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A Favorite Of The Empress

  • Object:

    Cage crinoline

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (probably, made)

  • Date:

    1860-1865 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Spring steel, woven wool, linen, lined with cotton, and brass

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs A. E. Valdez

  • Museum number:

    T.150-1986

  • Gallery location:

    Fashion, Room 40, case CA7

Physical description

Crinoline consisting of a spring steel frame covered with red wool and linen. Red and white striped woven waistband fastened with stamped metal hooks and eyes, and to the back of which is attached a semi-circular red wool back panel lined with white cotton and machine stitched in white from which hang a red diamond pattern woven woollen tapes which are threaded spring steels covered with braid woven wool which wrap over to fasten with a brass metal clamp in front. The hoops reach from the sides around the back to knee level and from there to the base and around the whole of the body. The outline is circular with extra fullness at the back. The bottom row of steels are covered with a red wool 'skirt'. Extra fullness is created at the top back with half hoops.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (probably, made)

Date

1860-1865 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Spring steel, woven wool, linen, lined with cotton, and brass

Marks and inscriptions

'A FAVORITE OF THE EMPRESS'
Stamped on waistband

Dimensions

Diameter: 93 cm, Height: 80 cm waist to hem, straight down, Circumference: 235 cm round bottom, Circumference: 14 in

Object history note

Registered File number 1986/1672.

Historical context note

The word 'crinoline' was first used in the 1840s to describe petticoats lined with horsehair cloth. These were worn with up to 8 petticoats to help support the fashionable wide skirt. Sometimes padding had to be used to give the correct shape.

By 1856, ever widening skirts meant the weight of these petticoats became very uncomfortable. Attempts were made to solve this problem, including petticoats made from inflatable rubber tubes. These were a failure owing to unexpected punctures!

The 'artificial', or 'cage' crinoline appeared in 1857 as a welcome and more practical alternative. It was made of spring steel hoops, increasing in diameter towards the bottom and connected with tapes. The earliest cage crinolines were bell-shaped.

Descriptive line

Crinoline 'A Favorite Of The Empress' consisting of a spring steel frame covered with red wool and linen, probably made in Great Britain, 1860-1865.

Labels and date

CAGE CRINOLINE (centre)
Red wool and linen; spring steel frame; waistband fastened with hooks
British, about 1860

The word 'crinoline' was first used in the 1840s to describe petticoats lined with horsehair cloth. These were worn with up to 8 petticoats to help support the fashionable wide skirt. Sometimes padding had to be used to give the correct shape.

By 1856, ever widening skirts meant the weight of these petticoats became very uncomfortable. Attempts were made to solve this problem, including petticoats made from inflatable rubber tubes. These were a failure owing to unexpected punctures!

The 'artificial', or 'cage' crinoline appeared in 1857 as a welcome and more practical alternative. It was made of spring steel hoops, increasing in diameter towards the bottom and connected with tapes. The earliest cage crinolines were bell-shaped.

Given by Mrs A.E. Valdez
T.150-1986 []

Materials

Steel; Linen (material); Wool (textile); Cotton (textile); Brass

Techniques

Hand sewing; Weaving; Lined

Categories

Underwear; Fashion; Women's clothes; Europeana Fashion Project

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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