Lady in the attic

This painting was recently discovered in the Manor attics. The sitter and artist are unknown, however a Curator from the Victoria & Albert Museum has analysed her costume.

“From the sitter’s clothing I would suggest that this painting could date to around 1860-1870. The woman’s black cloak is very typical of mourning attire worn in the high Victorian period, especially the crape material, a type of silk with a peculiar crimped appearance produced by heat. Crape became particularly associated with mourning clothes of this period.

The high neck with the bow is also points to the clothing dating to this period. Although the white of the silk could indicate that the sitter is entering the later stages of mourning, when lighter colours were incorporated into the outfit.”

Further reading:
Buck, A. ‘The Trap Re-Baited, Mourning Dress 1860-1890’. The Proceedings of the Costume Society Spring Conference, 1968, pp. 32-37.

Assistant Curator, Department of Furniture, Textiles and Fashion,
Victoria and Albert Museum


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Harlaxton College Library Harlaxton Manor, Grantham Lincolnshire
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