MP-0000.25.935 | Ishbel Maria Coutts Majoribanks, Countess of Aberdeen, 1891

Photograph, glass lantern slide
Ishbel Maria Coutts Majoribanks, Countess of Aberdeen, 1891
Anonyme - Anonymous
1891, 19th century
Silver salts on glass - Wet collodion process
8 x 10 cm
Gift of Mr. Stanley G. Triggs
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  female (19035) , Photograph (77678) , portrait (53878)
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Keys to History

The clothing factories of the second half of the 19th century manufacture mostly men's ready-to-wear items and ladies' clothing that require few adjustments (capes, skirts etc.).

Made-to-measure dresses and men's suits are still valued by the elite as a means to display their wealth and refinement. Skilled workers such as the tailors, embroiderers, shoemakers and leather toolers who make clothes, shoes and leather goods for individual patrons can still make a living, but their future is uncertain. Soon, mass-production methods take over the clothing industry.

Source : Brand New and Wonderful: The Rise of Technology [Web tour], by Jacques G. Ruelland, Université de Montréal (see Links)

  • What

    Although they are considered luxury items, embroidered garments are often worn at home by the wealthy women of Montreal, at least until the 20th century, when the fashion changes.

  • Where

    The women's magazines of the day often urge their readers to take up embroidery, and offer them a wide variety of printed patterns to help them do so. In 1886, Thérèse de Dillmont, a Viennese aristocrat, publishes the Encyclopedia of Needlework. Translated into 17 languages, some 2 million copies are sold.

  • When

    At the end of the 19th century, embroidery thread is sold in a wide variety of colours. Fabrics such as cotton and bunting are also widely available.

  • Who

    The woman in this photograph is Lady Aberdeen, or Ishbel Maria Coutts Marjoribanks Gordon, the wife of Sir John Campbell Hamilton Gordon, the Earl of Aberdeen, who was Governor General of Canada from 1893 to 1898.