Thursday, September 12, 2013

Accessories at the Kearny History Museum: Part 2

In this part of the accessory series, we'll be examining the objects displayed with the 1894-7 Corded Silk Gown.

This brown velvet hat is one of the few pieces in the Kearny History Museum that comes with an exciting provenance. It is decorated with fine brown plumage and a bird's head. The bird is unfortunately missing its right "eye." The crown is turned up in back. All over the hat, the velvet is gathered to produce a textural effect.  Along the rim of the crown, the velvet has worn away. The hat has a fitted lining made of disintegrating black cotton.


Look at all that dust, eughh!


Note the threadbare velvet.

Disintegrating black cotton underneath the hat helps hold the hat on a head.
The black beads in this purse are woven into the purses structure. It is not lined, but there is evidence that there was once a silk lining that disintegrated. The purse closes with a large snap, but one of the snaps is missing. A bit of white rope is fastened to the handle of the bag, presumably to help secure it to the mannequin's hand. I tried to remove the white rope, but it was tied so tightly I was afraid that I would harm the bag. Inside the bag was an embroidered white linen handkerchief. Faded, with multiple stains and tears, I'm unsure if the hanky is period or not, but I suspect that it is.

The beads of the purse have a black-brown shimmer.
I suspect that those bits of purple/brown material might be the remnants of a silk lining.
Very detailed embroidered motif.
I'm not too sure how those huge gaping tears came to be! I was afraid to wash it due to the fragility of the material.
I believe these black gloves date to at least the Edwardian (early 1900s) era. They have a bit of stretch/give to the them, and they appear to be machine made--just look at that machine sewn hem at the wrist! I soaked the gloves in cold water, and after just a few minutes the had a noticeably brown tone. After several more soakings I still wasn't able to get the entirety of the staining out, and I fear that part of the discoloration is fading from excessive exposure to light. The gloves are too small for the mannequin's hands; someone had removed one of the mannequin's fingers to help accommodate the gloves, but I popped off another finger for some extra ease.

Regardless, I think the accessories really "make" this display. I've arranged the accessories the way they were originally placed, as from a stylistic point of view their initial placement was visually pleasing and effective in creating a "scene."


Before washing the gloves. This staining could also be fading from excessive light.


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