Thursday, 5 June 2014

Late 1820s Early 1830s Wrapper

Sometimes you just get really, really lucky. When I saw this on ebay, and read that the seller thought that is was late Victorian, I looked at the sleeves and shape of the wrapper and thought ''I think that's more like the 1830s..''. When I received it I did a yelp for joy as I saw the Dorset Blandford buttons and the shape of it close up. To photograph it I have popped it on over a corded petticoat to give it some shape.

Late 1820s Early 1830s Wrapper
It is in incredible condition. It can't have been worn very much at all as there is not a single antique repair. There are a couple of holes and one or two tiny marks, but that's it. The buttons are also in superb condition. Quite remarkable. Over the last couple of months I have been going through my stash of antique items. Many I have put up on my Etsy Shop but there are a handful which I will not part with. This is one of them. I also have one Regency era bed jacket and a Regency nightgown which I treasure. But this is hands down my most exciting find.

Yesterday I was looking in my books for some reference to a similar item. I was just about to give up when I came across this one tucked away:-

'The Rise and Fall of the Sleeve 1825-1840' Naomi Tarrant - Royal Scottish Museum Studies. 1983
This short book is super. It is mainly a catalogue of the items from this period in the collections of the Charles Stewart and Royal Scottish Museum.  This costume collection was once to be found here at the National Museum of Scotland. But I notice the announcement at the top of the web page which states that this is no longer open to the public. I do hope that the collection has been moved to a new home.

Towards the back of the book, where nightclothes are discussed, I was delighted to find a description and photograph of a wrapper, which is very similar to mine here.
''Fine white cotton open down centre front. Large collar. Large gigot sleeves trimmed with white narrow cotton braid and embroidered white cotton frills in satin, eyelet and button hole stitches.''
CB length 142 cm
About 1830-5

There is also a short paragraph about wrappers a couple of pages back which reads:-
 ''Dressing gowns or wrappers were made of cotton, linen or flannel...Surviving examples tend to be suitable for wearing inside bedrooms or boudoirs over underwear but before putting on a dress and they could be worn as negligees for comfort when the corset was not worn.''
It would make sense to me to also put one on over your dress and whilst you are doing your hair, so a very useful thing to have to hand.

Now to take a closer look at my wrapper.
It is made from a light to medium weight twilled cotton, with a finer cotton used for all those fabulous frills everywhere. There is also a ruching effect in between the body of the wrapper and the frills. This photo shows the fabric texture:-

There is a Blandford Dorset button at each wrist. There are two wide pelerine style collars, a pair of ties at the neckline, and there is a drawstring casing which pulls in the gathers at the high waist area at the rear and ties at in the front.

Rear of  Early 19th Century Wrapper
Blandford Dorset Button on Sleeve of 1820/30s Wrapper
CB to hem 54'' / 137 cm 
Hem Circumference 115'' / 292 cm
Length of Sleeve from shoulder gathers to hem of ruffle 32'' / 81 cm

I have come across this very similar example, and using the close-up tool, it appears to be made with a very similar fabric-

The Met Museum - Peignoir 1821-3 British
This is a much slimmer version of mine, owing to the style of fashions of the earlier date.

I am wondering what this fabric was named. I will try to find out a bit more. Time to very carefully pack this gorgeous thing away. Sigh. I could sit and look at it all day.
with love,