Reserved... Gel... Extraordinary Victorian Beaded Mantle / Mantelet * Early 1880's

A french jet (black glass) extravaganza from one of the most opulent points in fashion history - the early 1880's. By this time, French influence in fashion had expanded and dominated the globe. The battle of the sexes was "on", and public socializing was imperative. The world's problems did not burden the elegant, the high society, the sublime ladies of the beau monde. The future held only promise. Couturiers were in high demand and no expense was spared. Women felt compelled to be dazzling and unfailingly wore lavish costumes to theatre, balls, sporting events and the like.

We are privileged to offer today a glorious textile specimen from this sparkling era in history. One of the finest and most ornate mantles we have seen. From a backdrop of black gross grain bursts a spectacular, hand-applied display of french jet beads. The design on the fabric is an elaborate, almost military motif. The sleeves of beaded mesh and fringe are incredibly intact and gloriously long - cascading to the waist. This formal evening mantle probably would have been one of two owned by a very elegant and wealthy woman, crafted and worn in the first half of the 1880's, when heavy adornments were very much in vogue.

This lovely piece, including the beading, is in remarkable original condition and missing only a very minor amount of the beads. It retains it's original silk lining, but has had a newer lining of what appears to be a gabardine blend added for strength and conservation.

Measures 15" circumference around the neck; 22" from the middle bottom of the collar to the bottom of the fringe in the back(3 1/2" of fringe); 28" from middle bottom of collar to bottom of fringe in the front (includes 3 1/2" of fringe). 14" across the shoulders in between the mesh sleeves. Closure in front is large hook and eye - one hook is missing.

Condition: Excellent antique condition - As expected with an antique piece, there is some evidence of it's age- a small area of fray on front shoulder and two 1/2" areas of edge fray along the seams (visible in the photos); the black gross grain has faded somewhat, and the black beading thread has faded and can be seen against the fabric. Overall, a spectacular antique textile!

Item ID: GC-1224

Gender: Female, Age Group: Adult, Color: Black, Size: Small

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Patricia Hanten, Chicago, IL   

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