top of page
Height of Fashion! Crinoline era day cap of Broderie Anglaise

Height of Fashion! Crinoline era day cap of Broderie Anglaise

Mary Ireland collection - see Blog

I sat and pondered this adorable cap last night, and realised that it is around 160 years old. What a privilege it is to examine antique clothing!

During the 1850's. a 'new form' of embroidery developed that many ladies could work in their own home, producing very pleasing results. This embroidery, called Broderie Anglaise, was clearly not new. Cutwork and punched work had been known for generations before and used together with other embroidery techniques to create most complex designs. These required a great deal of skill and time to complete. Broderie Anglaise was faster, and although I wouldn't like to claim any skill personally in edging all those tiny holes, ladies of the time found it easier to produce professional results. 

So, at the exact time of the development of the crinoline skirt, forwards marched the Broderie Anglaise accessory! This fashion craze went on through the later 'back focussed' crinoline skirts of the 1860's. Strangely, not many have survived from this period. Endless machine made examples survive of the late Victorian era, but these do not compare at all with the completely hand made and rather fussy crinoline period styles.

This beauty is meant to be worn by a lady indoors, or beneath an outdoor bonnet. There is a single flounce to the forehead, and then multi-flounces at the sides to cover her ears. Four each side, graduated so that the flounces all show individually. Beneath the side flounces we have two lappet ended ties that would fasten under the chin.

Behind all the facial fuss, there is a very curvy, deep band that goes around the head. This holds the large, rounded cap back that has a needle-lace centre to finish!

At the centre back neck, another set of narrower lappet ending ties, that actually adjust the size to fit, and then tie into a pretty bow.

I hope that after reaching this historic age, no-one will buy it to actually wear. But to place on a head block the circumference is approx 21.5". The best fun when collecting antique caps and bonnets is to research the hairstyles of the period. There is always a reason for the shaping!

Please read the condition report below. Also, please note that I used blue tissue to show you the large cap back. The cap is all white.


    For her 170 years she appears as fresh as a daisy. Just lovely and white. There are a few pale age spots of no consequence [but easy to soak in cold water if you want to].

    There are some loving repairs, probably undertaken by Mrs Ireland herself. However the repairs are very good and you really have to look for them amongst all of the profuse design.

    I love her.

bottom of page