"a black lace mantilla once worn by George Eliot"

A mantilla is a silk or lace scarf, worn over the head and shoulders. George Eliot can be seen wearing a black lace mantilla in a portrait by Sir Frederick Burton, painted in 1865, and again in a drawing by Lowes Cato Dickinson. The same mantilla now resides at Nuneaton Museum and Art Gallery, (you can see it here) and the portraits at the National Portrait Gallery in London.