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 earrings, 1899-1902 US (Old Salem, NC), the North Carolina Museum of History
EARRINGS, TEARDROPS OF WOVEN BROWN HAIR ATTACHED TO DECORATIVE VERMEIL TRIANGLE, ATTACHED IN TURN TO VERMEIL MEDALLION MOUNTED ON CIRCLE OF WOVEN HAIR; FRENCH HOOKS FOR PIERCED EARS.
HAIR JEWELRY AND ART WERE POPULAR FROM THE LATE 18TH UNTIL THE EARLY 20TH CENTURIES FOR COMMEMORATIVE, MEMORIAL (MOURNING), SENTIMENTAL, AND DECORATIVE PURPOSES. DURING THE MID-19TH CENTURY MANY WOMEN TOOK UP THE HOBBY OF MAKING HAIR JEWELRY AT HOME. EARRINGS OF THIS STYLE (TABLE-WORKED DANGLES) WERE PARTICULARLY POPULAR 1850-1870. THIS PIECE WAS MADE A LITTLE LATER THAN TYPICAL FOR THIS FORM.
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 band for George Washington, 1799 Boston, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston
Mourning band for George Washington (d. 12/14/1799), white ribbon with painted design of urn inscribed “GW” in wreath, edged with black silk and covered with black silk crepe
Written in ink of fabric label sewn to object: “Mourning Badge for George Washington. G.W. on urn. Probably worn by Wm. H. Sumner [1780-1861] 1799, son of Gov. [Increase] Sumner [1746-6/7/1799]”
Mourning dress with transforming bodice by Daubricourt, NY, ca 1905 New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Mourning dress by Amédée François, ca 1880 France, the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Mourning dress by Charlotte Duclos, ca 1910 France, the Metropolitan Museum of Art
I usually don’t like mourning dresses (you weren’t supposed to, anyway), but the beading pattern on this one is stunning.
The elaborate but subtle beading on this mourning dress would have shimmered when new. The asymmetry of the charmeuse panel is indicative of the high fashion of the period. An example of extremely chic mourning attire for the evening, it features an element of subtle exposure: the beaded underpanel hidden by the charmeuse would have been revealed with the movement of the wearer.