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Corset

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1883 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Red sateen, beige leather and whalebone, with a steel spoon-shaped busk

  • Museum number:

    T.84&A-1980

  • Gallery location:

    On display at Erarta Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, St Petersburg, Russia []

In the early 1870s, as the crinoline was replaced by the bustle, corsets changed shape. In order to achieve the fashionable slender silhouette, they became much longer. Corsets also had to be rigid to conceal the layers of underwear, including the chemise and petticoat, which were worn beneath.

This corset is cut from separate pieces and reinforced with leather. Strips of covered whalebone form the scaffolding of the corset. Whalebone is strong yet flexible and therefore ideal for moulding the body of the corset and its wearer. It created a cage around the torso, enclosing the upper body and accentuating the bust and hips.

The steel busk defined the front of the garment. On this corset the spoon-shaped busk is wider at the bottom than the top. This was supposed to equalise pressure on the abdomen, making the corset more wearable. In reality, it could make it more restricting as the corset could be pulled in more at the waist.

Physical description

Red serge corset with the whalebone and spoon busk covered in beige leather and machine stitched. It fastens with a spoon busk to which is attached loops and studs of brassed metal. There is a white serge lace for adjustment at the centre back which runs through stamped brass metal eyelets. The top is trimmed with a wide border of cream machine made lace. It is lined with white sateen.

Place of Origin

England (made)

Date

1883 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Red sateen, beige leather and whalebone, with a steel spoon-shaped busk

Marks and inscriptions

'6/1'
Stamped in purple inside an oval on lining of spoon buck

Historical context note

The steel busk defined the front of the garment. On this corset the spoon-shaped busk is wider at the bottom than the top. This was supposed to equalise pressure on the abdomen, making the corset more wearable. In reality it made it even more restricting as the shape meant the corset could be pulled in much tighter at the waist
In the early 1870s the crinoline was replaced by the bustle and corsets changed shape. They became much longer in order to achieve the fashionable long and slender silhouette. Corsets had to be rigid to conceal the layers of underwear, including chemise and petticoat, which were were worn beneath.

This heavily boned corset is cut from separate pieces and reinforced with leather. Strips of covered whalebone form the scaffolding of the corset. Whalebone is strong whilst flexible and therefore ideal for moulding the body of the corset and its wearer. It created a cage around the torso, incarcerating the upper body and accentuating the bust and hips.

The steel busk defined the front of the garment. On this corset the spoon-shaped busk is wider at the bottom than the top. This was supposed to equalise pressure on the abdomen, making the corset more wearable. In reality it made it even more restricting as the spoon-shape meant the corset could be pulled in much tighter at the waist.

Steam moulding was a technique used to heat the corset linings which were then wrapped around a copper form and starched to shape them.

Descriptive line

Red serge corset, England, 1883

Labels and date

Registered designs

New designs for undergarments were often named and registered. This prevented copying and encouraged customers to buy the latest styles.

Brown's "Dermathistic" corset, of 1883, featured leather-faced bones and steels. The company claimed that these made the corset stronger and more durable.

Stapley & Smith's 'New Phantom' collapsible bustle frame was a simplified version of its 'Keelapso' bustle, registered the year before in 1887.

The corset and bustle are displayed with combinations, which were widely worn from the mid 1870s. [16/04/2016-12/03/2017]
CORSET
Red sateen, yellow leather and whalebone with a steel spoon-shaped busk
British, 1883

In the early 1870s the crinoline was replaced by the bustle and corsets changed shape. They became much longer in order to achieve the fashionable long and slender silhouette. Corsets had to be rigid to conceal the layers of underwear, including chemise and petticoat, which were worn beneath.

This corset is cut from separate pieces and reinforced with leather. Strips of covered whalebone form the scaffolding of the corset. Whalebone is strong whilst flexible and therefore ideal for moulding the body of the corset and its wearer. It created a cage around the torso, incarcerating the upper body and accentuating the bust and hips.

The steel busk defined the front of the garment. On this corset the spoon-shaped busk is wider at the bottom than the top. This was supposed to equalise pressure on the abdomen, making the corset more wearable. In reality it made it even more restricting as the shape meant the corset could be pulled in much tighter at the waist

T.84+A-1980 []

Materials

Sateen; Leather; Whalebone

Techniques

Woven

Categories

Fashion; Women's clothes; Europeana Fashion Project

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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