Favorite decades: 1910's, 1800's, 1870's
Favorite artists: Anthony van Dyck, Giovanni Boldini, Henry Fuseli, Thomas Lawrence
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Half-mourning dress, 1855-65 (ca 1860-63?), the North Carolina Museum of History
TWO-PIECE HAND-SEWN, BLACK SILK DRESS, FITTED, LINED, BONED BODICE, PLAIN ROUND NECKLINE, EIGHT PURPLE/BLACK SQUARE DECORATIVE BUTTONS ABOVE HOOK AND EYE CLOSURE AT CENTER FRONT, DROPPED SHOULDER, PURPLE PIPING, SHAPED SLEEVES W/PURPLE CUFFS, LACE BASTED ON CUFF EDGES; UNLINED, BELL-SHAPED, BOX PLEATED SKIRT W/WIDE PURPLE BAND AT HEMLINE (TOP OF BAND IS SINUOUS AND FINISHED W/TWISTED CORDING), LOWER EDGE OF HEM FINISHED W/URPLE WOOL BRAID, SLIGHT TRAIN, UNLINED EXCEPT FOR GLAZED BROWN COTTON AT HEM, PAIRS OF NARROW, BRAIDED TIES AT INSIDE SEAMLINES NEAR HEM, HOOK AND EYE ON WAISTBAND.
Mourning evening slippers by Melnotte, 1845-65 France, the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Tiny black slippers were de rigueur in the fashionable mid-Victorian lady’s wardrobe. Black shoes were felt to go with anything, hence the most versatile and dependable choice of footwear to have on hand. Slippers of this type are most commonly found in satin, so the faille fabric of this unworn pair is unusual. It is possible that the shoes were intended for mourning, when a dull-surfaced fabric was desired. The interesting label of the London vendor - written largely in French, noting the firm as exclusive agent, and mentioning the added stock of Parisian gloves, perfumes, and novelties - demonstrates the importance of imported French shoes and accessories in the contemporary market.
Mourning ensemble, ca 1870 US, the Metropolitan Museum of Art
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. Mourning clothing tended to follow the fashionable silhouette of the period, much like this exquisitely finished full mourning dress. This dress shows typical high style 1870s touches such as asymmetry, the bustle back and decorative hem details. The refined details are worked in black crinkled crepe, a common textile used for mourning attire, which indicates that the owner may have had the garment produced for a special occasion.
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.
Bonnet, 1860’s US, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
A bonnet of white satin trimmed with blue silk grosgrain piping ribbons and fringe ruching, small artificial rose buds and white silk lace around face. Worn by Luciana Foster, born August 19, 1841, who married Frank Tripp, October 16, 1861. Cf.: 46.1015, wedding dress.
Bonnet, ca 1867 Boston, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
A small bonnet of white straw, designed to be worn on top of head, trimmed with lilac velvet folds and matching small artificial blossoms arranged in three bunches, lilac taffeta broad ribbon ties; lined with china silk and glazed book muslin, on china silk a gold printed label: “Mrs. B. E. Hastings, MODE., 13 Hayward Place”; an inked note found in bottom of box reading April 1867, Mrs. L. S. Dabney’s (?).
Half bonnet of green velvet, ca 1870 US, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
A half bonnet of green velvet, front edge with point in center, covered with gathered matching velvet, rosette bow of green satin ribbon on top, two sets of ties, one green satin, one green velvet.
Calash or hood, mid-19th century France (worn in Boston), the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Woman’s brown padded calash with light blue lining; brown double ruffle around face; light blue taffeta ties; padded curtain at back; ribs possibly made from wood
Taffeta mourning dress, mid-1860’s
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