CDV: Woman in Silk with Watch

Woman in Silk with Watch, c. 1860

CDV: Woman in Silk with Watch, c. 1860

Backmark: None

Date: c. 1860

Subject: Seated Woman

Location:Unknown

Dress: This dress is probably made of silk taffeta, one of the most popular fabrics for dresses in the early 1860s. The bodice is darted and opens in front, as nearly all dresses of the time do (for women. Girls’ dresses open in back). The sleeve is a version of the “modified pagoda,” as it is known to modern costume historians. A wavy edge winds its way from the front of the shoulder to the wrist. There may be a series of pleats at the top of the cuff, which serves to gives the sleeve a attractive upward curve. The skirt is gathered or gauged, and trimmed with a deep box-pleated flounce of self-fabric. The only other trim on the dress is ribbon or braid on the sleeve.

Accessories: She wears a flat, white collar about 1.25″ in width. A necktie made of ribbon is penned at her throat. Her pocketwatch is suspended from a chain around her neck and tucked into a ribbon belt. Her undersleeves are fitted at the wrist, with a narrow ruffle over the hand and gathered fullness in the arm. The undersleeves close with visible buttons (or, the buttons may be decorative, and the undersleeves may close with a hook and eye. She wears a lot of jewelry, including three visible rings, dangling earrings, and what appears to be a thin, dark necklace at the base of her neck (or this may be a looping of the watch chain)

Hair: Center parted and combed down to form a slope across the sides of her forehead and smoothly behind her ears. Bound in back in a coil, and covered with a decorated hairnet.

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