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Dress

Date:
1832–35
Culture:
American
Medium:
cotton, linen
Dimensions:
Length at CB (a): 49 in. (124.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Mrs. Harold N. Weber, 1990
Accession Number:
2009.300.578a, b
  • Description

    This transitional style indicates the aesthetic of its period. The large gigot sleeves were popular from the early 1830s through 1836 when they began to diminish to the tightly fitted sleeves of the following period. This type of sleeve was generally supported by whalebone or down filling. Another indication of its transitional disposition is the waist height and the full bell-shaped skirts. The beautiful textile is also a product of its time with a stippled ground and bright flowers against muted vinery. The patterning creates a very charming feel evocative of the romantic 1830s style.

    The female silhouette of the middle of the 19th century consisted of a fitted corseted bodice and wide full skirts. The conical skirts developed between the 1830s, when the high waist of the Empire silhouette was lowered and the skirts became more bell shaped, to the late 1860s, when the fullness of the skirts were pulled to the back and the bustle developed. The flared skirts of the period gradually increased in size throughout and were supported by a number of methods. Originally support came from multiple layers of petticoats which, due to weight and discomfort, were supplanted by underskirts comprised of graduated hoops made from materials such as baleen, cane and metal. The fashions during this time allowed the textiles to stand out because of the vast surface areas of the skirt and a relatively minimal amount of excess trim.

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
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