Corset

1864 (made)
Corset thumbnail 1
Corset thumbnail 2
+18
images
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

The corset was worn over the chemise and it moulded the figure of the wearer into the fashionable shape of the day. These shapes ranged from slender to curvaceous and everything in between during the 19th century. Like the chemise, the corset in the 19th century was made of a wider variety of materials, in this case blue silk lined with linen. It did not need to be very tightly laced, for the illusion of a small waist was created by the very wide circumference of the crinoline.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Silk, edged with machine-made lace, reinforced with whalebone, metal, lined with cotton twill
Brief Description
Boned corset of silk trimmed with machine-made lace, possibly made in France or Great Britain, 1864
Physical Description
Corset of blue silk trimmed at the top edge with a narrow band of machine-made lace. The corset reaches the top of the hips and is gored at the bust and hips. The corset is stiffened with whalebone and machine-stitched with an incised swivel latch to lock the busk fastening. There is a lace fastening at the back. Boned at the centre front, back and diagonally from the side to back and sides to front. The boning is hand-stitched into place. Metal eyelets. Lined with cotton twill.
Dimensions
  • Bust measured inside garment circumference: 80.5cm (Note: Measured by Conservation)
  • Waist measured inside garment circumference: 58cm (Note: Measured by Conservation)
  • Hip measured inside garment circumference: 77cm (Note: Measured by Conservation)
  • Front height: 33.5cm
  • Back height: 34cm
  • Length: 14in
  • Underbust measured inside garment circumference: 60cm (Note: Measured by Conservation)
Gallery Label
  • From the late 1840s to the 1860s skirts were full and bell-shaped, at which point corsets were relatively short and not particularly tightly laced, since the massive skirts made all waists look proportionally small. The whalebones press into the waist to shape the hipline into an extravagant curve, to flatter and support the fashionable cage crinoline. Corset France or Britain, 1864 Silk, edged with machine lace, with whalebone and metal eyelets, lined with cotton twill Given by the Burrows family V&A: T.169-1961(2013-2015)
  • A front fastening corset The wearer of this corset could dress without help because the steel 'split busk' fastens in front. The front fastening was invented in 1829 but did not become common until the 1850s. There are fewer bones in the back of the corset than the front and none over the hips. In the 1860s women relied on voluminous skirts, in addition to corsets, to make their waists appear small. Corset Britain or France, about 1864 Silk, cotton twill lining, whalebone (baleen), metal busk, machine-made lace edging V&A: T.169-1961 Given by the Burrows family(16/04/2016-12/03/2017)
Credit line
Given by the Burrows family
Object history
The donors of this corset linked it to a 1864 marriage in the family, but there is no further information.
Summary
The corset was worn over the chemise and it moulded the figure of the wearer into the fashionable shape of the day. These shapes ranged from slender to curvaceous and everything in between during the 19th century. Like the chemise, the corset in the 19th century was made of a wider variety of materials, in this case blue silk lined with linen. It did not need to be very tightly laced, for the illusion of a small waist was created by the very wide circumference of the crinoline.
Collection
Accession Number
T.169-1961

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdDecember 15, 1999
Record URL