Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Two 1880's Bustle Gowns

From the owner:

I bought both dresses from the US - the grey one has a Sothebys label inside. I tried to trace its history and got as far as someone saying they thought it may have come from the collection at Castle Howard, but i don't have any evidence for this.

Sorry, my internal shots for the brown one are on my old phone which i can't find. I don't want to start mucking about with her again, the skirt lining is shot and disintegrates easily.

Both are mid to late 1880s , i think, you may be able to educate me. The brown one looks a lot like a lot of the dresses you get in cabinet photos of the period.

The grey one is silk and lace, with red velvet at the neck and cuffs. I think the lace may have been white to start with. Waist is 24, bust is 36 - not sure where i measure the length from? Love the tiny pleats on the elbows, i think her movements were pretty limited! The dress is all one piece, the bodice attaches to the back skirt panel. Inside is a small self fabric pad which sits on top of the bustle for a more pronounced shape. I love the complexity!

Brown one is silk faille, lace and what looks like velvet - although now it looks a bit like wet dog.....I think she's been through the wars. The velvet bands i think have been re attached at some point, hence the wonkiness. One was just pinned on so i straightened it up, otherwise i don't want to start unpicking things. On the bustle area there are loose stitches where i think it will have been tacked up, which would level out the hem. I think this was a walking dress which wouldn't have been dragging on the ground. Ive sort of tucked it up how i think it might have looked. The lapels are uneven too, but i can't see any signs of alteration.

Anyway, i'm obsessed and could waffle on for hours - hope this is ok. It feels a bit selfish keeping them too myself, so its good to share!

From Me:

This is what I originally envisioned when I started this blog on Tumblr *years* ago - that people could send in pictures of items they had in their personal collection with their own stories of the objects. I love both of these mid 1880s dresses and thank you so much Simon for sending them to me. I know others will love to see them as well.


  1. Drool, drool! These are gorgeous dresses! I so adore the bustle styles.

    Thank you for sharing!