Sunday, 31 July 2011

Some Interesting Victorian Items

I am starting to feature some interesting Victorian items on the Misc page of my website, here are the first three items, a collapsable Opera hat or top hat, a farthingale and a miniature Etui in the shape of a Gladstone bag.

Victorian silk Opera top hats are so called as they can be easily collapsed flat to stow away safely, for example in an opera claokroom. These hats were invented in 1812 by Antoine Gibus in France when the fashion for wearing very tall hats in such places as the Opera became an annoyance to those seated behind the wearer…

The farthingale dates to about 1860 - thanks Glo for the help with the dating - flat fronted with a bell-shaped back to give the correct shape for the period. It is made of pink wool lined with cream silk with metal boning. It too collapses flat for storage. It is quite tatty, but as very few from the period survive it is an interesting piece for reference or study.

The miniature gladstone-style etui is very sweet, perfectly elegant yet eminently practical at the same time! I have seen a few ordinary 19th century handbags in the is style - all French - so although this was bought in the UK I suspect it to be French.


  1. Oh how fun was that? Thank you so much for sharing such fine, rare pieces of history!