This gown is a little unusual for me, in that I like it better close up than when viewed further away. However, while I can’t help thinking how hot it must have been in a crowded room underneath all that satin and velvet, the iridescent beading is a great touch, the colors are wonderful, the beaded velvet tassels on the back bodice are outrageously fun. The wearer probably made quite an entrance.
(Photos and info are from textilevintage.com, link above)
Made from midnight royal blue velvet with inserts of floral devoré velvet, the two-piece gown has the full bodice front and back-skirt train that were the height of fashion during the Belle Époque.
The beautiful velvet flowers are cut to a ground of substantial-weight matching satin. The bodice, cuffs, and stand-up collar feature beige Venetian-style lace over cream colored satin The lace is trimmed with narrow bands of floral velvet. The eye catching iridescent beaded trim is the coup de grace.
Lined with ivory cotton, the bodice has boned seams. The under bodice closes in front with hooks; the outer bodice closes on the side-front with concealed hooks.
The skirt is lined with black buckram. It has a wide hem facing of navy taffeta and closes in back with a hook at the waist.
The condition is almost excellent. The gown shows very little wear.
The bodice measures: 36″ bust, 27″ waist, and 22″ sleeve length.
The skirt measures: 27″ waist, full over the hips, and 43″ front length.
The design of this remarkable historic artifact is sublime; and the provenance is extraordinary—a descendant of Revolutionary War veteran, Captain Rufus Lincoln. The dazzling embellishment tells us that at least one branch of Captain Lincoln’s family had plenty of money during the Opulent Age.
Captain Rufus Lincoln (1751-1838), born in Taunton, MA in 1751, Lincoln held commissions in several Massachusetts regiments. He purchased a homestead “Lincoln Hill” in Wareham, MA from David Nye in 1799. Lincoln’s diary, The Papers of Captain Rufus Lincoln, can be read in the Harvard University Library. The gown, purchased from the Lincoln Hill estate, belonged to one of his descendents.