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  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1870-1875 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Horsehair woven with linen, horizontal and vertical steels, laced eyelet holes

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Miss Barbara V. Cooper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This bustle is made of stiff layered folds of horsehair and linen fabric. The fabric was known as 'crinoline', derived from 'crin', the French term for horsehair. This fabric was also used to make the stiff petticoats used to hold in shape the large skirts of the 1840s. The term crinoline was later used for the graduated spring-steel hoops used for the larger skirts of the 1850s and 1860s.

This bustle is constructed of horizontal and vertical steels, which support the gathered rows of fabric. The bustle shape is obtained by lacing bands with eyelet holes, which when laced and pulled up cause the back of the bustle to curve and be held firmly in shape. There are hooks at the waist to fasten the bustle onto a petticoat and two pairs of ties to secure it around the waist and hips.

Physical description

Bustle made of four gathered rows of horsehair and linen fabric on a base of horizontal and vertical steels.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


1870-1875 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Horsehair woven with linen, horizontal and vertical steels, laced eyelet holes

Labels and date

By the mid-1870s, the skirt had narrowed still further, with an emphasis on the bustle, train and drapery at the back. The fashionable bodice - known as the 'cuirass' bodice - was elongated with a seamless waist ending at, or below, the hips.

The bustle was known as a 'tournure', or 'dress improver', as the word 'bustle' was considered vulgar by Victorian ladies.

Bustle pad
British, 1870-5
Horsehair woven with linen, cotton, steels and laced eyelet holes
Given by Miss Barbara V. Cooper [2013-2015]
Made from horsehair

Bustles were worn to support the back drapery of women's dresses from about 1869-80. They were reintroduced around 1883 but disappeared by the end of the decade.

This example is constructed from crinoline made from horsehair [French: crin] woven with linen. The fabric is stiff and holds its shapes when stitched in place.

Britain, 1870-5
Horsehair woven with linen, cotton, steel and metal eyelet holes
V&A: T.168-1937
Given by Miss Barbara V. Cooper [16/04/2016-12/03/2017]


Clothing; Fashion; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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