Historical information

This peignoir or morning gown is believed to have belonged to Mrs Thomas Anne Ward Cole, an early Brighton resident and wife of George Ward Cole. George Ward Cole was an early member of the Victorian Parliament and the family featured prominently in Melbourne Society in their time. They established a substantial home known as “St Ninians” at 10 Miller Street in 1841. The family reportedly entertained Melbourne’s first Royal visitor the Duke Of Edinburgh, Queen Victoria’s second son, at St Ninians in 1867. In later years St Ninians was subsequently subdivided and later demolished.

Physical description

A mid blue-green cotton and lace peignoir or morning gown, c.1860. The bodice starts at the neck with a clavicle height, rounded neckline with a turn down flat collar, and is finished with a cream lace frill next to the face. The sleeve starts at the natural shoulder line and its overall silhouette is reminiscent of a soft three quarter length imbecile sleeve constructed of four layers of alternating fabrics. At the shoulder, there is a blue-green flap, which crosses across the top and back of the shoulders towards the centre upper back in a 'v' shape. Here it finishes where it meets with the gathered top of the fabric that creates the train. Underneath this shoulder flap is a gathered, long cream frill that finishes just above the elbow. Underneath this frill is the full gathered blue-green sleeve. Finally falling from this a second gathered long cream frill finishes at the three quarter arm. The bodice buttons with five metal buttons from the neckline to just above the bust. Here it meets a heavily gathered front in two pieces, which falls with fullness to the floor. This full section is secured closed at the centre front with four hooks and eyes over the bust and then continues with shell buttons through the remainder of the garment.