|Corset, sateen/linen/metal, England, c.1750. Powerhouse Museum, Sydney - A8211-33|
I'm currently in the process of writing a blog post about the history of corsetry for the Powerhouse Museum on behalf of the Australian Dress Register. As a result I was able to go down to the basement and have a look at all the extant stays and corsets in the museum's collection.
As Australia only began to be colonised by Europeans at the beginning of the long nineteenth-century (the first fleet reached Australian shores at Botany Bay in January 1788), most of the museum's collection is from the nineteenth century to present. During the 1980s the museum bought up a great deal of eighteenth century textiles (which I may blog about later), however these stays were donated by the Australian underwear company Berlei Hestia. I wasn't able to view the acquisition records so before its donation to the museum I don't know of any other provenance. It would be interesting to know how Berlei came to own it - maybe someone brought it with them to Australia as an heirloom, or maybe they just bought it at auction, who knows?
"The corset probably began life as a high quality garment, possibly for formal dress. It is likely that it was much worn and passed on either into lesser service as a second best or onto servants or other persons. This corset is anomalous in that it has no shoulder straps. It is possible that stomacher of this corset was joined at a later date to make a simpler back fastening."
|Boning detail, buckram, centre front seam and yarn loops.|
|Centre back fastening with bound eyelets|
|Lower tabs bound with leather|
|Leather trim around the top of the stays|
I hope this has been interesting to anyone who is interested in eighteenth century fashion, costume design or for anyone who is planning on make their own set of mid century fully boned stays. If you want more information here's the link to the stays on the Powerhouse Museum website: http://from.ph/196330
And don't forget to check out the Australian Dress Register!