M999.72.1 | Cape

 
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Cape
Henry Morgan & Co. Ltd
1895 - 1900, 19th century or 20th century
11 x 56 cm
Gift of Mme Huguette Fauteux Sicotte in memory of Mme Suzanne Mathieu
M999.72.1
© McCord Museum
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Description

This black velvet cape decorated with beaded floral motifs, was purchased at a Montreal department store. Its label, woven with gold thread, reads, "Colonial House, Henry Morgan & Co.," which suggests that the cape must have been bought in the new Henry Morgan & Co. building called Colonial House, rather than in the old building that had been near Victoria Square since 1845. The new store was built on Ste. Catherine Street in 1890.

When it moved, Morgan's was the biggest retail outlet in Canada. In 1895 it had 23 departments, including one for coats and shawls.

At the end of the 19th century, when tight waists were in fashion for women, clothes were usually made to measure. Also, women's clothes were rarely sold in department stores, except for some that were not made to measure, such as undergarments and coats. Coats, which generally did not need to be altered, were sometimes even made by department stores in their own workshops. So this cape could have been made in a Morgan's workshop.