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A8371 Wedding dress and photographic prints (2), cotton / paper, maker unknown, possibly worn by mother or mother in law of Margaret White (nee Fletcher) possibly Uralla / Armidale, New South Wales, Australia, 1845 - 1855 / photographer unknown, Saumarez Homestead, Armidale, New South Wales, Austral. Click to enlarge.

Wedding dress possibly worn by the mother or mother-in-law of Margaret White (nee Fletcher)

Made
The ideal of the 'white wedding' dates from Victorian times, becoming an increasingly popular choice in the 19th century. Queen Victoria is thought to have set the trend with the lace trimmed, white satin dress she wore on her marriage to Prince Albert in 1840. A young woman dressed in white with her head covered by a veil remained a powerful symbol of modesty and purity for over a century.

The lavishly embroidered white muslin used to make this dress was possibly imported from India for the …

Summary

Object No.

A8371

Object Statement

Wedding dress and photographic prints (2), cotton / paper, maker unknown, possibly worn by mother or mother in law of Margaret White (nee Fletcher) possibly Uralla / Armidale, New South Wales, Australia, 1845 - 1855 / photographer unknown, Saumarez Homestead, Armidale, New South Wales, Australia, 1960 - 1982

Physical Description

Cream muslin wedding dress with embroidered skirt in three flounces. The bodice with round neck, natural waist line sliping to lower point at front. Bodice lined with white cotton with muslin gathered over front toward centre waist and anchored by five horizontal rows of stitching. Modified pagoda sleeves trimmed with gathered cream silk ribbon with picot edge. Piping at neck, shoulders, sleeve and waist. Back fastening with 12 flattened brass wire hooks, cotton loop at neck, sewn eyelets down back and metal loop at waist. Bodice lining has centre seam and darts either side with bones covered by tape. Oversewn seams at sides, armholes and shoulders, the others flattened. Dress all hand sewn.

Colour photograph of an Edwardian homestead built between 1888 and 1906. The image is of the front view of the house which has red brick, stonework, verandah and gable fretwork, a corrogated galvinised roof and two chimneys. In front of the house is a sun dial. The house is surrounded by garden.

Colour photograph of an Edwardian homestead built between 1888 and 1906. The image is of the side view of the house which has red brick, stonework, verandah and gable fretwork, a corrogated galvinised roof and two chimneys. The house is surrounded by lawn and garden.

Dimensions

Width

960 mm

Depth

1400 mm

Production

Possibly made

  • 1845-1855

Notes

This dress may have been made in Uralla or Armidale. The white muslin used in its manufacture was possibly imported from India for the European market. The dress's design is quite plain and discreet by the standard of contemporary English fashion, and may have been copied from an everyday costume. Characteristic of this period are the wide sleeves, self-piped high neckline and flounced, embroidered skirt. The bodice is lined with white cotton and has a muslin-gathered overfront toward the centre waist, anchored by 5 horizontal rows of stitching. It is secured at the back by flat wire hooks and round eyelets. The dress is well made, using high quality fabric.

History

Notes

This dress is one of a number of costumes and accessories relating to the women of Saumarez Homestead over a 130 year period, and was donated to the Museum in 1981. It had been found at the bottom of a trunk in a bathroom at Saumarez Homestead.

The dress dates to the mid nineteenth century, as is evidenced by the style of the dress, including the high neckline, full skirt and wide sleeves. It is believed that the dress was worn by either Helen Brydon, who married in the late 1840s, or Mary Hannah Cobb White, who married in 1853, which would correspond to the date of this dress.

Helen Brydon (1814-1890), married John Fletcher in the late 1840s and settled at Ooranbymby (also known as Urandunbil), Uralla. Helen had three children of whom Margaret Fletcher was the only girl. Margaret (Maggie) married Francis John White on 11 May 1881 and moved to his property, Saumarez, where she resided until her death in 1936. Margaret (Maggie) had not been close to her mother, as is evidenced in various examples of Margaret's correspondence to Francis prior to their marriage: '…of course it is I know not right to say anything about one's mother but still she has been and is a most unnatural mother to me, for whenever she can in any way hurt my feelings by saying unkind things she never loses a chance. I really think the true reason is she is jealous of my father's and my brothers' affection for me for I have noticed that whenever they are very nice to me she is doubly bitter against me…' (Philp 1988).

It is possible that the dress had been worn by Mary Hannah Cobb White on her marriage to Francis White (d 1875) at St Mary, West Maitland, 6 July 1853. Mary was Margaret's mother-in-law, and was believed to have been close to Margaret (personal correspondence, blue file). Margaret had married Mary's eldest son and it was the first wedding in the family. Margaret later spent several of her pregnancies with her mother-in-law (note on object file).

REF:
Fletcher, Margaret, letter to Francis White, 12 August 1880, in Anne Philp (ed), 'The Ladies of Saumarez', Kangaroo Press Pty Ltd, Kenthurst, 1988

Source

Credit Line

Gift of Anne Philp, 1982

Acquisition Date

25 August 1982

Cite this Object

Harvard

Wedding dress possibly worn by the mother or mother-in-law of Margaret White (nee Fletcher) 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 29 July 2021, <https://ma.as/197103>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/197103 |title=Wedding dress possibly worn by the mother or mother-in-law of Margaret White (nee Fletcher) |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=29 July 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}