Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

Lady with book W

Shall I read you a story?

Lady with book back

London Stereographic & Photographic Company

This is a really lovely 1860s image, showing a lady with a very full skirt and the drop-shouldered bodice so popular during that decade. She is seated, holding a book in her left hand and nothing in the right – although it looks like she is pointing. I think she was just holding her hand funny. She has bracelets on each wrist and a long necklace that appears to match them. She also has some type of chain necklace with something – perhaps a clock – hanging about mid bodice.

Also of note are the lovely pleats at her waistline, and also the pointed yoke of the skirt. I haven’t seen anything like that in my travels through antique photographs. The pleats are lovely as they are doubled on top of each other with wide spacing in between the sets. This spacing likely gave her skirt a nice smooth appearance. Her bodice appears to have been gathered onto the skirt yoke and has large rosettes on it. It is rather unusual.

Finally, you will see that she is wearing a beaded hair net on the very back of her head. Her hair is styled in the typical fashion, glossy from oil or pomade, and then covered once styled.

The photograph was made by the London Stereoscopic & Photographic Company in Cheapside, England.

2 thoughts on “Lady with a book

  1. I love reading your description of her dress:)


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      I have since learned these are called double box pleats. Plus, most of the “experts” I showed this to had never seen a yoked skirt like that. The consensus was that the bodice is a gathered fan front which was popular in the 1850s. I’m now wondering if she remade the dress.


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