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II-122936
© McCord Museum
Photograph
Mrs. Louis de Lotbinière Harwood as the "Marquise de Lotbinière," costumed for Chateau de Ramezay Ball, Montreal, QC, 1898
Wm. Notman & Son
1898, 19th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
17 x 12 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
II-122936
© McCord Museum

Keys to History:

Mrs. Louis de Lotbinière Harwood attended the Chateau de Ramezay ball as "The Marquise de Lotbinière." She was admired for her prominent and "very effective" headdress, crowned with a black aigrette and blue and white ostrich feathers, which she described as "Louis XV Grande Tenue."

Mrs. Harwood's hemline, however was not nearly so impressive. Close examination of the photograph reveals a rather frayed edge; threads can be seen hanging to the left of her shoe. In fact, the overall silhouette of her dress is anything but 18th century; the style is very much in keeping with 1898. Such remodelling was frequently done, as confirmed by the reporter who stated that "a woman can unearth wonderful odds and ends of evening gowns and reconstruct them into a marvellous facsimile of something historic."

References
Toronto Sunday World, 2 January 1898.

What:

This fashionable evening gown has been remade to look vaguely 18th century for the "Marquise de Lotbinière" character.

Where:

The Notman studio used this terrace prop for many of its photographs of guests at the Chateau de Ramezay ball of 1898.

When:

In 1898 a bodice and sleeve similar to those worn by Mrs. Harwood were the height of fashion. 18th-century bodices had a far different shape.

Who:

The Lotbinière Harwood family could trace their ancestors back to the seigneur Pierre Rigaud de Vaudreuil.

© Musée McCord Museum