CDV: Woman in Plain Silk

Woman in Plain Silk, c. 1860

CDV: Woman in Plain Silk, c. 1860

Woman in Plain Silk, backmark

CDV: Woman in Plain Silk, backmark

Backmark: I. G. Owen Newton, N.J. “Negatives Preserved” Additional Copies from the plate from which this picture is taken can be had at any time if desired.

Date: c. 1860

Subject: Woman

Location: Newton, New Jersey

Note: This CDV is from the same photography establishment as Kate E. Perry.

Dress: One piece dress composed of bodice and attached skirt.  Most likely silk, with a hint of a woven figure on the chest, although it is difficult to tell if this is an actual jacquard from the photograph.  Numbers of original garments show that delicately figured, single-color silks were common in the early 1860s.

The bodice is darted and closes at center front with hidden hooks and eyes.  Her sleeves are modified pagoda.  Notice how short they are in relation to her wrist.  Sleeve lengths from this period range from over the wrist to nearly at the elbow (though the latter seems to have been mostly a result of remaking old dresses and not having enough fabric).

She wears a very narrow white collar, with the neckline of the dress peeking over, which indicates that the collar is probably just pinned on top of the bodice.  The front closes with a brooch.  She also appears to be wearing a plain belt without a clasp or buckle.

Her skirt is pleated into the bodice with narrow knife-pleats, facing towards center-front.  The skirt is worn over a cage crinoline, and is finished at the hem with a wool tape to prevent wear on the dress fabric.

Hair:  Her hair is center-parted, combed low over the ears, and pinned back into a coil at about the hairline level.  Her hair looks slightly old-fashioned; hairstyles with the greatest width over the ears and ending abruptly near the earlobe was popular in the 1850s.

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6 Responses to “CDV: Woman in Plain Silk”

  1. IG Owen also had a studio in Hackettstown, NJ. Do you have any examples of those photographs?

  2. Is the chair (used in both this and the photo of Kate E. Perry) really worn and torn? I find that odd.

    • What an excellent observation. I, too, find it odd. I will consult my period-photography friends.

    • 19th-c photography geek consensus: floral design. Blue photographed as white. Also, notice that there is a large white patch surrounding where the “arm” of the chair meets the fabric- worn fabric wouldn’t get worn that way.

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