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Women's Clothing - Blue Silk & Velvet Jacket and Skirt, circa 1868-72

From the Collection of Kew Historical Society Inc Level 1, Kew Court House 188 High Street Kew Victoria

Two-piece royal blue heavy silk dress comprised of a tightly waisted top that extends below the waist at the front and the back, and a floor-length skirt. The full skirt and the sculpted fabric that is part of the top are designed to cover a bustle. The elaborately styled bodice is joined with fabric-covered buttons at centre front. The bodice is distinctively styled with the use silk velvet banding and tassles that extend the woven silk webbing. The outfit is in excellent condition apart from some wear on the velvet and the buttons.
127.0 cm (centre back) 30.0 cm (waist, flat) (top) 133 cm (centre back) 30.0 cm (waist, flat) (Skirt)
Object Registration
women's clothing, australian fashion, costumes, dresses
Historical information
Joseph Butterworth COOMBS (1842-1901), was an accountant who founded a successful mercantile trading company. At the time of his marriage to Caroline Mary MICHEL in 1969, Coombs had already purchased 10 acres of Studley Park. The acreage included land on the west of Fenwick Street that extended along lower Stawell Street to the corner of Yarra Street, all of it connected directly to the Yarra environs. A right of way to Studley Park Road was on the title, though Coombs went on to purchase more land, some of which faced Studley Park Road. In addition to owning the Studley Park acreage, Coombs later acquired 1,201 acres of land abutting the Acheron River. While retaining the Kew property he became a Taggerty Councillor and was Shire President for a time. J.B. Coombs died at Acheron Station in 1901 (aged 59 years). A few months after, tenders were called to repair the Kew dwelling, the Fenwick Street property now appearing in records with the name ‘Hope Mansell’. Caroline Coombs remained at Hope Mansell until she died in 1924, survived by three sons and five daughters. Not long after her death, advertisements appeared for the sale of the Studley Park land. The sale seems to have been a mechanism for distribution of the Estate, as the following year the original 10 acre holding was transferred to members of the family. The eldest daughter Mabel married William Younger who, with his brother Alexander, developed Younger and Mackie Courts, both south of Studley Park Road. [Research: Kerry Fairbank]
When Made
In 1961, the granddaughter of Joseph and Caroline Coombs, Mabel Isola (Younger) Grattan, donated ten 19th century dresses and parasols to the Kew Historical Society. The costumes, now known as the 'Coombs Collection', are the earliest recorded items of clothing to enter the Society's collection. Each of the items in the Coombs Collection, of which this item forms a part, is historically, aesthetically and socially significant. As a collection, the costumes includes outstanding examples of morning wear, day dresses, wedding dresses, and clothing accessories, providing evidence of outstanding dressmaker skills in Victoria during the mid to late Victorian period.
Last updated
18 Jun 2019 at 12:08AM