Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Open Drawer Policy 3

The style of wearing the drawers over the bottom of the chemise is clearer in the late 1800s to early 1900s from the many photos and illustrations showing this. Most are from humorous or erotic sources.

The little brother points out the chemise hanging out.

One written source was .....

The Lady's Dressing Room 1892: The Indispensible Companion of Every Well-Bred Lady at the Close of the 19th Century by Baroness Staffe

Victorian London - Publications - Etiquette and Advice Manuals - The Lady's Dressing Room, by Baroness Staffe, trans. Lady Colin Campbell, 1893 - Part II (cont.)

"The Chemise.

If the chemise, the drawers, the little under-petticoat, and the slip-bodice could all be made to match, it would be in charmingly good taste. They should in that case all be of fine nainsouk or fine cambric, with embroideries or valenciennes. The prettiest chemise is cut out either round or heart- shape. A ribbon run in tightens it a little round the shoulders. It is also buttoned on the shoulder. The neck and shoulders are edged with valenciennes or a light embroidery. The chemise must neither be too wide nor too long. It should not fill up needlessly either the stays or the drawers....."

An 1887 source is Eadweard Muybridge's photo study of a model dressing. WARNING! Some nudity ahead.

A reverse strip tease is shown in an 1895 cartoon The Temptation of St Anthony. The Saint doesn't show interest until the woman puts on sexy lingerie.

The French magazine La Vie Parisienne also showed the chemise as the undermost garment in the 1890s.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Open Drawer Policy 2

The chemise was the basic woman's undergarment for centuries with the garment that would become underpants arriving around the early 18oos. At the time of the 1850s -60s the drawers were two cloth tubes open at the inseam so that a woman could relieve herself without undressing. Some reenactors believe that the drawers should be worn under the chemise. They find that wearing the garments that way is easier for them. The period images and photos from the 1850s and 60s along with the sources quoted above show otherwise.

Two very early images from the Regency period appear to be copies. One is from The Progress of the Toilet by James Gillray before 1815 and the other a close copy, possibly from Germany.

One photo titled "Maison Close" from 1860 shows what appears to be the chemise over the drawers. It might be that these women are prostitutes or dancers or that the garment is a short petticoat mentioned in the "Gyp" 1861 account quoted earlier.

Several other period images that look like the chemise OVER the drawers may also be short petticoats.

PUNCH 1866

Other period images appear to show drawers right up to a woman's waist.


Daumier Print

Unknown date.

Of interest are period Patent illustrations from 1864 and 1865

and one for 1872

This photo is from Who Wore What?: Women's Wear 1861-1865 by Juanita Leisch and more clearly shows the drawers over the bottom of the chemise.

Open Drawer Policy 1800s ladies drawers.

One side study I got into is the stages of dress for women during the Civil war era. It really came from an argument with a nice lady over if the chemise was tucked into the open inseam drawers or worn over them. Some reenactor ladies wear their underwear in public as an educational program and they wear them incorrectly from the period sources that I have found.

First the period written sources.

I used Emile Zola's Nana and a corresponding English Translation as the period is the late 1860s and Zola was alive during that time.

NANA, 1880

Nana est un roman d'Émile Zola publié en 1880, le neuvième de la série Les Rougon-Macquart, traitant le thème de la prostitution féminine à travers le parcours d'une courtisane dont les charmes ont affolé les plus hauts dignitaires du Second Empire. L'histoire commence en 1868.

Chapter Five

".....Et il but d'un trait. Le comte Muffat et le marquis de Chouard l'avaient imité. On ne plaisantait plus, on était à la cour. Ce monde du théâtre prolongeait le monde réel, dans une farce grave, sous la buée ardente du gaz. Nana, oubliant qu'elle était en pantalon, avec son bout de chemise, jouait la grande dame, la reine Vénus, ouvrant ses petits appartements aux personnages de l'Etat. A chaque phrase, elle lâchait les mots d'Altesse Royale, elle faisait des révérences convaincues, traitait ces chienlits de Bosc et de Prullière en souverain que son ministre accompagne. Et personne ne souriait de cet étrange mélange, de ce vrai prince, héritier d'un trône, qui buvait le champagne d'un cabotin, très à l'aise dans ce carnaval des dieux, dans cette mascarade de la royauté, au milieu d'un peuple d'habilleuses et de filles, de rouleurs de planches et de montreurs de femmes. Bordenave, enlevé par cette mise en scène, songeait aux recettes qu'il ferait, si Son Altesse avait consenti à paraître comme ça, au second acte de la Blonde Vénus....."

"....Then he drank it off. Count Muffat and the Marquis de Chouard had followed his example. There was no more jesting now--the company were at court. Actual life was prolonged in the life of the theater, and a sort of solemn farce was enacted under the hot flare of the gas. Nana, quite forgetting that she was in her drawers and that a corner of her shift stuck out behind, became the great lady, the queen of love, in act to open her most private palace chambers to state dignitaries. In every sentence she used the words "Royal Highness" and, bowing with the utmost conviction, treated the masqueraders, Bosc and Prulliere, as if the one were a sovereign and the other his attendant minister. And no one dreamed of smiling at this strange contrast, this real prince, this heir to a throne, drinking a petty actor's champagne and taking his ease amid a carnival of gods, a masquerade of royalty, in the society of dressers and courtesans, shabby players and showmen of venal beauty. Bordenave was simply ravished by the dramatic aspects of the scene and began dreaming of the receipts which would have accrued had His Highness only consented thus to appear in the second act of the Blonde Venus...."

"...Cette fois, Nana ne se retourna point. Elle avait pris la patte de lièvre, elle la promenait légèrement, très attentive, si cambrée au-dessus de la toilette, que la rondeur blanche de son pantalon saillait et se tendait, avec le petit bout de chemise. Mais elle voulut se montrer sensible au compliment du vieillard, elle s'agita en balançant les hanches...."

"...This time Nana did not turn round. She had taken up the hare's-foot and was lightly manipulating it. All her attention was concentrated on this action, and she bent forward over her toilet table so very far that the white round contour of her drawers and the little patch of chemise stood out with the unwonted tension. But she was anxious to prove that she appreciated the old man's compliment and therefore made a little swinging movement with her hips...."

Next I had a French Canadian friend translate this passage from Corsets and Crinolines, Norah Waugh, Theater Arts/Methuen New York 4th printing.

French text by GYP, Souvenirs d'une Petite Fille (1927-28).

GYP was writing about her experiences in the 1860s

1861 Longchamps

"A big hubbub has occurred. It's an important prize. Women are climbing onto chairs. It's an ocean of hoopskirts that sway side to side, showing legs that at this time seem to me to be short and heavy, for the most part. Waists at this time, are without charm, too narrow between the too-well developed breasts and the too-big hips. This is explained by a deformation of the corset which makes them fashionable . . . At the end of the race, all the women brusquely lean forward, and the pressure of the hoopskirts against the chairs makes them sit up in back like a fan. Then we saw right up to the waist of the drawers which don't resemble each other like the legs . . . It's too hot and a majority of women don't wear the 'little skirt" between the drawers and the hoopskirt. I noticed, to my surprise, that which I had not before seen: little rags of material which hang ridiculously and pitifully. I pulled my uncle by the sleeve and showed him the objects of my astonishment. -What is this? -That said uncle in a somewhat discordant voice, is a chemise which comes out of open drawers. I repeated myself, more and more dumbfounded: -Open drawers . . . so, what good are drawers if they're open? Hearing uncle's brusque response, several women hurriedly got out of their chairs. I don't say "jumped" because, with the hard corsets, the whalebone stays, their movement lacked fluidity and rapidity."

I understand that small children didn't wear open drawers at that time explaining GYP's question.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Alamo Project

Coahuila Militia Flag

Not a "toy," not a scale model of the Alamo. Foam stock, wood dowels, white glue, beach sand, unwoven rope, and acrylic paint. This Alamo is for my Conte Collectibles plastic Alamo figures. Because they are plastic, I only "color code" them rather than risk a fully detailed paint job on flexible figures.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

More BMC conversions....

Variations on the basic BMC Meade's HQ

Friday, December 18, 2009

Kady C. Brownell

Illustration from a Newspaper story of Kady at New Berne

I've collected a good number of period photos and images of Kady C. Brownell who was the "Daughter Of The Regiment" of the First Rhode Island Detached Militia from April to August 1861.

There's some evidence that she was at The Battle of Bull Run in July 1861 and also at the Battle of New Berne, NC in March 1862. She was with the Fifth Rhode Island Battalion at the time. She and her Husband were home after April 1862 while Robert recovered from his New Berne wound.

Both she and her husband received pensions.

What's interesting here is that Robert's first wife Agnes didn't die in 1859 but moved west with her kids. Kady is buried here, but Robert is in a pauper's grave in Harrisburg PA. The engraving on the right of the grave marker is the Grand Army Of The Republic medal, NOT the Medal of Honor.

Here Robert and Kady pose for a post-war Grand Army Of the Republic benefit show.

Possibly Kady in 1861 with her hair cut short but parted in the center as women did at time.

Detail from James Walker's painting of the First Rhode Island

Engraving of Kady from Frank Moore's Women of the War 1866

Three views of Kady in her drill costume from 1870
She performed for a GAR benefit show in Bridgeport, Connecticut

I've been researching Kady on and off for over ten years. There's good evidence that she carried a small United States flag at the Battle of New Berne. The Fifth Rhode Island battalion was too small a unit to have Regimental colors. One of the officers had a small US flag and attached it to a stick. It was handed to Kady as the officers had no colorguard but Kady was sent to the rear when the Battalion went into the fight. Kady served as a nurse in the hospital after New Berne was taken and on the USS Cossack on the way back to New York in April 1862.