M991X.5.168 | Corset

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John Henry Walker (1831-1899)
1850-1885, 19th century
Ink on paper on supporting paper - Wood engraving
6.6 x 4.2 cm
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Figure (1339) , Figure (1339) , Print (10661)
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Keys to History

During the 19th century, at the time of the industrial revolution and the democratization of fashion (notably, the advent of ready-to-wear clothes), the corset became widely-available alongside many other clothing accessories. From that point on, most women wore corsets.

Women of lesser means would normally make their own clothes, but they too would purchase their corsets rather than face the difficult challenge of making them. By the mid-1880s, women were able to purchase corsets through the modern, department store catalogues.

  • What

    During the 1870s, women's skirts became more tight-fitting. Corsets, therefore, grew longer. Viewed from the front, this style of corset gave the impression of a spoon. It was worn until the end of the 1880s.

  • Where

    John Henry Walker created this print. His studio was located in Montréal.

  • When

    During the 19th century, the design of corsets and the materials used to make them underwent many changes due to shifting social trends and technological advancements.

  • Who

    This print was undoubtedly made for a corset advertisement. The artist, John Henry Walker, illustrated several of these throughout his career. He also did illustrations for numerous commercial catalogues, magazines, books and government reports.