Apr 3 2012, 6:54 pm
I have a huge admiration for all writers (especially since I struggle daily to be one). Harriet Beecher Stowe (the CDV photo of her is from 1863) garners such respect. Born in Litchfield, Connecticut on June 14, 1811, she was the seventh of 13 children & whose mother died when Stowe was only five years old. She received schooling from her older sister (Catherine, a teacher at a nearby seminary) and on January 6th, 1836, Harriet married Calvin Ellis Stowe, a widower and professor at the seminary. Her husband was an ardent critic of slavery, and the Stowes supported the Underground Railroad, temporarily housing several fugitive slaves in their home. They had seven children together, including twin daughters. On March 9, 1850, Stowe wrote to the editor of the weekly antislavery journal National Era, that she planned to write a story about the problem of slavery: “I feel now that the time is come when even a woman or a child who can speak a word for freedom and humanity is bound to speak… I hope every woman who can write will not be silent.” Shortly afterwards, in June 1851, when she was 40, the first installment of her story was published in the National Era. Originally titled “The Man That Was A Thing”,she soon changed it to “Life Among the Lowly”. Installments were published weekly (from June 5, 1851, to April 1, 1852). Because they were so well received, her installments were then bound together in book form on March 20, 1852 & retitled Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The rest, as they say, is history. Her work went on to sell three hundred thousand copies that first year and has been credited with mobilizing antislavery sentiment in the North. Stowe was praised, honored, and respected by millions both during her lifetime and in the years following. Her moral and theological views, and her domestic discourse was progressive, indeed radical, in nineteenth-century America (Oxford Companion).
Apr 3 2012, 1:45 pm
Apr 2 2012, 10:03 pm
Carriage parasols were popularized by Queen Victoria in the 1850s and 1860s and continued in popularity through the nineteenth century. They were distinguished for their size and carried as decorative accessories which served some function of shading the face from the sun as well as for flirtation. The claw and ball motif found on the handle was also a popular motif in furniture legs of the Queen Anne and Chippendale styles. This particular representation of a bird’s claw grasping a ball is thought to be derived from the Chinese dragon’s claw holding a crystal ball or jewel (Metropolitan Museum).
Apr 2 2012, 9:45 pm
This stunning 1862 piece in pale pink silk was named after Madame de Pompadour, who purportedly invented it for the purposes of coquetry. The top could be tilted in various angles for flirtation and protection from the sun. The embossed floral motif on the lining edge of this parasol is a lovely accompaniment to the marquise.
Apr 2 2012, 8:21 pm
Parasols reached miniatrue sizes in the late 1850s and 1860s. They were a frivolity which served no function but acted as an adornment around the bonneted head. Parasol canopies echoed the skirt shape and tiered crinoline bands of the period, and like the flounces of the period, the fabric was woven à la disposition.
The folding parasol (this one in brown silk) was the single most common 1860’s American parasol made. And the ivory silk with black overlay would have been a very expensive parasol. It is unique in the quality of its materials and the quality of the handle. The runner and joint cover are both of ivory which is very rare, and the level of detail on the carving is exemplary, including the grains of the wood at the oval flat end of the stick. This 1869 black silk ruffled parasol is an early product produced by Stern Brothers which was established in 1867. The placement of the ruffles is very coquettish and shows a French influence, which the company, among others, undoubtedly popularized in New York. C.1855. A folding parasol with a maroon silk satin cover. Folding parasols were easy to carry and store when not in use. The stick on the maroon is made out of beautiful glossy brown wood and the ferrule is made out of ivory. The original tassle on the stick remains, and black silk fringe hangs dwon from around the ferrule and cover edge. The ribs are cane and metal. And the length should be no more than 28″.
The purple parasol is made of handmade bobbin Chantilly lace & named this after the city of Chantilly, France. Though called Chantilly lace, most of the lace which bore this name were actually made in Bayeux, France and Geraardsbergen (now in Belgium). Chantilly lace is known for its fine, abundant detailing, the pattern outlined in cordonnet (a flat untwisted strand) and were made of silk,the use of a half-and-whole stitch as a fill to achieve the effect of light and shadow in the pattern,which was generally of flowers. All parasols during this time period were delicate, fragile & expensive (Metropolitan Museum).