Image: Woman with Glasses

Posted in 1900s, young women with tags , , , , on April 5, 2010 by Alinka Lesbianka

Woman with glasses

Backmark: None

Date: c. 1900

Subject: Portrait bust of a woman

Location: Unknown

Dress:  Her clothing is barely visible, but I see a hint of texture around her collarbone area that looks like it could be embroidery.  Something like eyelet, perhaps.  Her high standing collar is probably supported inside with tiny bones of whalebone or zig-zagged wire.

Accessories:  There is a tiny brooch at her throat.  Unusually, she is wearing glasses.  I don’t know if the dearth of images of women wearing glasses is because few women wore them or because most took them off for their photograph.  But these are adorable- wire rimmed and oval shaped.

Hair:  Her hair is center parted and probably combed over a pad of some kind.  Her hair has a somewhat awkward shape, but picture it with one of the magnificent hats of the period and you will understand the reason for it.

Cabinet Card: Girl in First Communion dress

Posted in 1900s, cabinet cards, girls, Special Occasion with tags , , , , , , , , on April 4, 2010 by Alinka Lesbianka

Girl in First Communion dress

Backmark:  None.  Front reads “Conrad Magnus Photo Artist Hoboken N.J.”

Date: c. 1900

Subject: Seated Girl, full length

Location: Hoboken, N.J.

Note: This is another period that I don’t know much about; ditto for first communion clothes.  Feel free to help me out!

Dress:  She wears a light dotted dress, it could be a silk or cotton.  It is semi-sheer, and the dots may be printed in another light color.  The skirt is ruched around her hips, and cut in a slight trumpet shape.  The hem is accentuated with a tuck about 2″ in depth.  If she were standing, the skirt would probably reach to her lower calf.

The bodice has a yoke that is pleated.  Many dresses from this period had tucked (sewn-down pleats) yokes, but this one does not appear to have sewn pleats.  The bodice is full at her front ribcage, which is characteristic of this period.  There is a faux-berthe lace collar that spreads over her shoulders and helps give a smooth line to the fullness in the front bodice.  The short standing collar is sheer and edged in lace.  A woman’s collar from this period would have reached all the way to the top of the neck and been supported by small bones.

Note the hint of a bow at the nape of her neck.

The sleeves are full, ending in a band just below her elbow.  There is lace tacked to the band, a sartorial remnant of the washable, detachable cuffs that women had been wearing for most of the 19th century.

Accessories: she wears long, white gloves with pin-tucks at the back of the hand.  Note the bracelet worn over her left glove.  There is also a tiny brooch at her throat.

Hair: Her hair is pulled up into a fashionable top-knot and finished with a ribbon and flowers.  The flowers are probably specific to the occasion (her first communion?  I am bad at judging ages.  Maybe her confirmation.)

Cabinet Card: Boy with curls

Posted in cabinet cards, men with tags , , , , , on April 3, 2010 by Alinka Lesbianka

Boy with curls

Boy with curls, backmark

Backmark: L. T. White Photographic Art Studio 105 Fourth Ave., Bet. 11th & 12th Sts., NEW YORK.  Duplicates can be had at any time.

Date: Late 19th c.

Subject: Portrait bust of a boy

Location: New York, NY

Note: I don’t know much of anything about boy’s/men’s wear for this period, so I’m not going to write anything.  If a visitor to the site wants to fill me in, please do!

Cabinet Card: 1870s Amelia van Strandres

Posted in 1870s, CDV, jewelry, women with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 2, 2010 by Alinka Lesbianka

Amelia van Strandes, 1870s

Amelia van Strandes, backmark Backmark: Houston  307 King Street S.C.  [handwritten: “Amelia Vans——-”]

Date: c. 1870s

Subject: Portrait of a woman

Location:  Houston, S.C. [Note: There is a Houston in North Carolina, about 8 miles from the South Carolina border.  I wonder if the boundary has changed since the 1870s?]

Dress:  Silk, probably a solid-colored taffeta.  There is a decorative square inset at the front neck of the bodice.  I am not sure, but I think it is probably just piping basted onto the bodice to give the illusion of being a separate piece.  The mid-height standing collar is a darker color from the bodice.  Perhaps velvet?

She wears a heavily pleated white collar inside the dress collar, and a bow tacked or pinned at the neck.  A black lace fichu or necktie is pinned over everything.

Jewelry: She wears hooked earrings, rather large and probably metal.  There is a chain looped around her neck.  I’m not sure if it is a necklace or a fob.

Hair: This style is really magnificent and undoubtedly required extra hair.  The rolls on top are probably fake (real human hair, but purchased in the pre-rolled form), as is the mass of hair just visible in a coil behind the bow.  I suspect that the long curls are real.

I don’t know much about this period, I’m afraid.  If you can make any corrections, please do.

Cabinet Card: Young Woman from Brooklyn, 1890s

Posted in 1890s, cabinet cards, young women with tags , , , , , , on July 21, 2009 by Alinka Lesbianka

Girl from Brooklyn, 1890s

Cabinet Card: Young Woman from Brooklyn, 1890s

Backmark: None (Front reads “Ehm Artist 708 & 710 Broadway, Brooklyn, N.Y.)

Date: c. 1892-1896

Subject: Portrait Bust of a Young Woman

Location: Brooklyn, N.Y.

Dress: This is a beautiful example of the popular dress style c. 1895.  The dress is made of a light figured cotton or silk printed with floral sprays.  The sleeves are very full, with the fullness extending past the elbows.  The sleeves may be held out with separate sleeves filled with down or shaped by whalebones, or they may be puffed with pleatings of crinoline.   The extra-wide collar of eyelet embroidery extends to the end of the shoulder point and is typical of the mid 1890s.

The bodice is drawn tightly into a waistband at the true waistline and covered with a wide ribbon belt.  This bodice shape is particular to the early-to-mid 1890s.

Ribbon bows draw attention to the shoulders and the center-front neck.

Hair: This young woman still wears her hair in an adolescent style; slightly curled at the sides and center-parted as was typical of an adult style, but drawn back into a low ponytail tied with a ribbon.  Adult women would have confined their hair in a bun at the back of the head.

Cabinet Card: Nellie, 1896

Posted in 1890s, cabinet cards, women with tags , , , , , on May 10, 2009 by Alinka Lesbianka

Nellie, 1896

Nellie, 1896, backmark Backmark: [in pencil: For Alice- With love from Coz. Nellie. Easter, 1896."] In ink: ” Miss Nellie Lemon daughter of James Lemon a brother of Jos Lemon 2?? Cousin of F A Lemon 2” Alice May Lemon

Date: 1896

Subject: Portrait bust of a woman

Location: Unknown

Nellie wears the enormous leg’o’mutton (gigot) sleeves worn between 1893-19897. Her top may be an example of the newly popular shirtwaist, which was one of the first mass-produced items of daywear available to middle-class women. Shirtwaists were loose-fitting, usually washable, and looked fresh and stylish when paired with contrasting funnel-shaped skirts.

She may also be wearing a two-piece dress consisting of a matching bodice and skirt, linked together at the waist with a few sets of hooks and eyes.

Her huge puffed sleeves would have been supported from the inside with tie-on puffs of buckram, horsehair, down-filled pillows, or cages stiffened with wire or whalebone.

The piece of black lace encircling her neck may have been machine-made and purchased from a department store or catalogue, or she may have spent countless hours making it herself. I can’t tell what the long, dark strip down the center front of her bodice is, but my best guess is that it is a piece of ribbon.

Jewelry: Nellie’s only visible jewelry is a brooch pinned at her throat, which completes the visual focus on her face. It also probably serves to hold the lace in place on the bodice.

Hair: Nellie’s hair is held loosely up in a high twist, and is probably secured by several hairpins and a decorative comb. Notice the clean, soft look of her hair, and how different it is from the slick, shiny styles of earlier decades. Although frequent hair-washing would not become the norm until the 1960s, indoor plumbing made washing one’s hair once a week a possibility.

Tintype: c. 1870, young woman in sheer dress

Posted in 1870s, jewelry, Sheer Dresses, Side-parted hair, Tintypes, young women with tags , , , , , on April 5, 2009 by Alinka Lesbianka

Tintype of girl in sheer dress, c. 1870

Backmark: None

Date: c. 1870

Subject: Seated young woman

Location: Unknown

Note: I’m really not sure about the date of this tintype. This style of ruched bodice was especially popular from around 1865 through the early 70s, and the dropped armscye suggests a date closer to 1865, but loose hair is an 1870s fad, as far as I know. I’d appreciate any leads on comparanda to date this better.

Dress: This young woman wears a sheer dress over an opaque underdress. The bodice is shirred over tiny cords, and appears to be only on a yoke, ending at about bust level. The sleeves are long and full, coming from a dropped armscye and ending in a ruffle at the cuff. There appears to be decorative piping (tubes of fabric applied to the surface, not filled with cord) at the front yoke, armsyce, and cuffs. The jewel neckline of the dress is finished with a dark lace frill and a bow with flowers of some sort- possibly wax buds.

The underdress is probably entirely separate from the outer dress, and made of silk taffeta. I have seen several extant examples of this kind of dress, but never in any color but white. The ensemble she wears may be black, or another color that photographed dark, such as red. All of the extant dresses I have seen have been plain white organdy, but because this one is colored it may be silk.

Her skirt is not visible, but based on originals I have seen it probably consists of a skirt with a small train, and an overskirt which has been gathered up to form a polonaise, bustling out at the back.  She would wear a cage crinoline with a small bustle pad in back

Jewelry: She wears a black choker pinned at the throat with a metal brooch.

Hair: Her hair is worn faddishly loose and side-parted. To the contemporary viewer, she probably would have looked rakish in the free-spirited way that young women often do. When worn by women, the side-part had for decades prior carried an association with radical ideas and masculine bravura. Loose curls, likewise, signified a free spirit, compared to the tight, slicked-back buns that were worn since the late 1830s.

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