- Place of origin:
ca. 1893 (made)
- Materials and Techniques:
- Credit Line:
Given by Miss D. Daniell
- Museum number:
- Gallery location:
The donor wrote that the gowns in this gift escaped the unfortunate fate of the rest of the family's baby clothes (said to have been destroyed in a fire at the family home) because they were sent to South Africa for her when she was born in 1921. "I never wore them because too hot but that is how they were kept separately from the rest". In fact, even in the UK such gowns would not have been in general use by this date, but no doubt they were sent to South Africa by older members of the family such as the grandparents, whose own experience of caring for babies would have meant ensuring that they did not catch cold.
White cotton with a rounded drawstring neck edged with a narrow lace frill, the casing worked with a single row of speckle stitch in white. The gathered sleeves are wrist length, finished with a band of insertion embroidered in white and featuring a simple six-petalled flower, with white feather stitching above and below, and edged with a narrow frill of lace. The gathered skirt is attached to the bodice at the natural waist level, beneath a narrow waistband worked with a single row of speckle stitch. The whole length of the centre front of the dress is taken up with an unbroken princess line panel of alternating vertical and horizontal bands of lace and embroidered insertion and flounces. The white cutwork embroidery features repeating motifs of foliage and simple eight-petalled flowers, some of them on bracts of leaves. The front panel is outlined in matching white cutwork robings which run from the neck back to the front hem, and the garment fastens at the back with drawstrings at neck and waist and with a button and stitched loop at each wrist.
Place of Origin
ca. 1893 (made)
Materials and Techniques
Marks and inscriptions
Length: 98.5 cm centre back
Object history note
The donor associates the gowns in this gift with her grandmother, née (Cecily) Evelyn Gordon Besley in about 1868, daughter of Charles Robert Besley and his wife Emily née Gordon (daughter of Lady Cecil Gordon née Emily Moore). C R Besley was a London wharfinger and his brother Robert Besley was Lord Mayor of London 1868-70.
However, the cross-directional piecing of the centre front panel, and in particular the long sleeves, indicate a later date, and are typical of the 1870s or 80s. It therefore seems most lilkely that this gown was made for Evelyn's daughter, née Henriette G Parker in 1893. The donor, Henriette's daughter, wrote that
These dresses escaped the unfortunate fate of the rest of the family's baby clothes* because they were sent to South Africa for me when I was born in 1921 (there is a small cah's [Cash's] nametape on one with the initials "HD" - my mother was Henriette Daniell. I never wore them because too hot but that is how they were kept separately from the rest. From the date of the cape, it was probably made for either my mother (1893) or one of her brothers (1897 [Henry] and 1902).
* Said to have been destroyed in a fire at the family home
Long gown for a baby: embroidered white cotton; UK, ca. 1893
Children's clothes; Children & Childhood; Europeana Fashion Project
Museum of Childhood