Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Margaret S. Bedell, 1930
Not on view
Knitted beadwork bags, whether made from a pattern or in a professional workshop, were de rigueur for the fashionable 19th-century woman. The motifs on this evening bag are simple and elegant. The variation of round and beveled beads adds surface texture and sparkle. Violets against a black ground suggest the colors of half-mourning; in Victorian floriography, blue violets represent faithfulness.
Margaret S. Bedell (1861-1932) donated, by gift or bequest, over 500 objects to the Brooklyn Museum, including furniture, quilts, samplers, costume and Native American beadwork. Her collection of American and European beaded bags includes examples from Philadelphia and the Catskill Mountain region of New York State, as well as Italy, Austria, Germany, and Holland.