The Fashions of the Day, or Time Past and Present (1740-1807)
“The Fashions of the Day, or Time Past and Present” is an 1807 caricature engraved by Charles Williams after a drawing by Woodward. It presents a contrast between “The Year 1740: A Lady's full dress of Bombazeen (i.e. bombazine or bombasine, a heavy corded fabric) and “The year 1807: A Lady's undress of Bum-be-seen.”
As is to be expected of a caricature, the artist does not really draw a fair comparison between the styles of 1740 and 1807. He presents the image of a fashionable, young Regency lady and compares it to a pastiche of 18th century fashion styles; namely those of a composed, middle-aged, pre-Regency lady (who is perhaps also in mourning). Other features of mid-18th century dress such as tight stiff stays with extremely low necklines, for example, are not depicted, as this would obviously not suit the artist's caricature.