Archive for December, 2008

Photograph: Woman with Sword Pin, c. 1895

Posted in 1890s, cabinet cards, women with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 27, 2008 by Alinka Lesbianka
Woman with Sword Pin, c. 1895

Photograph: Woman with Sword Pin, c. 1895

Backmark: None

Date:. c. 1895

Subject: Woman Seated

Location: Unknown

Note: This looks like a photograph of a Cabinet Card.

Dress: This woman wears a two-piece dress with large leg-o’-mutton sleeves. The bodice is fitted over a corset with tucks radiating up from CF/waist. The bodice closes at center front with hooks and eyes. The sleeves are typical of the mid 1890s. They may be supported inside with horsehair fabric or pleated buckram lining the sleeve, or a separate set of sleeve cages or pillows.

An enormous eyelet collar fans out from her neck and over the sleeves. The dress is finished with a high standing collar, bows at the shoulder, and trim at the waist made of velvet. A tiny sword pin pierces the front of the collar.

Hair: She wears her hair swept back, with small curls framing her forehead. A small comb holds the sides of her hair back, she probably has a matching one on the other side of her head.

The hat is typical of the 1890s. It rests directly on top of the head and level, and adds height with bows and feathers. Feather use in clothing and accessories reached a peak in the 1880s and 1890s. Entire birds (and other small animals) adorned hats and became fans. The straight, spiky plumes in this woman’s hat may be from one of any number of exotic birds, but are probably egret.

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CDV: Large Woman in Silk Dress, c. 1860-62

Posted in 1860s, Brooches, CDV, Silk Dresses, women with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 26, 2008 by Alinka Lesbianka
Large Woman in Silk Dress, c. 1860-62

CDV: Large Woman in Silk Dress, c. 1860-62

Large Woman in Silk Dress, backmark

CDV: Large Woman in Silk Dress, backmark

Backmark: “P. Rosenaker, Photographer, No. 51 Third Avenue, N.Y.

Date: c. 1860-62

Subject: Woman Standing

Location: New York, NY

Dress: One piece, attached bodice and skirt with “pagoda” style sleeves. Silk, plain weave. Opens up center front with concealed hooks and eyes. Bodice is dart-fitted; darts are very high and from the slight puckers at bust level, it appears that they let out (i.e. are not sewn to the tip of the dart) The bodice is poorly fitted, note the horizontal wrinkles caused by being too long and too narrow for her corseted torso.

Sleeves are trimmed with ribbon or ruching along the cuff and up to the armscye. Decorative buttons up front placket.

The skirt is attached to the bodice with knife pleats (possibly gathers, it is not clear). The skirt ends about 4-6″ from the floor in front and is bound at the hem with wool braid. Note how narrow the skirt is in relation to the cage crinoline supporting it.

Her collar is about 3″ wide, which indicates an earlier date (1850s) but she may simply have been out of fashion. Her hair is in a style typical of the early 1860s. She also wears undersleeves and a brooch at center front/neck and earrings.

Hair: Center parted, combed down behind her ears. Bound rather low on the nape of her neck in a coil.

CDV: Young Woman with Rolled Hair, c. 1862-64

Posted in 1860s, Brooches, CDV, Great Hair, Stripes, young women with tags , , , , , , on December 24, 2008 by Alinka Lesbianka
Young Woman with Rolled Hair, c. 1862-64

CDV: Young Woman with Rolled Hair, c. 1862-64

Young Woman with Rolled Hair, backmark

CDV: Young Woman with Rolled Hair, backmark

Backmark: “D.K. Jewell Artist, Augusta, Me.”

Date: c. 1862-64

Subject: Portrait of a Young Woman

Location: Augusta, Maine

Dress: Fabric is striped and barred (dark vertical stripe, thin light “bars”, or widowpane) may be wool, cotton, silk, or a mix.

The piping at the neckline is visible. Most, if not all, round (jewel) necklines were piped in this period.

She wears a short standing white collar and a brooch at center front/neck. Decorative buttons down center front are just barely visible.

Hair: The three-quarter pose allows us to see a wonderful hairstyle. Center parted and oiled (note the comb lines just below her part); the front hair is combed away from the face over a wide “rat,” making the width extend from just above her temples t o the nape of her neck.

The front hair continues in a thick roll (no doubt augmented by a rat or false hair) across her neck, with the ends integrated into the back coil or tucked beneath is.

Her back hair is combed into a low-lying coil. Note the prominent levels(coils sticking out, with the last coil being the farthest out); this is typical of back coils from the 1840s through the middle of the 1860s. The back hair was typically held in place with a comb, usually ornamental as well as functional. Unfortunately, her comb is not visible. She may also be using hairpins to help hold everything in place.

CDV: Woman in Fan-front Dress, c. 1860

Posted in 1860s, CDV, women with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 24, 2008 by Alinka Lesbianka
Woman in Fan-front Dress, c. 1860

CDV: Woman in Fan-front Dress, c. 1860

Backmark: None

Date: c. 1860

Subject: Woman

Location: Unknown

Dress: One-piece dressed composed of bodice with attached skirt; fabric is probably wool, plain weave and solid color; fan-front bodice (“Y-bodice”) with pleats at shoulder; “bishop” or gathered sleeve into a cuff, pleats at armscye; knife-pleated skirt.

This woman is unusual for a few reasons. The fan-front bodice went out of style before CDVs were invented (1858), and she does not appear to be wearing a cage crinoline. There are a few explanations possible: 1) The CDV is very old (c. 1858)- supported by her style of dress. 2) She wears outdated styles, is perhaps marginalized by location, age, status 3) She is a Quaker or a member of a similar religious group- supported by her plain clothing and simple hairstyle. I don’t know enough about Quakers to be sure, can anyone help with this? Her flat, narrow collar, which was stylish in the early to mid 1860s, supports #3.

Fan front bodices were usually gathered or gauged at the waist; some were tucked, though tucks were more typical of earlier styles of the fan-front (1820s-40s). The pleats at the shoulder was a feature dating back decades.

She does not appear to be wearing a crinoline. Although it is impossible to be sure, especially without seeing the hem, the bulge at her hips looks more like the abrupt fullness of several petticoats and a pad than the smooth curve of a cage.

The dark velvet ribbon tied around her neck may be a watch fob. I guess this by how it is pulled taut and to the left. Watch pockets were usually small, horizontal pockets sewn into the waist of the skirt.

Hair: Her hair is center parted and combed behind her ears. There is none of the side fullness typical of the period. Her hair is probably bound up in a simple bun at the back.

Blog: The Cabinet Card Gallery

Posted in cabinet cards with tags on December 19, 2008 by Alinka Lesbianka

I’ll just share this great blog today, The Cabinet Card Gallery.

The blogger has a question about this girl’s outfit. What is she wearing? I’m not very familiar with this era, or children’s clothes, but it looks to me like a fancy-dress costume in a vaguely 18th c. riding style.

Happy holidays! I’m gone for the rest of the year, so tah till 2009.

Cabinet Card: Woman with Poufed Fringe, 1880s

Posted in 1880s, 1890s, cabinet cards, jewelry, women with tags , on December 19, 2008 by Alinka Lesbianka
Woman with Poufed Fringe, 1880s

Cabinet Card: Woman with Poufed Fringe, 1880s-90s

Woman with Poufed Fringe, backmark

Cabinet Card: Woman with Poufed Fringe, backmark

Backmark: “.Whitbeck. Successor to Forshew.  Photographer. Hudson, N.Y.  Duplicates may be procured at any time”

Date: c. 1880s- early 90’s

Subject: Bust of a Woman

Location: Hudson, N.Y.

This woman’s bodice is made from three materials (at least).  The body and sleeves are plain colored wool, the lapels are velvet, and the false waist in the center is a lightweight striped silk.

Bodices from this period often opened up center front with buttons or hooks and eyes, and the false waist hooked over it to conceal the opening.

Her sleeves are slightly puffed, which was in style during the late 1880s and early 1890s.  Could we see her skirt, it would probably be asymmetrically-draped, cylindrical in shape, with a small bustle.

She wears a tight bead necklace high on her throat, a pin of some sort at the front of her bodice neck, and small earrings.

Hair:  Her hair is pulled back tightly into a bun at the nape of her neck.  She wears her bangs short and puffed, a style which was popular throughout the 1880s and into the 1890s.

Cabinet Card: Woman, 1860s

Posted in 1860s, Brooches, CDV, Great Hair, Silk Dresses, watches, women with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 18, 2008 by Alinka Lesbianka
Woman, 1860s

Cabinet Card: Woman, 1860s

Woman, 1860s, Backmark

Cabinet Card: Woman, 1860s, Backmark

Backmark: “S. Piper, 864 Elm St., Manchester, N.H.”

Date: Original image c. 1860

Subject: Woman

Location: Manchester, N.H.

Note: The style of dress in this photo predates the invention of the Cabinet Card, so I believe that this is a reprint of an older photograph.

Dress: This woman wears a one-piece dress, attached skirt and bodice, of silk.  The fabric appears to be solid-coloured.  Her bodice is darted fitted, opens up center front with concealed hooks and eyes, and decorated with a row of ornamental buttons

Her sleeves, while not completely out of style in the late 1850s and early 1860s, were certainly unusual for the time.  They are probably made in two parts- the top section sewn onto a tight lower section.  I am not aware of a specific name for this cut of sleeve, either period or modern.  Gigot or leg’o’mutton always seemed to me to most accurately describe the one-piece sleeves that are puffed at the top and narrow at the cuff (after all, a leg of lamb is in one piece!).  At first glance this woman’s sleeve resembles the gigot, but I think the shape is different enough that it deserves another name.

Her full skirt is worn over a wide hoop or cage crinoline.  The skirt is knife-pleated into the waist, with the pleats facing towards center front.  Her skirt is trimmed in several horizontal bands.  I can’t tell exactly what the trimming is, but a good possibility is that it is rows of self-fabric ruched up the center to from two puffs, and outlined top and bottom with velvet ribbon.

She wears a watch fob suspended from her belt- the watch is tucked into a small, vertical watch-pocket.  The majority of watch-pockets that I have seen on original garments are horizontal and on the left side of the dress (PL), but vertical pockets do show up occasionally.

Her dress is finished with narrow, flat white collar, pinned at the throat with a brooch.

Hair:  Instead of trying to tame naturally curly hair into the smooth hairstyles popular during the mid-victorian period, many curly-headed women preferred to wear them in controlled ringlets.  We would call them “banana curls.”  This woman conforms to the style of the period by center-parting her hair, oiling it, and setting it into uniform ringlets.