1864 Silk corset, made to be worn over a chemise. Made in France or Britain. Blue silk lined with linen, edged with machine-made lace, reinforced with whalebone, metal, lined with cotton twill. The front has fastenings and the back has lacings. There are fewer bones in the back of the corset than the front and none over the hips.
Trimmed at the top edge with a narrow band of machine-made lace. Stiffened with whalebone and machine-stitched with an incised swivel latch to lock the busk fastening. Boned at the centre front, back and diagonally from the side to back and sides to front. The boning is hand-stitched into place. Metal eyelets. Lined with cotton twill. The corset reaches the top of the hips and is gored at the bust and hips.
- Credit Line: Given by the Burrows family
- Museum number:T.169-1961
- The donors of this corset linked it to a 1864 marriage in the family.
- Victoria and Albert Museum, London, U.K.
During the 19th century, corsets were made from a variety of materials and shapes changed often. Sometimes breasts were pushed up and almost over the top and waists could be tiny and other curves were emphasized. By the end of the 19th century, corsets weren’t laced so tightly because wide crinolines created the illusion of tiny waists. There are fewer bones in the back of the corset than the front and none over the hips.
From the late 1840s to the 1860s skirts were full and bell-shaped, at which point corsets were relatively short and not particularly tightly laced, since the massive skirts made all waists look proportionally small. The whalebones press into the waist to shape the hipline into an extravagant curve, to flatter and support the fashionable cage crinoline. In the 1860s women relied on voluminous skirts, in addition to corsets, to make their waists appear small.
The wearer of this corset could dress without help because the steel ‘split busk’ fastens in front. The front fastening was invented in 1829 but did not become common until the 1850s.
The corset was worn over the chemise and it moulded the figure of the wearer into the fashionable shape of the day. These shapes ranged from slender to curvaceous and everything in between during the 19th century. Like the chemise, the corset in the 19th century was made of a wider variety of materials, in this case blue silk lined with linen. It did not need to be very tightly laced, for the illusion of a small waist was created by the very wide circumference of the crinoline.1864 Blue Silk Corset, Made France Or Britain. #Victorian #Corset Click To Tweet