Ghost
Wedding dress and matching cape, 1839 US (New Hampshire), the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Dress worn by Elizabeth Richards at her marriage to John S. Parmelee in Newport, New Hampshire, January 19, 1839. Wedding dress of light gray green figured silk having all-over small dot and powder of two different stylized blossoms; bodice fitted and boned coming to V at waistline at center front, hooked down center back, bodice front trimmed with folds of self material and row of self covered small buttons, V neck, leg-of-mutton sleeves with top fullness caught down by lines of piping and self covered buttons, skirt full all the way around with fullness in pleats in front and on sides, in gathers center back; (b) matching short round shoulder cape; bodice lined with unbleached heavy cotton twill; skirt faced with cream colored cotton, and cape lined with cream colored cotton.

Wedding dress and matching cape, 1839 US (New Hampshire), the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Dress worn by Elizabeth Richards at her marriage to John S. Parmelee in Newport, New Hampshire, January 19, 1839. Wedding dress of light gray green figured silk having all-over small dot and powder of two different stylized blossoms; bodice fitted and boned coming to V at waistline at center front, hooked down center back, bodice front trimmed with folds of self material and row of self covered small buttons, V neck, leg-of-mutton sleeves with top fullness caught down by lines of piping and self covered buttons, skirt full all the way around with fullness in pleats in front and on sides, in gathers center back; (b) matching short round shoulder cape; bodice lined with unbleached heavy cotton twill; skirt faced with cream colored cotton, and cape lined with cream colored cotton.

Going away dress and matching cape, 1838 US, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Newly wedded couples change into “going away” outfits before leaving their reception.  This tradition is fading in most places, but it’s still hanging on here in the South.

Dress (a) and matching cape (b) of grayish-olive-green silk with fancy-woven stripes with lines of white; fitted bodice, pointed in front; widely flaring neck; fullness across bust in unpressed pleats; long sleeves with fine pleats in upper part held in place by bias folds, full from just above elbow to above wrist, fullness pleated vertically to wrist; full skirt with loose pleats in front and gathered in back; short double cape (b) of same material with edges finished with bias folds of self material; both dress and cape fully lined with white cotton cloth; probably the going-away outfit of Harriet Maria Spelman, married to Estes Howe, August 20, 1838.

Going away dress and matching cape, 1838 US, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Newly wedded couples change into “going away” outfits before leaving their reception.  This tradition is fading in most places, but it’s still hanging on here in the South.

Dress (a) and matching cape (b) of grayish-olive-green silk with fancy-woven stripes with lines of white; fitted bodice, pointed in front; widely flaring neck; fullness across bust in unpressed pleats; long sleeves with fine pleats in upper part held in place by bias folds, full from just above elbow to above wrist, fullness pleated vertically to wrist; full skirt with loose pleats in front and gathered in back; short double cape (b) of same material with edges finished with bias folds of self material; both dress and cape fully lined with white cotton cloth; probably the going-away outfit of Harriet Maria Spelman, married to Estes Howe, August 20, 1838.

Evening dress, ca 1928 - Bust is 82-86cm/32-34in, about a size 4-8 UK/0-4 US.
(Below) Wedding or court presentation dress, ca 1922 - Bust is 92cm/36in, about a size 12 UK/8 US.
Click to go to the absentee bidding page.  This Kerry Taylor auction will end October 16th at 2:00 PM GMT (9:00 AM EST).  You will need to register to bid ahead of time.

Evening dress, ca 1928 - Bust is 82-86cm/32-34in, about a size 4-8 UK/0-4 US.

(Below) Wedding or court presentation dress, ca 1922 - Bust is 92cm/36in, about a size 12 UK/8 US.

Click to go to the absentee bidding page.  This Kerry Taylor auction will end October 16th at 2:00 PM GMT (9:00 AM EST).  You will need to register to bid ahead of time.

Wedding or court presentation dress, early 1930’s England - Bust is 81cm/32in, about a size 4 UK/0 US.
Below:
(Left) Evening dress, late 1930’s - Bust is 86cm/34in, about a size 8 UK/4 US.
(Right) Evening dress, ca 1940 - Measurements are the same as the other evening dress.
Click to go to the absentee bidding page.  This Kerry Taylor auction will end October 16th at 2:00 PM GMT (9:00 AM EST).  You will need to register to bid ahead of time.

Wedding or court presentation dress, early 1930’s England - Bust is 81cm/32in, about a size 4 UK/0 US.

Below:

(Left) Evening dress, late 1930’s - Bust is 86cm/34in, about a size 8 UK/4 US.

(Right) Evening dress, ca 1940 - Measurements are the same as the other evening dress.

Click to go to the absentee bidding page.  This Kerry Taylor auction will end October 16th at 2:00 PM GMT (9:00 AM EST).  You will need to register to bid ahead of time.

Satin wedding dress, ca 1845
Click to go to the absentee bidding page.  This Kerry Taylor auction will end October 16th at 10:30 AM GMT (5:30 AM EST).  You will need to register to bid ahead of time.

Satin wedding dress, ca 1845

Click to go to the absentee bidding page.  This Kerry Taylor auction will end October 16th at 10:30 AM GMT (5:30 AM EST).  You will need to register to bid ahead of time.

Hélène Fourment in Her Bridal Gown by Peter Paul Rubens, ca 1630 (Belgium?), Alte Pinakothek
Rubens married Hélène Fourment in 1630, four years after the death of his first wife.  Hélène was 16 and he was 53.

Hélène Fourment in Her Bridal Gown by Peter Paul Rubens, ca 1630 (Belgium?), Alte Pinakothek

Rubens married Hélène Fourment in 1630, four years after the death of his first wife.  Hélène was 16 and he was 53.

Wedding dress worn by Mary Peterson Wells, 1910-11 (worn in) the Philippines (Manila), FIDM Museum & Galleries


Wedding dresses usually follow the lines of contemporary fashionable dress. This wedding gown, with its high waist and slim silhouette, highlights the popularity of silhouettes inspired by ancient Greek and Roman dress. As described in a post featuring a c. 1912 tunic dress, this style emerged about 1908 and was a dramatic departure from the S-bend silhouette. Mary wore this wedding dress with a headpiece of wax orange blossoms and buds. Sweet-smelling orange blossoms have long been worn by brides, but their popularity was cemented in 1840, when Queen Victoria wore a crown of orange blossoms for her wedding. For those without access to fresh orange blossoms, wax blossoms were a popular alternative. In this photograph, Mary is pictured wearing her wedding gown, the orange blossom headpiece, an extended veil and long gloves.
Though we know that this gown was worn for a wedding in the Philippines, we don’t know where it was made. If made in the Philippines, its up-to-date style is testament to the rapid spread of fashion information to regions far from Paris, the center of high fashion. Alternately, the bride might have commissioned the gown in the United States before setting sail for Manila. Answering this question will take more time, as we haven’t completed our research on Mary Peterson Wells. We know that she was born in 1887, but not the location of her birth. Based on what we’ve discovered so far, she was probably related to James Jackson Peterson. Born in West Virginia in 1853, Peterson was appointed United States consul for Honduras in 1890. By the early 20th century, Peterson had moved to Manila where he received an appointment as official translator and sheriff for the City of Manila. The relationship between James Jackson Peterson and Mary Peterson Wells is still unclear.
The lace panels decorating the gown might have been a family heirloom, given to Mary for use on her wedding dress.

Wedding dress worn by Mary Peterson Wells, 1910-11 (worn in) the Philippines (Manila), FIDM Museum & Galleries

Wedding dresses usually follow the lines of contemporary fashionable dress. This wedding gown, with its high waist and slim silhouette, highlights the popularity of silhouettes inspired by ancient Greek and Roman dress. As described in a post featuring a c. 1912 tunic dress, this style emerged about 1908 and was a dramatic departure from the S-bend silhouette. Mary wore this wedding dress with a headpiece of wax orange blossoms and buds. Sweet-smelling orange blossoms have long been worn by brides, but their popularity was cemented in 1840, when Queen Victoria wore a crown of orange blossoms for her wedding. For those without access to fresh orange blossoms, wax blossoms were a popular alternative. In this photograph, Mary is pictured wearing her wedding gown, the orange blossom headpiece, an extended veil and long gloves.

Though we know that this gown was worn for a wedding in the Philippines, we don’t know where it was made. If made in the Philippines, its up-to-date style is testament to the rapid spread of fashion information to regions far from Paris, the center of high fashion. Alternately, the bride might have commissioned the gown in the United States before setting sail for Manila. Answering this question will take more time, as we haven’t completed our research on Mary Peterson Wells. We know that she was born in 1887, but not the location of her birth. Based on what we’ve discovered so far, she was probably related to James Jackson Peterson. Born in West Virginia in 1853, Peterson was appointed United States consul for Honduras in 1890. By the early 20th century, Peterson had moved to Manila where he received an appointment as official translator and sheriff for the City of Manila. The relationship between James Jackson Peterson and Mary Peterson Wells is still unclear.

The lace panels decorating the gown might have been a family heirloom, given to Mary for use on her wedding dress.

(Source: blog.fidmmuseum.org)

Bridesmaids’ dresses, May 1891 Canada, The Delineator (Canadian version)

Bridesmaids’ dresses, May 1891 Canada, The Delineator (Canadian version)

A “Fashion Gossip” column describing cutting edge Philadelphia fashions, Winter 1885-86 US (Philadelphia), Strawbridge and Clothier’s Quarterly
The wedding dress described on this page is here.
Continued from here:

[The] handsome wedding-costume shown in the full-page illustration has a robe front of pleatings of old Mechlin lace.  Over this front petticoat comes the full court-train of cream-white satin de Lyon, draped full and high on each hip, and falling in deep, heavy pleats in the back.  A pleating of lace is placed around the bottom of the waist, and a plastron of the same, ornaments the front.  Over the whole costume falls the veil of sheer Brussels net.  The veil is gathered on the crown of the head with a small cluster of orange blossoms.  The bridal bouquet is composed of nephetos-buds, intermingled with sprays of orange-blossoms, and adds to the general effect.
A popular floral decoration for weddings is a Japanese umbrella, made of white flowers, under which the bride and groom stand while receiving congratulations.  A wish-bone is another novel fancy; this is usually suspended in the doorway between two parlors.
A neat style of making a plush or velvet jacket is shown at Figure No. 3.  It is a model that will be found particularly becoming to slender figures.  The material is seal-brown plush; and is cut double-pointed in front, and is embroidered, vest-fashion, in shaded gold braid.  From the side-seams, simulating an outer short jacket, come two side revers.  The sleeves are fulled high on the shoulders, and are finished with an embroidered cuff.
Braids are very much used for trimmings, and there are several beautiful new varieties.  The Titan, is a mohair braid of neat design; and the Giant is a heavy braid that has the effect of pleating.  Threads of tinsel and bright colors are run lavishly through many of the more dressy braids.  Wool laces are very high in popularity, and they are very rich and durable trimmings.  The Angora wool-laces, trim some of the richest street costumes.  The net or piece Angora lace is used frequently as the entire front drapery.  It comes in all the desirable shades of drab, brown, gray, wine and blue.  In some of the new laces the designs are carried out in velvet and chenille, and from beneath the petals of the flowers hang pendants of cut beads.  A very effective order of lace has small rhinestones worked into the pattern, together with gold floss.
The pretty little Normandie cap and peasants’ waist, shown at Figure No. 4, are appropriate for a young girl’s fancy costume.  The waist is made of pale-blue cashmere; is trimmed with bias bands of cardinal velvet: and opens over a chemisette of fine white organdie, gathered full at the throat.  There are organdie puffs on each shoulder, slashed with cardinal velvet.  The coquettish cap is made also of blue cashmere, worked in sprays of shaded brown and cardinal leaves.  There is a tinsel border.
Contrary to rule, the street dresses for children this winter are winning the approbation of the philosopher; who, with astonishing amiability, heralds the return of a fashion that puts children into clothes that are at once comfortable and healthy.  True it is, the newest costumes for children are very happy combinations of the picturesque and the practical.  The Gretchen and the various Greenaway cuts are the styles most in favor.
To the left in the illustration given at Figure No. 5, is shown the Nitouche mantle; a very graceful street-wrap.  The deep front panels are formed of a jetted fabric very closely woven.  The remainder of…(continued in the next post)

"Greenaway cuts" refers to styles inspired by the children’s book illustrations of Kate Greenaway, whose storybook kids wore clothing inspired by the 1790’s and 1800’s.  Parents were drawn to these nostalgic images of a supposedly more innocent time, and dressed their kids in imitation with mob caps, high waisted pinafores and straw bonnets for girls and skeleton suits and smock-frocks for boys.  Being the arts and crafts-inspired company that it was at the time, Liberty of London’s line of children’s clothing featured "Greenaway cuts".
I’m not sure what “the Gretchen” refers to.

A “Fashion Gossip” column describing cutting edge Philadelphia fashions, Winter 1885-86 US (Philadelphia), Strawbridge and Clothier’s Quarterly

The wedding dress described on this page is here.

Continued from here:

[The] handsome wedding-costume shown in the full-page illustration has a robe front of pleatings of old Mechlin lace.  Over this front petticoat comes the full court-train of cream-white satin de Lyon, draped full and high on each hip, and falling in deep, heavy pleats in the back.  A pleating of lace is placed around the bottom of the waist, and a plastron of the same, ornaments the front.  Over the whole costume falls the veil of sheer Brussels net.  The veil is gathered on the crown of the head with a small cluster of orange blossoms.  The bridal bouquet is composed of nephetos-buds, intermingled with sprays of orange-blossoms, and adds to the general effect.

A popular floral decoration for weddings is a Japanese umbrella, made of white flowers, under which the bride and groom stand while receiving congratulations.  A wish-bone is another novel fancy; this is usually suspended in the doorway between two parlors.

A neat style of making a plush or velvet jacket is shown at Figure No. 3.  It is a model that will be found particularly becoming to slender figures.  The material is seal-brown plush; and is cut double-pointed in front, and is embroidered, vest-fashion, in shaded gold braid.  From the side-seams, simulating an outer short jacket, come two side revers.  The sleeves are fulled high on the shoulders, and are finished with an embroidered cuff.

Braids are very much used for trimmings, and there are several beautiful new varieties.  The Titan, is a mohair braid of neat design; and the Giant is a heavy braid that has the effect of pleating.  Threads of tinsel and bright colors are run lavishly through many of the more dressy braids.  Wool laces are very high in popularity, and they are very rich and durable trimmings.  The Angora wool-laces, trim some of the richest street costumes.  The net or piece Angora lace is used frequently as the entire front drapery.  It comes in all the desirable shades of drab, brown, gray, wine and blue.  In some of the new laces the designs are carried out in velvet and chenille, and from beneath the petals of the flowers hang pendants of cut beads.  A very effective order of lace has small rhinestones worked into the pattern, together with gold floss.

The pretty little Normandie cap and peasants’ waist, shown at Figure No. 4, are appropriate for a young girl’s fancy costume.  The waist is made of pale-blue cashmere; is trimmed with bias bands of cardinal velvet: and opens over a chemisette of fine white organdie, gathered full at the throat.  There are organdie puffs on each shoulder, slashed with cardinal velvet.  The coquettish cap is made also of blue cashmere, worked in sprays of shaded brown and cardinal leaves.  There is a tinsel border.

Contrary to rule, the street dresses for children this winter are winning the approbation of the philosopher; who, with astonishing amiability, heralds the return of a fashion that puts children into clothes that are at once comfortable and healthy.  True it is, the newest costumes for children are very happy combinations of the picturesque and the practical.  The Gretchen and the various Greenaway cuts are the styles most in favor.

To the left in the illustration given at Figure No. 5, is shown the Nitouche mantle; a very graceful street-wrap.  The deep front panels are formed of a jetted fabric very closely woven.  The remainder of…(continued in the next post)

"Greenaway cuts" refers to styles inspired by the children’s book illustrations of Kate Greenaway, whose storybook kids wore clothing inspired by the 1790’s and 1800’s.  Parents were drawn to these nostalgic images of a supposedly more innocent time, and dressed their kids in imitation with mob caps, high waisted pinafores and straw bonnets for girls and skeleton suits and smock-frocks for boys.  Being the arts and crafts-inspired company that it was at the time, Liberty of London’s line of children’s clothing featured "Greenaway cuts".

I’m not sure what “the Gretchen” refers to.

Wedding dress, Winter 1885-86 US (Philadelphia), Strawbridge and Clothier’s Quarterly
Described in the next post.

Wedding dress, Winter 1885-86 US (Philadelphia), Strawbridge and Clothier’s Quarterly

Described in the next post.

charlestonmuseum:

This lovely wedding dress was worn by Cornelia Milam who married Leslie Gladstone McCraw on June 15, 1928 in Sandy Springs, SC. The dress was made by Cornelia’s mother, Hattie Pickett Milam. It is cream silk chiffon with lace yoke and lovely lace ruffles around the skirt and overskirt. Short, in 1920s fashion, the hemline dips in the back. The stylish low waistline has shirring on the bodice and gathers on the skirt. It has a side opening on the left with snap closure. The bridal veil of tulle is very fragile and not shown, but her cluster of wax orange blossoms and buds still exists, as do her lace and orange blossom shoe ornaments.

The wonderful wedding party photographs allow a peek at the dress and the bride as they look in 1928.

These were given to the Museum in 2010 by Cornelia’s daughter, Ann McCraw Nelson.

June Brides… surprisingly, based on the collection at the Museum, in earlier years most weddings weren’t in June. Other months seem to have been more popular, at least until the 1920s.

TEXTILE TUESDAYS: Each Tuesday we post a piece from our textile collection.  Some items have been on exhibit, some will eventually be shown in our new Historic Textiles Gallery and some may be just too fragile to display. We hope you enjoy our selection each week – do let us know if there’s something in particular you’d like to see on TEXTILE TUESDAY! #TextileTuesday

 Orange Blossoms

Orange blossoms have long been associated with weddings and brides. Tracing back to the Greek and Roman gods, they were symbols of fertility, purity and loveliness. In Greek mythology, Gaea, the earth goddess of fertility, presented Hera with orange blossoms on the night she wed Zeus. Juno, the Roman goddess of marriage and guardian of women, was said to have received orange blossoms from Jupiter.

In ancient China, where orange trees grew in abundance, the flower was used in bridal arrangements and in wedding tea – as emblems of purity, chastity and innocence.

During the Crusades, both the custom and the plant were brought from the East to Spain, then to France, and on to England. These trees became popular in royal and secular gardens from the 16th century on. In Crete, the bride and bridegroom were sprinkled with orange flower water; in Sardinia, oranges were hung upon the horns of the oxen that pulled the nuptial carriage.

Perhaps the popularity of orange blossoms as bridal flowers relates to the fact that orange trees are evergreen and capable of blooming in all seasons, are very prolific, and they bloom even as they bear fruit.  Their heady aroma is mysterious and romantic. There were even orange groves here in Charleston.  18th century Charleston merchant and botanist, Robert Pringle, was successful with his large plantation of orange trees covering the area now bounded by Tradd, King, Broad and Logan Streets. The Orange Gardens only lasted about 20 years, but provided many delicious oranges and undoubtedly many orange blossoms for wedding bouquets. Pringle shipped gallons of orange juice along with bags of dried orange peel to London. In 1747-8 over a million oranges were exported from South Carolina.

Today’s Orange Street was cut by Alexander Petrie when he subdivided the area into lots in 1767 and is a reminder of those fragrant gardens.

Queen Victoria is sometimes credited with bringing this tradition to later brides. As queen, she could have chosen any number of priceless diamonds for her veil in 1840. She chose instead a wreath of orange blossoms to signal that she was marrying as a woman, not as a monarch. This romantic notion was quickly adopted by English, European, and American brides, remaining a tradition for many decades. Brides even before Victoria selected orange blossoms for their wedding attire. Miss Mary Hellen, when marrying President John Quincy Adams’ middle son, “looked very handsome in white satin, orange blossoms and pearls” for her White House wedding in 1828. Orange blossoms for weddings continued well into 1950s. Jacqueline Bouvier wore orange blossoms in her lace tiara for her 1953 marriage to John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

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