Tuesday, January 8, 2013

1870's Red Bodice

From the selller:

I am pleased to offer an extremely rare original Victorian Red silk taffeta bodice that was worn in a brothel. Boned corset with pretty gathering at neckline, shoulders and forearms, tapering into lace at the wrist and a round red taffeta rose! Hook and eye closure goes all the way down the back. Lined with boning and another hook and eye closure at the waist underneath. It has a bustle where a red bow or sash would have been.
Laying flat, it measures: 15” shoulders, 13” chest, 18” long with 21" bustle, about 20” sleeves.

Unfortunately the blouse fibers are breaking down due to age and should mainly be used for display! Shipping will include insurance and a well-padded box to prevent any further breakage. Note, item sold as is! If you need other photos or description, please ask. I am afraid to handle this any more than I have to due to its fragile nature.

I also have a red jeweled celluloid hair comb that was obtained from the same family. The story is that these belonged to a relative who worked in a brothel as a prostitute while Wisconsin was still a territory. When bad fortune befell her, they took her in and these items have stayed within their family. The hair comb will be listed separately.

Even in its condition, this is an awesome piece of history to own. I had always wanted to frame both the blouse and haircomb together in an airtight frame, but now we don't have the room on our wall, so I am parting with them. Hopefully, someone will treasure them too!

From Me:

.... I'm pretty sure the lady that wore this beautiful bright red bodice would blush at such a suggestion as a brothel!

Based upon the material and the decorative elements, I doubt a lady of ill repute owned this unless she was far too of a high class lady of the night - who also probably wouldn't have set foot in a brothel.

The bodice sleeves and overall shape suggest an 1870's date. Despite it's overall shattered condition, it's still quite lovely.


  1. Just FYI, these pictures are massive. :)

    As for the seller's commentary - yikes! I think the lady in question would be furious, not just blushing! If "bad fortune befell her," she would have sold the dress. The secondhand clothing market was huge, and it's not like a lady in reduced circumstances would get much use out of a fancy dress.

    Too bad for all this, because all the self-fabric trim is exquisite.

    1. Thank you so much for telling me. I think I've corrected the issue.

      Yeah...a lady would have sold every single item she had before even considering such an occupation. She most definitely would not have kept such a luxury item as this bodice.

    2. Sure. :) I thought you mentioned you couldn't actually check them when you posted.