Friday, 14 January 2011

my Edwardian family in mourning clothes

A photograph of my family taken on the day of their mother’s funeral in 1909. This branch of the family were coal merchants living in Cheshire.[1] The two women at the foreground appear to be the younger siblings, maybe twins, and are wearing almost identical blouses. The woman to the left of the picture has a centre front seam down the bib of her blouse indicating that there was not enough material to cut a whole bib.
There are two married women in the middle row of older sisters, they wear individual blouses with finer details, and perhaps they were purchased from a department store. Only one of the women wears a narrow strip of fabric around her neck and this is possibly a piece of crape or a cheaper crape substitute. Lou Taylor explained that in the first half of the twentieth century the fashion for crape, a dull crinkled fabric, filtered down from the aristocracy to the working classes.[2]

[1] Conversation with Mary Foreman, March 2010
[2] Taylor, Lou. Mourning Dress: a Costume and Social History. London: George Allen And Unwin, 1983

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