Lately I'm researching my newest acquisitions, so I'm postponing some entries on infant layettes until I'm in the mood. See, the thing about being a collector is that the having of things is less of a thrill than the hunt for said things, so the baby gowns I've got are older news. Don't get me wrong, I get jazzed about owning the stuff, too, but there's just something about not knowing if there will be a nice little surprise in the next booth at the antique mall. Finding a bargain gives me a shot of adrenaline that makes me feel all happy-buzzy. And the high is that much more exciting when you know that the seller didn't know what they had, and therefore didn't price it accordingly.
As a case in point, I found this purple silk thing labeled "bonnet?" on a recent antique trip with a friend. The seller wasn't quite sure what it was, but it was roughly the size of an adult head, so they made a guess. I'd be inclined to buy that (actually, I did buy it, but you know what I mean), except that I would have expected a 19th-century silk bonnet to be lined, and I've never seen one with a hole at the back- especially a hole defined by a shiny brown linen band with a button closure. So "bonnet" just didn't seem right.
I had seen a similar linen tape as a waistband with a button closure on a mid-19th century petticoat in my collection, so my brain went to "skirt". It was so tiny though that if I was right, then it had to be for a doll. Sure enough when I set it down with the waistband up, it made a perfect miniature 1870-ish skirt that reminded me of an amazing purplish gown in the V&A's collection. Mystery solved!
The band on the purple thing (top) looked like the waist on a
mid-19th-century quilted silk petticoat (bottom).
The Victoria & Albert Museum has the most
amazing costume collection, including this
ca. 1870 purple gown. The V&A also published
several fantastic books on the fashions in their
collection and I recommend them to anyone
interested in close-up views of some of the finest
surviving garments in the world.
|Looks like a doll skirt to me. Fancy!|
This is where I would tell you all about this image if I knew anything about it other
than I found it on Pinterest.