Handbag thumbnail 1
Handbag thumbnail 2
+12
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Bags: Inside Out, Room 40

Handbag

ca. 1910 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

The first few years of the twentieth century saw, for the lady of leisure, a continuation of the fashionable preoccupations of the nineteenth century. Magazines of the day describe bags for every occasion, from fitted leather bags with telescopic opera glasses and folding fan to drawstring theatre bags with a mirror set into the base. There were leather 'shopping' bags and even briefcase bags, for many more women were entering the professional work force and supported women's suffrage. This example contains a change purse, mirror, bone note card, pencil, swansdown powder puff, telescopic opera glasses and white organdie folding fan with gilt spangles.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 7 parts.

  • Handbag
  • Mirror
  • Note Card
  • Pencil
  • Opera Glasses
  • Fan
  • Powder Puff
Materials and Techniques
Leather, lined with silk, brass, bone (Bos Taurus/domesticated cow), metal, plastic, swansdown, glass, embroidered silk, spangles, swansdown
Brief Description
Leather handbag, opera glasses, fan, mirror, note card with pencil and powder puff, Lemiere, France, ca. 1910
Physical Description
Opera handbag made of beige leather lined with cream silk. The carrying handle is of beige plaited silk trimmed with two matching tassels. Rectangular shape with a flap fastening with a brass lever catch. The bag is fitted with a snap-fastening change purse at the top. Below this is a scalloped pocket which contained a leather-backed mirror, a bone note card, pencil, opera glasses, fan of embroidered white silk to which are stitched gilt spangles. The sticks of the fan are of white bone, hinged and decorated with brass studs and eyelets. A rectangular slot is below this. On the bottom flap is a small button fastening purse containing a white swansdown powder puff.
Dimensions
  • Length: 6.5in
  • Width: 4in
Gallery Label
This small leather bag measures just 16 cm when closed. Surprisingly, it opens to reveal a spacious interior divided into compartments and pocket to neatly keep all the accessories needed for a night at the opera: a snap-fastening change purse at the top, a scalloped pocket containing a leather-backed mirror, a notecard and a pencil. There is also space for opera glasses, a collapsible silk fan and a powder puff. V&A, Room 40, Bags: Inside Out. (12/2020)
Credit line
Given by Miss N. L. Foster
Summary
The first few years of the twentieth century saw, for the lady of leisure, a continuation of the fashionable preoccupations of the nineteenth century. Magazines of the day describe bags for every occasion, from fitted leather bags with telescopic opera glasses and folding fan to drawstring theatre bags with a mirror set into the base. There were leather 'shopping' bags and even briefcase bags, for many more women were entering the professional work force and supported women's suffrage. This example contains a change purse, mirror, bone note card, pencil, swansdown powder puff, telescopic opera glasses and white organdie folding fan with gilt spangles.
Bibliographic Reference
Bags V&A Exhibition (Project)Bags: Inside Out (2020) Lucia Savi, V&A Publishing, pg 73
Collection
Accession Number
T.219 to F-1965

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record createdMarch 1, 2003
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