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Posts Tagged ‘Crinolines’

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This woman sports one of the most sought after garments of the 1860s. Her spectacular paisley patterned shawl is as voluminous as the crinolined silk skirt it partially covers. A fine shawl such as this was definitely a status symbol!

Numerous outlets throughout Dublin sold shawls including Switzer, Ferguson & Co. at 91-93 Grafton Street. In July 1860, their extensive range included the following: “square and long tissue Grenadines, printed Llama and long and square French and Paisley.”

Also on Grafton Street, the Shawl Warehouse at number 100 was run by James Forest and Sons. On Wednesday, May 31st, 1865, they advertised that they were now “showing their stock of French, Paisley, Norwich and every description of fashionable shawl.”

Shawls were often offered as prizes in raffles such as that run by the Phibsborough Art Union in July 1866 when Mrs Forman won a Paisley shawl in the raffle to benefit St. Peter’s Church, Phibsborough, Dublin.

Shawls were itemised in executors sales and indeed sometimes featured in court cases. The ‘Police Intelligence’ section of The Irish Times for August 2nd, 1870, notes that “Catherine Duffy was brought up in custody on remand, charged by Catherine Butterly with stealing a Paisley shawl from a room in a house at 38 City Quay. Sent to trial for City Sessions.”

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Not all shawls were of the equal quality and the complicated history of the Paisley pattern reveals much about trade between India and Europe. The teardrop shaped pattern has it origins in Iran and the Kashmir region of India. By the nineteenth-century shawls were being made in the Scottish town of Paisley.

Cheaper copies were printed not woven and indeed the finest European shawls did not have as many threads as those imported from India. The woman in this carte-de-visite also wears some high-end accessories such as her parasol and leather goods. Her low-browed spoon bonnet is decorated with artificial flowers and ties in a large bow. This was also the height of fashion for the 1860s!

The photographer on this occasion was Thomas North also based on Grafton Street. The logo he used on his 1860s cards can be viewed here. The firm was at 71 Grafton Street from 1861 until at least 1900.

In the 1901 census, Thomas North is listed a living at 101 Rathmines Road. He was by then 73 years’ of age. Born in Hampshire, England, his second wife Mary Jane was 25 years’ his junior. Amongst those living in the household were two of his sons: the exotically name Theophilus Vese and Thomas Ernest whose occupation was listed as a ‘photographic artist.’ By the 1911 census, Thomas is no longer listed as a photographer and we can assume that the business did not last long after his father’s death.

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The little girl on the pedestal was named Elizabeth Angelina Anna Stopford and she was born in Dublin in 1868. Her family subsequently moved to Cork where she was photographed with her crinoline-wearing mother, Lucy Rebecca Stopford (née Binney). Thanks to the online availability of Dublin church records, I was able to track down her baptism details.

The Stopfords were a military family and they resided at Eglantine, Mallow. The inscription on the back of the carte-de-visite shows that the photograph was taken in July 1869 and sent ‘to dear Willie with Lucy’s love.’

Unfortunately, Elizabeth died at the age of 22 in 1890. Other than these scant facts I know little about her life. A pretty extensive trawl through the national newspapers has revealed no death notice nor memorial. This was often the case with unmarried daughters or aunts especially if they had no property to bequeath. Perhaps, her passing was marked in the local newspapers?

The studio of Stevens is little known and doesn’t appear in Eddie Chandler’s Photography in Ireland : the Nineteenth Century. I love the mention of access through Francis Guy’s Stationery Hall. From a  perusal of the city’s street directories it looks like George F. Stevens’ business as a short-lived one, appearing in only one of the volumes made available through Cork City Library’s website: Slater’s National Commercial Directory of Ireland for 1870.

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The elaborate outfits worn by these two little sisters are typical of the styles of the 1860s. Bell-shaped crinolines were worn at a shorter length by girls and reveal lace-up boots with patent leather toecaps. Their hair is parted in the middle and the straw bonnet matches the monochrome theme of their summer clothes. 

Thankfully someone had the foresight to date the image which was taken in 1862 by the studio of F.H. Mares, whose work I have previously featured on this blog. The studio was located on Grafton Street near to the business of Mademoiselle de Groots. According to The Irish Times of Wednesday 22nd October 1862, her warehouse at number 45 sold the following items which she had recently obtained in Paris: “corsets et ceintures; lingerie, crinolines, zouaves, etc.”

The Zouave jacket is a coloured and sometimes braided garment based on the uniform of an infantry regiment of the French Army. The were very popular during this period as illustrated by fashion plates from Godey’s Magazine.

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