The Spencer Sisters! Pair of 'baby' Regency spencers
Well! This pair of spencers for little sisters have been 'well loved'! They are certainly not in good condition. Having said this, I had to examine them, and actually bid to almost twice the price I am selling them for, and have the auctioneer invoice to prove it [if any of you are interested!] Why? First because it is so very unusual to find two matching child spencers in any condition. And second, becuase they are made of Georgian yellow [see my Blog entitled 'Take 2 Gowns' and scroll down to the sub-section: 'Back to the beginning - Georgian Yellow' to read about my passion for this colour] The bidding went very high indeed.
I am dating the spencers to circa 1810-15, and you can see very similar spencer & riding jackets for women in Volume 1 of the Kyoto Costume Institute book, 'Fashion' pages 168-176 [See The Study for full references] Button and trims with a military influence being the key to decoration of this time.
The smaller spencer is the one with most harm - the sleeves have been removed. Oh dear. I do not know when, but the arm holes have been hand sewn under to neaten the edges and the delightful ruffles hide it. It makes up for the disappointment with the delightful chenille motif collar and the profuse buttons which go all the way from front to back and are completely hand made. Add to that a delicious toggle of silk thread at each side and you will be charmed. You see this on my 'baby' mannequin, [chest 23"] and it is too large, but not that much. For a small child then.
The larger spencer has exactly the same buttons placed in the same way, and does have her sleeves, with large tucks to the tops. This one has a high neck with piped edges that make it curly around the neck, but sadly the silk in-between is completely shattered. There is similar shattering at the sleeve cuffs. This one is shown on my larger mannequin with a 26" chest and it fits well.
Please read the condition report below. These are more of rarity and historic interest than fine display items. There is lovely provenance which I will write about eventually, and the Blog will be called 'Abbotts Ann' which is a tiny thatched cottage village in Hampshire.
In addition to the condition issues mentioned above, the spencers have been weel used. One gets the impression of two sisters who were not quite as lady-like as they should have been!
Each has most of it's original ribbon ties and are fully lined. Most of the stitching is beautifully Regency, but I think the sleeve ruffles may have been re-sewn onto the bodice of the smaller one when the sleeves were removed. There are pale stains, not horrid at all, but they give the impression of being used frequently. And they probably were!