The Ninth Day of an 1862 Christmas…

On the ninth day of Christmas the 1862 Committee gave to me… nine Ladies Dancing

 

Bodice and Skirt, silk, 1862, Victoria and Albert Museum, T.2+A-1984 © V&A, 2013

Bodice and Skirt, silk, 1862, Victoria and Albert Museum, T.2+A-1984 © V&A, 2013

This bodice and skirt, made of jaquard-woven silk trimmed with satin and lined with glazed cotton, was donated to the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1984.  The dress was made in 1862 and it is said to have been worn by the donor’s grandmother to the 1862 International Exhibition.  Not only would the voluminous swathes of the dress’s material have hung heavy on the wearer, but the whalebone strips which give the garment its structure would have pinched and constrained its wearer’s body.  It therefore seems unlikely that any, let alone nine, ladies would have been in any fit state to dance at the 1862 International Exhibition.

© Helen Cresswell and Ruth Mason, 2013

 

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