10769.7 | Dress (toy)
1862, 19th century
Gift of E. Portia MacKenzie, 1962 (Emma Carleton Jack Memorial Collection)
This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum
Keys to History
Lady Blanche Paulet doll's ball gown exemplifies the fashion of the early 1860s for decorations of glaringly contrasted colours and materials. The skirt of the white tulle gown is trimmed with a wide, puffed band decorated with vertical strips of turquoise organdy and applied fronds of metallic tinsel and furled leaves. Beneath, a stiff organdy petticoat helps to maintain the fullness of the skirt. Cut low off the shoulder, the back-opening corsage is edged with machine-made lace, and the short sleeves are trimmed with blue silk fringe. The matching tulle bertha, a deep falling collar or shawl worn around the shoulders and over the low neckline, is adorned with blue silk fringe, rosettes and imitation pearls. A Swiss-style belt of blue, moiré silk accentuates the narrow waist. A string of pearls, white silk slippers and a headdress decorated with turquoise organdy and imitation pearls complete the ensemble.
A silver paper fan and a beadwork bouquet holder were part of Lady Blanche's evening ensemble to accompany this dress.
Formal social events such as balls or receptions called for dresses with low necklines and short sleeves.
Formal balls began very late in the evening and often carried on until the early hours of the morning.
In order to keep track of requests from admirers at a ball, young ladies carried a card to inscribe the names of their partners for each dance.