(photo of painting by Joseph Whiting Stock, 1840)
The majority of the baskets I have come across in person, or in images, have most undoubtedly been child size. The very first one I ever bought, is sized tiny for a doll, just 3" in width. Of coarse adult women also had these, tho tending to be on the younger side of life, than the latter, as you can see by the forth coming pictures as we touch on some of the unique shapes of these gorgeous baskets.
and the ones woven with an openwork band around the middle.
Its hard for me to know where to start on this subject, as there are so many~ I want to talk about them all at once! I guess starting with the most common would be easiest, and that is what I call, the pear shape. Of this pear shape, there are two basic varieties~ the solid woven,
This post has a lot of pictures attached to it, so I hope you will indeed wait for them to load~ they are all worth it, and I have used period images to illustrate the shapes as well~ it is really a gift to see them in picture, when they were new and in use, and to have some actual baskets to see how they weathered the years...there are definite weak points, which I will touch on in a bit.
Here is an ambrotype of a pretty little girl holding a solid woven pear shape purseDouble swing handles are most common on all baskets, where singles are used, they are placed directly in the center~ as is the case with this chubby cheeks holding her pear shape purse, of the style with the openwork band around the center
The next most common, is what I call the oval shape. Most all of these were made to have either a snap in or hinged lid. Often times the lids are missing, but one can still see the loops where they were attached to. For this variety, there is a type with rounded ends, being truly oval in shape,
and then there are some slightly angular, having eight straight sides
I love this next daguerreotype, as not only is she holding an octagonal shape purse, the sitter is an older woman.
Fancy weaves are common in this shape as well~ this next one is one of my favorites
This next shape is unique for the outer rib that runs horizontally across the center of the basket.
Here is a comparison of the adult basket, to the more common child/youth size. The big basket on the left had been handed down in its original family before it came ot me~ the written provenance states : " Lunch was carried to Church in this basket by Frances Whitman Tillotson, b. 1794" .