Victorian Fashion Accessories PDF by Ariel Beaujot


Victorian Fashion Accessories
By Ariel Beaujot

Victorian fashion accessories


List of Figures ix
Acknowledgments xiii
Introduction 1
1 “The Beauty of her Hands”: The Glove and the Making
of Middle-Class Womanhood 31
2 “The Language of the Fan”: Pushing the Boundaries
of Middle-Class Womanhood 63
3 “Underneath the Parasol”: Umbrellas as Symbols
of Imperialism, Race, Youth, Flirtation, and Masculinity 105
4 “The Real Thing”: The Celluloid Vanity Set and the Search
for Authenticity 139
Conclusion 179
Bibliography 183

List of Figures
0.1 Ephemera showing a fl irtatious Victorian lady with her
fan/calendar open. 1897. 2
0.2 The fan/calendar is closed revealing the lady’s bosom. 1897. 15
1.1 A woman signs the register after her wedding with gloveless
hands. Circa 1880. 35
1.2 Afternoon tea was a time when women revealed their hands
to an intimate circle of friends. 1892. 36
1.3 The “awful effects of too much lawn-tennis by the sea” is
experienced by women once they return to Society events
in the city. 1883. 37
1.4 Bridal Bouquet Bloom was advertised as a hygienic liquid;
however, many of these mail-order beauty products
contained dangerous ingredients like lead or arsenic. 1892. 39
1.5 Actress Sarah Bernhardt brought opera gloves back into
fashion because she was embarrassed to show her
thin arms. 1887. 41
1.6 Fashion plates throughout the nineteenth century demonstrate
passive hand gestures meant to be emulated by middle-class
women. 1880. 42
1.7 In this 1897 family photo, lax hands imitate the fashion
plates of the day. 43
1.8 The glove stretcher’s pointed tips (center object) helped
keep the fi ngers of gloves tapered. Circa 1900. 44
1.9 Working-class women, possibly actresses, solicit wealthy
gentlemen at the Victoria Theatre, a popular music hall of
the 1870s.
1.10 Male glovemakers at work in Grenoble, France. Late
nineteenth century. 47
1.11 Hanna Cullwick, maid-of-all-work and wife of Arthur Munby,
showing off her large working hands and bicep. 1867. 50
1.12 Victorians believed that a person’s temperament could
be read by observing certain aspects of their skulls and
hands as demonstrated on this phrenological drawing
of a head. 1854. 53
2.1 A young woman paints a fan. 1891. 68
2.2 A pretty young woman surrounded by six male admirers uses
her fan to communicate her chosen companion for the
last waltz. Circa 1875. 79
2.3 The vast majority of the fashion plates picture women with
their fans closed and their gazes passive. 1881. 80
2.4 The open fan of fashion plates is never the fan of a
coquette. 1880. 81
2.5 Three images of women fl irting their way into men’s hearts.
1857, 1882, 1858. 82
2.6 Lovers communicate behind a fan. 1894. 84
2.7 Sada Yacco was a Japanese actress who toured Europe and
America in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. 89
2.8 The three little maids from The Mikado pose coyly with
their fans. 1885. 90
2.9 Carte de visite for Berlin production of The Mikado . Actress
from the fi rst production of The Mikado in Germany poses in
what purports to be the Japanese style. 1886. 91
3.1 The King of Ashanti under his offi cial umbrella surrounded
by his retinue. 1873. 108
3.2 Procession of state umbrellas at the emperor’s marriage
in Peking. 1888. 110
3.3 King Prempeh’s royal umbrella from when he ruled
Ashanti. 1873. 111
3.4 Image of fi rst primitive parasol (that looks like a fan)
to protect royalty from the sun in India. Late
nineteenth century. 112
3.5 The umbrella worship of the Santal Hill peoples. 1898. 113
3.6 A royal parasol as used by the Assyrians, compared with
Jonas Hanway’s umbrella of 1786. 114
3.7 A lady in court dress with her fashionable parasol. 1715. 115
3.8 Jonas Hanway pioneers the fi rst umbrella in London. 1756. 117
3.9 As umbrellas became more common they were sold on the
street by hawkers. 1823. 118
3.10 A woman uses her white parasol to maintain a pale
complexion. 1906. 121
3.11 A gentleman gallantly offers a woman shelter from the
rain. 1913. 123
3.12 The Earl of Hardwicke leans on his slim umbrella. 1843. 126
3.13 How to properly fold an umbrella. 1900. 127
3.14 An umbrella-mender at work. Circa 1890. 128
3.15 Music-hall entertainer George Robey poses as a working-class
upstart with his misshapen umbrella. Circa 1905. 130
3.16 Knife grinder working at a street market under an umbrella.
1950. 131
4.1 An advertisement for a range of hairbrushes in ivory and
erinoid from Harrods’s toilet-brush department. 1929. 142
4.2 Three men stand in front of a store of ivory in Congo. 1889. 143
4.3 Edward VII, when Prince of Wales, shooting a tiger from the
safety of his howdah on the back of an elephant in India. 1877. 144
4.4 A group of Bengalis carving ivory in a live exhibit at the
Great Exhibition of 1851. 145
4.5 Male accessories made out of ivory. May 1937. 146
4.6 Women’s accessories made out of ivory. May 1937. 147
4.7 Trademark image of the British Xylonite Company. 1936. 149
4.8 Women threading bristles into ebony brushes. 1930s. 153
4.9 This cartoon entitled “Cause and Effect” shows that a
maid’s crinoline is too large and misshapen to wear while she works. 1864. 161
4.10 Advertisement for Ivory Pyralin. 1920. 162
4.11 Advertisement for Ming pattern vanity set showing a white
woman’s hand and a refl ection of imagined China.
Late 1920s. 165

The glove, the fan, the parasol, and the vanity set have been largely overlooked by previous scholars. 1 These objects helped women create a sense of who they were, with important consequences for how they experienced gender, class, and race in the Victorian period. By accentuating the hands, face, and head, accessories marked the signifi cance of the female body. In this book I will show that womanhood changed from the eighteenth century, in which women were characterized by their actions and attitude, to the nineteenth century when middle-class women began to express themselves through consumerism. 2 In a world that could increasingly purchase the trappings of class, a woman’s performance of gender moved away from what she did toward what she could buy ( fi gure 0.1 ).

Victorians continued to believe, along with their early modern forebearers, that the moral character of a woman was communicated through her body and therefore could be read by those around her. According to this model, to change her appearance for the better a woman had to go through a moral reeducation. The anonymous author of The Ladies’ Hand-Book of the Toilet , written in England in 1843, reassured women that they could improve their external beauty by cultivating a good character: “From this mode of reasoning, it results that the fair one, who would become really beautiful, must make the cultivation of her mind—of those intellectual and moral powers with which her Creator has endowed her—her fi rst and principal care. Pure affections must be cherished”; the author explains “amiable dispositions encouraged; useful knowledge acquired, and a mild, even, and obliging temper assiduously cultivated; or all her endeavours, to obtain real beauty,” the author warns “will prove nugatory and vain. If, however, a due regard be paid to this ‘inward adorning’, her external appearance will be by no means neglected.” 3 This attitude was surprisingly persistent. Again an example appeared in an 1877 guide authored by the American Elisa Bisbee Duffery. Writing about beautiful eyes she says “those who would have their eyes bear a pleasing expression must cultivate pleasing traits of character and beautify the soul, and then this beautiful soul will look through its natural windows.” 4 Over thirty years later this attitude, though expressed more plainly, continues to grace the pages of etiquette manuals suggesting that one must “be nice and you will look nice.” 5

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