of the Reticule in the following links:
- Please Don’t Ridicule My Reticule discusses the history of the purse, including the reticule.Click here.
- Make your own reticule: Jane Austen Magazine(See image below)
- Jane Austen Centre: Reticule Order a pretty silk reticule from the Jane Austen Centre.