Monday, December 29, 2008

Victorian art made by a Victorian girl

This is the second in a series of six collages  I own that a little girl made in the mid to late 1800s. 

I'm not sure exactly when they were made but not earlier than 1853 (because of the date on the maps from a geography book or atlas that were used as the backing pieces).

This is the map on the back of this particular piece. Click on the image if you want to see it in more detail.

Based on what the woman is wearing, she's probably from the 1870s. If she was wearing something from the 1850s, it would have been a hoop skirt sticking out equally from all sides. In the 1870s, skirts got flatter in the front and fuller in the back because of the use of bustles. 

I'm mystified how women did anything in hoop skirts. No wonder they had to have servants to raise the children, clean the house...basically have other people do absolutely everything for them, including getting dressed. I don't even know how they sat down or what happened if they got caught in a wind gust. If you had to spend your day in a hoop skirt, would you see anyone under the age of five if they were in the same room with you? This kid is on good behavior because her mom can actually see her and if she wanted to, she could actually reach out and touch her. Hoop skirts are just bizarre, not that bustles aren't too.

The Sears-Roebuck catalog became available in 1894 but I'm not sure if these little black and white cutouts are from that or something else (perhaps a newspaper?). That's something I still have to research.

But until I figure out exactly when these collages were created, it's still fun to look at the details. This cornice of pleated paper is impressive. It must have been pretty when it was first made because the blue paper that was used is very thick and heavily pigmented with a mat blue.

The bed pillows are "embroidered" with the initials "M" and "F." 

This little compote (or calling card receiver?) on the blue table may or may not have come from a Sears-Roebuck catalog. If it did, that would date these collages to almost the end of the 19th century. I just have a feeling they were made earlier than that, based on the fashions alone. By the time I get to the sixth collage in this collection, I hope to have them dated with a time period I'm confident is close to accurate. :-)

Click on the images if you want to see them bigger. There's a lot of detail in these collages but unfortunately I lost some of it when scanning because of the multiple thicknesses of paper. :-/


Country Girl said...

Oh, these are such a treasure trove of intricate details, Maria! Thanks for sharing all this cool stuff with us.

Mental P Mama said...

How beautiful...I love learning these things. I wore a hoop skirt at a costume party once. It darn near killed me.

shara said...

Hoop skirt- yucky!!! Well, Scarlet O'Hara made it look easy, but still...

I love all the info on your treasures!

Maria said...

Mental-You.....are........KIDDING. How many other people did you almost kill with that outfit????

Kate-you are welcome. I love digging out this stuff and spending some time trying to figure it out via blogging and the internet. I have learned so many interesting things about the stuff I've collected since starting this blog!

Shara-Thank you for your comment. But "yucky?" Ha ha ha. That's one word I hadn't thought of using to describe a hoop skirt but then there are probably an endless amount of words TO describe them, not all listed in the dictionary. I have NO idea why but I keep writing about hoop skirts. Just one of the most ridiculous fashions invented.