Favorite decades: 1910's, 1800's, 1870's
Favorite artists: Anthony van Dyck, Giovanni Boldini, Henry Fuseli, Thomas Lawrence
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Mourning coat by House of Worth, 1907 Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Jean-Philippe Worth began as an assistant to his father, Charles Frederick Worth, in 1875. Gradually he was allowed to create his own designs and when his father died in 1895, he became the lead designer for the house. He was praised for making elaborate artistic gowns with intricate trimmings on unique textiles, much like his father had before him. Although the House of Worth was still favored by royalty and celebrities through the turn of the century, their styles were no longer the forefront of French fashion after 1900. Around 1910 Jean-Philippe limited his design work to important orders and hired his nephew, Jean-Charles Worth, as the new lead designer before leaving the company entirely after World War I.
The House of Worth, alongside other couturiers of the time, would produce mourning attire upon request for its regular customers. Mourning was an important feature through the Edwardian period as it had been for the previous half century. Black mourning dress reached its peak during the reign of Queen Victoria (1819-1901) of the United Kingdom in the second half of the 19th century. Queen Victoria wore mourning from the death of her husband, Prince Albert (1819-1861), until her own death. With these standards in place, it was considered a social requisite to don black from anywhere between three months to two and a half years while grieving for a loved one or monarch. The stringent social custom existed for all classes and was available at all price points. Those who could not afford the change of dress often altered and dyed their regular garments black. The amount of black to be worn was dictated by several different phases of mourning; full mourning ensembles were solid black while half mourning allowed the wearer to add a small amount of white or purple. Haute couture mourning garments, such as this one, are rare but show the importance of mourning in every echelon of society. The heavy fringe and lace appliqué create an interesting texture on the plain black bengaline, which was commonly used for mourning attire.
Mourning ensemble by L Monney, 1907 US, the Museum at FIT
Black silk crape-anglaise, silk chiffon, wood
Mourning parasol, 1895-1900 US, the Metropolitan Museum of Art
A beautiful as well as large parasol, it is decidedly for mourning. This fact is evidenced by the hidden mourning crepe found in the middle layer between the taffeta and the densely ruched mousseline de soie. The handle is also extremely refined.
Mourning poke bonnet, ca 1840 US, the Metropolitan Museum of Art
The style of the poke bonnet manifests the demure and modest style that followed the young Queen Victoria’s accession to the throne in 1838. This severe all-black example was probably worn for mourning, a long-standing custom that the Queen elevated to a social institution, especially after the death of her beloved husband, Prince Albert.
Half-mourning dress by W G Jay & Co, 1883-84 London, Manchester Art Gallery
Half-mourning dress (?) Pale grey satin trimmed with black figured and black corded silk and white net. Two piece.
Bodice lined with cream twilled silk. Low square-cut neck. Fastening at centre front with embroidered buttons. Neck trimmed with band and double frill of net. Sleeves shaped to wrist, trimmed with frill of net. Separate skirt lined with stiffened cotton, fastening left back. Hem cut in triangles. Train at back. Lace muslin frill. Tapes and ties at back to form bustle.
Mourning hat by Henri Bendel, ca 1915 US, the Metropolitan Museum of Art
This beautiful and stylish mourning hat from the World War I era was purchased from Henri Bendel, an important maker and importer of luxury goods. Its clean lines and elegant swath of scarf retain their sense of chic today. The single large buckle trim, a popular feature at time, has the weight and presence necessary to stand up to the severe color scheme and contrasting textures. Despite the timeless beauty of its design, this hat would have had a very limited wearability: the fabric of the scarf, a variety of crimped black crepe called “mourning crepe”, was used exclusively for mourning.
Summer by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1875, private collection
It feels like summer (or spring, I guess) here in Charlotte…It was 73 today but it was in the 20’s on Friday so people are feeling lousy due to the dramatic change in the weather.
I’m actually not entirely sure either. It would have to be half-mourning if she is in fact in mourning.
Can anyone answer this? The source wasn’t very specific.
(To clarify, this is the carte-de-visite that’s being referred to.)
Cabinet photograph by Evelyn & James, 1885 Wandsworth (London), Manchester Art Gallery
Full length portrait of a seated woman in mourning dress. Plain interior backdrop with a table to the left with a fur throw and a black dog. The woman wears her hair in a chignon with a brimless straw hat with a velvet band and bow. She is wearing a black wool and crepe dress with a fitted bodice with centre front buttons extending to a point and full length fitted sleeves with crepe cuffs. The bodice of her dress is made up of crepe with a bolero style front and a high standing collar. She has a bustle and her skirt is made up of crepe inserts and black silk.
Written on reverse in pencil “Mary Le Neve Foster / 1885 - or 1886 / In Mourning dress for her mother”
Carte-de-visite photograph by Maull & Co, 1864 London, Manchester Art Gallery
Full length studio portrait of a woman in mourning sitting beside a table. She is wearing a day dress, skirt has an embroidered pattern set at regular intervals, patterned band runs around skirt just below the knee, large lace net hem with scalloped edging, bodice has similar patterned band across the shoulders and bust, upper part of the bodice is quilted with vertical strips, patterned band also runs down the trumpet sleeves, white undersleeves, white lace collar, she has a black lace shawl over one arm. Drawing room backdrop with drape.
EDIT: I don’t think this woman is in mourning. Not really sure where that information is coming from.
Carte-de-visite photograph by Maull & Polyblank, 1861 London, Manchester Art Museum
Full length studio portrait of a woman in mourning sitting on a chair in front of a desk. She is wearing a black watered silk dress, skirt hem has a patterned band at the hem, with matching patterned band along sleeve edge and down front on the bodice, trumpet sleeves. Bodice is similar to a zouave jacket. Widow’s cap. Plain background with drape.