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[AC] Mead Art Museum at Amherst College; [HC] Hampshire College Art Gallery;
[HD] Historic Deerfield; [MH] Mount Holyoke College Art Museum; [MH SK] The Joseph Allen Skinner Museum at Mount Holyoke College; [SC] Smith College Museum of Art; [UM] University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMASS Amherst

 


Culture:American
Title:dress
Date Made:1870-1875
Type:Clothing
Materials:textile: brown or unbleached, plain weave linen; mother or pearl buttons; bleached (white) plain weave bodice lining
Place Made:textile: United States (possibly); garment: United States
Accession Number:  HD V.079L4
Credit Line:Gift of Mrs. William Kaynor, Jr.

Description:
Woman's two piece summer dress made from brown (undyed?) plain weave linen. The dress is minimally decorated, with a design interest primarily focused on the cut and fit of the garment. The basque style princess line bodice (so named because of the absence of a horizontal waist seam) secures down the center front with 9-10 mother of pearl buttons. The bodice is collarless. Many of the seams are piped. Both the cuffs of the long, straight sleeves and hem edge of bodice are edged in self fabric-pressed pleats. There is one horizontal dart on either side of the front. A small pocket, possibly for a watch, is worked into the dart on the proper left side. The bodice is lined in linen, but there is no boning. The unlined skirt (to be worn with a bustle and multiple petticoats) opens center back and features a low gathered bustle (sometimes referred to as a tournure, the French word for bustle), with corresponding ties inside to manipulate. Skirt material is tightly cartridge pleated into the waistband at the center back. The skirt hem is edged in the same self fabric pressed pleats as the bodice sleeve and hem. The dress is both hand sewn and machine stitched. The donor of the dress hailed from Longmeadow, Massachusetts, and it possible this dress came from that area of Hamden County. The fabric and absence of boning suggest this garment was a more casual one worn for summer, however the wearer would have worn a corded or boned corset underneath. The dress is an important example of a summer dress from the early 1870s, showing the silouette and construction of the period.

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