II-123034 | Lady Van Horne as "A Colonial Dame," Montreal, QC, 1898, costumed for Chateau de Ramezay Ball, Montreal, QC, 1898

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Lady Van Horne as "A Colonial Dame," Montreal, QC, 1898, costumed for Chateau de Ramezay Ball, Montreal, QC, 1898
Wm. Notman & Son
1898, 19th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
25 x 20 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  informal (1120) , Photograph (77678) , portrait (53878)
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Keys to History

Lady Van Horne and her sister-in-law were part of the next set, "Explorers, Discoverers and Visitors." Lady Van Horne came as a "colonial dame" in this grey silk damask dress with pink satin underskirt and trim. The garment, now in the McCord collection, shows fine construction and finishing details. It has a label from Lord and Taylor, New York.

Obtaining a costume from the United States was a practice that irritated those who felt the business created by such an event should at least go to local trade. Controversy always abounded about the economic effects of these balls. While they stimulated the economy, they also encouraged conspicuous consumption. After all, garments were created and purchased for a single wearing. A more selfless argument justified the wave of spending by the fact that local department stores, tailors, dressmakers, hairdressers, dancing instructors, florists and photographers would reap benefits from such an event. Lady Van Horne's sister-in-law's costume, also in the McCord, bears the label of a local dressmaker, Miss K. Cunningham.

Dress worn by Lady Van Horne as a Colonial Dame, Montreal, 1898 [photograph] [on line]

  • What

    Lady Van Horne's dress and fan are in the McCord collection.

  • Where

    Unlike the other guests, Lady Van Horne was photographed by Notman in her own home.

  • When

    Lady Van Horne's dress and fan were donated to the McCord in 1970.

  • Who

    The former Adaline Hurd was married to Sir William Van Horne, president of the Canadian Pacific Railway and perhaps the wealthiest Montreal resident. He did not attend the ball.