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Dress - Afternoon dress

From the Collection of Brighton Historical Society First Floor Brighton Arts and Cultural Centre (Old Brighton Town Hall) Corner Carpenter and Wilson Streets Brighton Victoria

A salmon (pale orange pink) corded silk afternoon dress with orange beaded embellishments, consisting of a bodice and skirt from c.1890.
The bodice features a high standing collar with triple pleated bone silk chiffon trim along the top line, under the chin. This same chiffon is also secured in two pieces gathered and secured under the collar and and at the waist adding volume over the bust line and partially obscuring the jacket closing. The chiffon is secured at the side into the main fabric of the bodice by the beaded embellishment. The pink seed beads are sewn in lines of five beads one after the other creating a diagonal design that tapers from the shoulder to the waist. The bodice is boned around the front and back and secured down the centre font by nineteen hook and eyes and additional cotton tapes. Further beading details the bottom centre front and base line of the bodice. The shoulders have been repaired with replacement fabric to match, from our records it appears that the repair work was performed in circa 1974 but no record exists of the original shoulder design and if the repair was an exact copy of the original. The repaired shoulders feature a small frill around the shoulder yoke and top of the arm. The sleeve is fitted and three quarter finishing just below the elbow. The base of the sleeve is also trimmed with the pink bead design and bone three pleat chiffon trim. The back of the bodice features shaped panels contouring the jacket neatly in at the waist and then splitting and splaying out over the fullness of the skirt. The skirt appears to have been floor or ankle length held at the waist by a wide waistband. The skirt openings have been altered from the original currently featuring two openings secured by press studs. The skirt is gathered to the waistband at front and back creating fullness. The lower part of the skirt features the same pink bead embellishment and additional beaded flowers and diagonal point edge detail.
Object Registration
clara miller, mr james bell, woolbrook, septimus miller, henry 'money' miller, findon, gwendoline miller, cantala, ronald miller, circa 1890
Historical information
Clara Miller nee Bell (1867 - 1910) was the only daughter of Mr James Bell a local shire Councillor and prominent family of Woolbrook, Teesdale, near Geelong. Clara was also the first wife of prominent businessman, racehorse owner, racing identity and pastorialist Septimus Miller (1854 - 1925). Septimus Miller was the sixth child of seven children to Henry 'Money' Miller and Eliza Miller nee Mattinson. 'Money' Miller was a well known financier and politician and reputedly one of Australia's wealthiest people, the family home was Findon . Clara and Septimus married in 1888, and one daughter Gwendoline (1889 - 1902) who died at a young age of Diabetes. In 1889 the family moved to their new house 'Cantala' in Dandenong Rd Caulfield. Clara died in 1910 and Septimus remarried, Helen nee Henderson, and had a son Ronald (1915 - 1990). Upon Clara's death some of her clothes and those of Gwendoline were passed to members of Clara's family.
When Made
This day suit was owned and worn by Clara Miller nee Bell in Melbourne in circa 1890.
Last updated
9 Oct 2018 at 11:56AM