Sunday, October 20, 2013

Object of the Day: A Brocaded Silk Velvet Scarf, 1840-50

The Victoria and Albert Museum

Made in Britain between 1840 and 1850, this scarf of brocaded silk velvet which was given to the Victoria & Albert Museum in 1926 by Miss P. W. Stanbridge shows the fashion sensibilities of the era in a surprising way.

Though the Nineteenth Century is considered to be the “Age of the Shawl,”  the use of scarves as a useful adornment was revived among fashionable upper-class ladies around the 1840s and 1850s as shawls fell from favor after being adopted by lower classes. 

This elegant scarf shows the lush and elegant color palette of the time period--made of black silk velvet with a striped purple, yellow and green border running its length. At either end, there is a band of purple silk and two broad bands of patterned silk.  These are interrupted by narrow bands of purple silk arranged in groups of three. The ends of the piece are finished with black silk fringe.

When the scarf was given to the V&A, attached was a note which remains to this day.  It reads: “Scarf once the property of Mrs Emma Stanbridge, née Parris, who lived at Haberdashers' House, Pitfield St., Hoxton - the last good old house there - and died 1871.”

No comments: