19th century, 19th century clothing, Ackermann's Repository, fashion, fashion plates, Federal style, Research, resources
Spencers are not unlike bonnets, in my mind. They’re more work than a bonnet, sure, but compared to the layer cake that is an English gown, a Spencer is a batch of cupcakes.
I’ve fondled more silks than I may care to admit (oh, remnant table, how I love thee), and often picked up and put down a small length because it was patterned. Not enough for a gown, just enough for a Spencer. But Spencers are always solid.
It’s a Homer-quality forehead-slapping moment.
Not only are there extant cotton roller-print Spencers, and wild printed cotton Spencer ensembles in North American collections, there’s print evidence of patterned silks for Spencers. Somehow, until I came across this plate and the description in Ackermann’s, I could not make the leap from cotton to silk.
Despite the existence of this.
My sole defense is that one patterned Spencer is still a zebra among horses.
But additional evidence, in the form of recommendations for spring in Ackermann’s? The zebra’s looking a little more like a horse.
Want more Ackermann’s? You know you do. The links are better sorted here.
Many, many thanks to Mr B for the tip!
Alden O'Brien said:
Well…I’m not nitpicking or anything, just sharing: I know of two spencers in a private collection that are patterned. one is a blue (almost purple) and white checked China-weight silk (the checks are maybe, oh, 3/4 inch as memory serves). The other is a yellow and pale spring green figured sarsnet, from the mid-teens I’d guess based on the trim and little sleeve puffs and so on. If that helps. Not saying it turns the zebra into a horse; it just suggests maybe there is a herd of zebras out there…FWIW.
Thanks for sharing! Are these in private collections?
Alden O'Brien said:
yes, a collection that often lends to various museum exhibits, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll share, don’t want to put it out in the wild universe of the Net, but this independent scholar is generous about sharing with colleagues.
Adding to the zebra herd …
How about this stripeish spencer in Germany
and this gorgeous one in Museu Textil in Spain
This stripe one sold by Augusta Auctions
This sold in teh UK
A silk stripe in Italy
I may be a little obsessed
There’s also the checked/velvet striped spencer in Regency Women’s Dress (from Old Sturbridge Village).