Sunday, September 30, 2007


Welcome Fall!
Fall has arrived in all its glory here at the Museum! Above you can see a sampling of some of my favorite adult bonnets displayed on my sideboard, 'Olde English'. from left to right, starting with the bonnet atop 2 c1840 & 50 hat boxes.....is a lady's cream silk velvet hat with blonde lace streamers, referred to as a 'Eugenie' style. It is the same era, early 1870's, as the plum silk visiting gown you will see later. Next, are two early 1820s leghorn poke bonnets with gorgeous watered silk ribbon chin ties(all bonnets in this photo have original trims). The term "Poke Bonnet" was loosely used in the 19th century for a great many decades~ depending on the year you were in, determined how deep the bonnet's brim. In nearly all circumstances, tho, if viewed from the side, the face of the wearer could not be seen. Moving on to the 4th bonnet, this is really a nice example of a 'fanchon'. This type bonnet became popular directly after the Civil War and into the early 1870s. It was worn towards the back of the head. It looks beaded from afar, but up close, as you can see below, it is made from rows of little balls..........
And on even closer inspection, you will realize that this entire bonnet is handmade of straw that has been twisted, contorted and arranged very neatly~ even the little balls are made of folded straw. A true masterpiece of design and handiwork. This bonnet would have been extremely expensive in its day~ definitely owned by a very well to do woman of Society.
Next bonnet after this, a wonderful c1834 leghorn Poke, then next a black velvet hat, my earliest, c1800-10, with label. Up on the last stand is a late 18teens gold silk poke, again with makers label, and a white lady's day cap last. One of these, in different styles, of coarse, would have been worn under each of these bonnets, so the wears hair would never come in contact with the bonnet itself.
I have just 3 gowns in this vignette, an 1850 black silk day gown, to the left, a lavender silk day gown, c1865, and on the right, spectacular c1872 plum silk & velvet visiting gown. This was worn by my Lady in her parlour to receive guests....never worn outside.

This black silk taffeta gown is one of my favorites, because the bodice is quite special~ its a maternity bodice. On either side of the front, there are lacing side gussets so the wearer could expand the fit as her tummy grew. These are extremely rare! There is a very misguided rumor that women did nothing but stay indoors through out their pregnancy~ when actually, just the opposite is true. They continued on about their daily business right up until the last few weeks, then entering into confinement.


Ladye here, is holding a period c1850 openwork basket purse on her arm. I specialize in these little purses, sooo precious and sooo fragile. We have over 100 examples here. The above purse is nearly identical in weave to the one held in the daguerreotype below

Did you ever wonder what women were wearing during the battles of our Great Civil War? Below is a day dress, c1865~ just beautiful lavender tissue silk trimmed in sea foam green bias satin strips, cloth buttons and AWESOME chenille & pearl fringe
There is not a machine stitch on any of these gowns
How I would have loved to been in the store where this trim was purchased~ it may have been brought by boat across the Atlantic from France.




9 comments:

Barbara said...

If you didn't know what they had to wear UNDER these gorgeous gowns, it would almost make you want to go back in time to reside!!
I LOVE your display and Old English!
LY, Mom

oldflowers4me said...

hello dear 1- that trim is sweet devine- the way you wrote the words are very dreamy- (boat across the Atlantic from France..)singing and skipping love jo anderson. la la la

Suzanne said...

Oh what beautiful gowns and bonnets! I'd love to visit the museum someday!

Hallowed Hill Primitives said...

Rachael..........what a wonderful collection. I really would love to see all the basket purses..........

Barb

Hallowed Hill Primitives said...

I would love to see EVERYTHING!!! in person! Especially you! We miss you Rachael. Come and visit. Sarah

Lana said...

Wow Rachael! I think you'd better plan for company if Suzanne, Barb, Sarah and I come for a visit! Your collections are breathtaking.

Little ol* Me said...

Oh Rachael, what a beautiful display .. those gowns are simply exquisite! Gosh, the V&A have absolutely nothing on you hon! ;)

Count me in for a visit too .. I'd love to see everything in your collection!

All my best,
Justine

PS: Talking about the V&A, I visited there a couple of weeks back and they’ve added some fabulous Regency gowns & British/French court dress to their fashion throughout the age's collection .. I'll send you a couple of pics when I get the chance ;)

Lorraine said...

So beautiful, Rachael!! You have the best postings!!

CARole said...

Just found your blog and love it. What beautiful collections. Hannah is lovely too.
Carole