Scenes at a Very Sunny Ascot

Ascot lawns: in the shade of the treesA Perfect Ascot Week

It is not often in England that we are favoured with such a week of glorious weather as we were favoured with for Ascot, and the attendance and the frocks, therefore, at the famous meeting were, of course, even greater and more noticeable than usual. I must confess I enjoyed Ascot, or rather Ascot week, immensely. The garden-party meeting is such a splendid excuse for delightful house – parties, which necessitate a whole week’s absence from London. There is so little strain on one to know which horse is going to win, for at Ascot, of course, everyone knows that the favourite is a certainty (except when there are Bachelor’s Buttons and the like knocking out such national favourites as Pretty Polly), and, altogether, Ascot is such a thing of beauty that it seems just a little more of a joy each year.

Noticeable Gowns

Most of the dresses, not embroidered with flowers which put Nature to shame, were inset, or incrusted, or whatever they call it, with lovely Irish lace, and judging by the quantity of this latter to be seen, I should think Ireland ought to be making a pretty penny by its manufacture. Gorgeous geranium pinks and emerald greens contrasted with the French gowns of black lace and smoke-grey worn by some of the most elegantly dressed women, while the white linens and muslins worn on the previous days were conspicuous by their absence. The King was looking simply full of health and spirits every day—and how lively and well he is looking.

Fashion at Ascot: The Brilliant Scene on Gold Cup DayThe Blots on the Picture

The men, of course, as usual, had the distinction of throwing up, by their sombre attire, the fairy-like garb of the women. Few followed the King’s example by indulging in a while or grey high hat, and so they just suffered in dark frock coats and high hats, sustained only by the thought of their heroism, and borrowing sometimes the tiny fans which all the women carried. On Thursday, there was, to everyone’s relief, very little sun, though this did not deter the feminine portion from proving to the world that they had with them the very latest cry in petal-like sunshades, or Lord Rosebery from clinging to his blue glasses. So far as I could make out, there were no girls present on Cup Day! At last, only a stray one here and there, and even these were so submerged, as it were, by the flaunting magnificence of their married sisters, that they were scarcely noticeable. Most of the women, beautiful and elegant and exquisitely turned out as they were, looked what one might call experienced, and certainly none of the shy gaucherie of youth was to the fore. All the clubs, of course, dispensed hospitality right and left, the Ladies’ Army and Navy being not the least among them.

The Bystander, June 27, 1906


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8 replies on “Scenes at a Very Sunny Ascot”
  1. says: Danielle

    […] this did not deter […] Lord Rosebery from clinging to his blue glasses.

    I am curious: did he have an eye/vision problem or was he a trendsetter?

  2. says: ree

    4 years later…King Edward VII is dead…and Society sees a “Black Ascot”…ladies in full mourning dress…this would be a great scene in a Merchant/Ivory type film…

      1. says: ree

        The race scene from MFL is one of my favorite cinema classics…Those marvelous gowns designed by the late,great Cecil Beaton…Brilliant!!!

      1. says: Evangeline

        Hi Danielle! They weren’t sunglasses (which, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary, was first printed in 1917), but the lenses were blue to protect the eyes from the sun.

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