Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Pretties from the Past

Milliner's shop, Colonial Williamsburg
The dolls preparing their tiny but oh-so-elegant and fashionable
wardrobe for holiday festivities.

Our entire family was in Williamsburg a couple of weeks ago to enjoy (for the very first time!) the Grand Illumination festivities.  Ashley will be sharing a report of that shortly, but in the meantime, here's a little collection of pictures from our obligatory visit(s) to the Margaret Hunter Shop. As is tradition with Colonial Williamsburg (a modern tradition, not a colonial one, that is!), the shop front was bedecked with an evergreen wreath embellished by the ladies of the shop and designed to reflect the trades practiced within it. This year's wreath included two adorable little fashion dolls in their cardinal red cloaks, a set of pockets, some beribboned straw hats, and a cute little red and white muff.

Christmas decorations at Colonial Williamsburg

In front of the large windows of the shop were smaller wreaths suspended by red ribbons and very simply adorned with red cloth hearts. Aren't they really cute?

Christmas decorations at Colonial Williamsburg

Inside, we found the ladies hard at work on a new bedgown one afternoon. It's made of a purple and white spotted cotton, a resist print that looks strikingly similar to the one pictured in Walton's famous Plucking the Turkey (1776). It will be quite lovely when finished and it got me thinking that we really don't see enough spotted cottons amongst re-enactor and costumer reproduction eigtheenth-century clothing!

Milliner's shop, Colonial Williamsburg

As usual, the counters of the shop were ladden with all sorts of goodies, from this elegant fashion doll presiding over some wares,...

Milliner's shop, Colonial Williamsburg

...to this striped silk child's gown and striped infant stays,...

Milliner's shop, Colonial Williamsburg

...to this hand-quilted velvet pudding cap, which I never tire of seeing.  It is copied from an original made of cotton velvet in the CW collection (acc. no. 1952-55).

Milliner's shop, Colonial Williamsburg

Dressed in a stunning silk ensemble and gauze cap, Miss Emma was perched close by the window to catch the last of the afternoon sun, hard at work on some ruffles and looking like a period painting herself!

Milliner's shop, Colonial Williamsburg


Maureen (Mairin O'Cadhla) said...

I wrote a reasearch paper on Elizabethan Fashion Dolls some years ago. I really admired the colonial ones and how they were dressed, very cute and accurate. Having visited Colonial Williamsbug as a child, I know it had a profound effect of my future reenactment interests, I hope your children found the town as enchanting.
Though I must be educated on the use and specifics of a pudding hat.

Rebecca said...

Hi Maureen! A pudding cap was something like a baby helmet, if you will. As you can see, it's padded and quite soft, and babies just learning to walk would wear one to prevent those head bumps and bruises that inevitably result from the combination of uncertain feet and hard, unforgiving floors! It's a darling little cap, isn't it?

Kathleen said...

Love the dolls! My daughter just received an American Girl fashion doll for her Elizabeth. She liked your pictures of the shop. Thanks for sharing!

The Dreamstress said...

Sigh. I love reading posts like this, but at the same time they make me so very, very envious! I'm so far from all these pretties!

I particularly love Miss Emma at the window. She does look like a painting! And I'm sure I recognise the extent garment her outfit is based on. The silks of it and the child's dress are just drool-worthy

Rebecca said...

Kathleen - Both my sister and I first fell in love with history through the American Girls dolls, and with historical fashion through our first visit to this shop over 20 years ago. I vividly remember seeing fashion dolls like those (perhaps they're the same ones, who knows?!) on display there and being in awe of them. I'm so pleased to hear your daughter has enjoyed the same experience! Have you taken her to visit Williamsburg?

Dreamstress - I agree, those silks are to die for! I've been searching for a decent stripe for a while and they're surprisingly difficult to find, so that makes me appreciate these even more! Out of curiosity, do you happen to recall the source for Emma's outfit?
(PS - I *love* your blog name!!)