Plum Perfect

The next “Little and Large” pair from the Fashion Museum of Bath’s Collection Stories exhibit features shades of plum silk.

The Museum’s description of the doll tells the story of her journey to Bath:

Object number: BATMC VIII.01.7
Object: Fashion doll, circa 1870s
Description: Circa 1870s fashion doll with wax head in plum satin and cream lace dress.
Original catalogue: Early 19th century. Wax head, arms and lower leg. Powdered wig. Dressed in ca.1880 dress of plum coloured satin bodice and skirt. Trimmed with cream lace. Short knitted socks and kid ankle strap shoes to match dress. A fine poured wax doll, possibly by the Pierotti family who produced this quality of doll in the UK – I would say the doll is 1870 to 1880. Doll’s garments very likely from Paris.
Collection History: Mrs Enid Hurst gave the doll to the museum in 1968. She noted in her original letter that the doll had been in her family for five generations (?). Because of its age and fragility, the doll was sent in a box on a passenger train and collected by museum staff when it arrived at Bath Spa station. It was noted that the doll was slightly earlier than its ca.1880 clothing.

This is a sweet-faced, wax child doll. She has a turned head, skin wig, pensive BLUE eyes and chubby cheeks. That’s a beautiful pearl necklace.

She wears a two-piece satin and lace dress with a fitted bodice and full skirt.

The side view shows her bustle and train.

Most of the skirt’s fullness is gathered in the back.

Her flower crown matches the corsage on her dress.

Here’s the description of the full-sized dress:

Object number: BATMC I.09.1335
Object: Bodice and skirt, 1880s
Description: Plum coloured satin dress with narrow woven borders of small flowers, lilies of the valley and roses, trimmed with ecru lace. The dress has 12 matching metal buttons on front of bodice. The skirt has 2 tiers of pleating with a flounce of lace in between. Three-quarter length sleeves which have had later alteration. 1880s
Collection History: Miss Keats

This is definitely a dress for a mature lady.

The hourglass shape of the dress is accentuated by the fullness of the satin over the hips. There is an abundance of heavy lace and woven floral trim. The color of the lace reminds me of tea-stained fabric.

The silhouette is very elegant.

The back is elaborately draped.

I count at least six panels in the back of the jacket. This, combined with the draping of the skirt, is the sign of a professional, skilled tailor.

I’ll be back soon with the next fashion pairing.


Plum Perfect — 1 Comment

  1. This is fantastic! What a gorgeous gown and Doll! I am not a seamstress, however, I have great appreciation for what goes into creating an exquisite gown. I often work with seamstresses or couturiers and this information is invaluable ?