Shop Antique Costume

Late 18th Century to c. 1870s Antique Fashion Items.

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18th Century Wallet with Metal Threads, Appliqued Brocade and Tamboured Metal Threads


I think that this wallet was possibly made after the 1760s with ealier fabric and trim. This is largely due to the presence of tambour stitching; an embroidery style which didn’t reach Europe until the 1760s.

This gold brocade wallet has a wide metal thread bordering all sides. To the gold brocade another textile has been added, a mixed fabric which has metal threads incorporated into it, which you can feel as you run your fingers across it. On top of this there is an unusual mixture of fine metal thread which has been tamboured with a cotton/silk blue thread. There is a thick metal loop to fasten the wallet to, and the cloth button which it fastened around is now a little worn and the threads have come apart.

Measurements:- Length -7 1/2″ x 5″.    19cm x 12.5cm


When I bought this it had a modern lining to it, and poppers. I have gently removed this, but there remains two indentations where the poppers were. Please see the last mosaic, top left hand corner. The back of the brocade fabric has shattered, and flakes away whenever I handle it.

There are a couple of small marks, and a few loose threads, where the tambour stitching has begun to unravel.

So it has had some alterations over the years, but exactly what, when and how is difficult to define.

Hannah Bursnall
Hannah Bursnall (Owner of 1829 Dress). Aged 102, and with her great-grandson aged 4.

c.1829 Cotton Dress
c.1829 Cotton Print Wedding Dress
Front & Back 1820s Cotton Dress
Front & Back 1829 Dress
Details of 1829 Provincial Dress
Details of 1829 Provincial Dress


Late 1820s (likely 1829) Rural/Provincial Cotton Print Dress with Provenance £540

This is a very special dress. The provenance is fascinating. The lady that you see in the photo is Hannah Bursnall; the owner of this near 200 years old dress, in the early 1900s. {Apologies for the poor quality of the photograph.}

Apart from my love of provincial costume, the historian in me was delighted to see a dress from the late 1820s (more about the dating later), with a photograph of the original owner, and her name. Now it is mostly due to Hannah’s long life, that we are able to see so far back into the past, and thanks to 21st technology, I was able to find out quite a bit about her and her rural life in England.

Hannah Bursnall (also ‘Burshell’ or ‘Bursnell’ as her surname is also recorded) was born in Wymondham, Leicestershire, around 1805. She was to pass away at the age of around 105 in Skillington, Lincolnshire in 1909. Both of these villages are small and very close to one another; rural communities where everyone knew everyone else. Her maiden name was Pepper, and she had quite a few siblings. Her father was an agricultural Labourer as was her husband. By the time of the 1841 census, she had had 6 children, and had been married for 12 years, marrying at about the age of 24 in 1829.

Now I think that this dress was her wedding dress. She came from a background of hard, physical labour, often a hand to mouth existence, when a harvest could make or break families and villages. I cannot imagine for one minute that she kept many of her clothes down through the years. The fabric would have been used, the dresses she had may well have been passed to her daughters and altered numerous times. So why keep this one dress? The fabric is right for 1829, and although the style is possibly not the latest construction or fashion, with the apron drop front skirt, the sleeve treatment, with the pleating and decoration at the wrists is spot on for this time. The small collar (her parents certainly would not have had the cash for a pelerine white worked collar) again is perfect for the late 1820s.

When Hannah passed away in 1909, she was living with her daughter of 72 years of age. I found a wonderful article online about her in a newspaper from Australia, describing her 105th birthday. This article first appeared in the British ‘Daily Mail’. When asked what her recipe for old age was she is said to have replied “Get up early, work hard, and read the Bible.” According to this report her direct descendants added up to 102, she herself having had 14 children.

(As an aside, the village of Skillington had visits from a young boy in the 1640s, who was to grow up to be Sir Isaac Newton (info from Trevor Palmer’s booklet ‘A History of Skillington’. 2003).  He had some early schooling at a Dame School in the village, and 3 of his aunts lived at Skillington, so no doubt he visited them regularly too. Skillington is also mentioned in The Domesday Book of 1086.)

The Dress

This dress did have a few issues when it came to me. It had a long split in the skirt which I have mended. There were a few buttons on the sleeves missing (there should be 3 to each sleeve), so I carefully cut a piece of fabric from the inside seam allowance (these were left inches long at the top of the skirt so that it could be ‘turned’ if needed at some later date), and made 4 buttons with metal rings and wool as the others had been used. Now sadly the handsewn bars over on the other side of the sleeve for the buttons to close the sleeve at the wrists, have all disappeared. And although I tried to resew them, the fabric was simply too delicate and a little torn for me to do this to my satisfaction, so these are missing. The dress had some blu-tac on the sleeves, which was slowly and gently removed with water). The outside brown ties had torn, on one side, so I added a short length of tape to this; (colour matched as close as possible).

As mentioned it has a small collar, and a ruched bodice. It fastens at the front. Now fastening this dress is a bit of a challenge, and I do wonder if originally it had a belt. It needs pins to close the bodice front, then there is an inside waist tape to tie firmly around the waist, and then the skirt ties loop around and fasten at the back. But the waistband is not secure, so I do feel that something is missing (either something physical or my own knowledge). The dress is free from odour, and there are a few holes in the dress, but very minimal wear. Bust is very narrow at 31″.

c.1837-40 Dress
c.1837-40 Dress
1837-40 Victorian Cotton Print Dress
1837-40 Victorian Cotton Print Dress

Handmade Button Detail Late 1830s Dress
Handmade Button Detail Late 1830s Dress
Back View

Late 1830s Antique Victorian Cotton Print Dress – Superb Condition £310

This dress has a lovely wide collar, and beautiful self fabric buttons at the wrists. All I know of its history is that it hails from Devon, UK. It is beautifully sewn, and has a gorgeous print; a light brown/tan background, with darker brown trails and red leaves and berries. It is not washable in hot or warm water, only cold, as the dyes used are not set. I have washed the dress in cold water. There are a few light stains to the skirt section, but these are barely noticeable (I only saw them as I was steaming it). Two small sections of the gathering below the bodice had come undone, so these have been repaired.

There are 4 small holes to the opening at the front of the bodice; 2 ‘pin’ holes to the centre front of the collar, and another 2 about 2″ up from the waistband. At the waistband there are 2 hooks and eyes at the front of the gown, but it would need more towards the back. You can see in the photos that I have just pinned it in place.

The bodice is lined with calico (the cheapest non-bleached cotton fabric). The collar is lined in brown glazed cotton. We have some beautiful piping throughout the bodice. At the tops of the sleeves we see the rushing/gathering typical of the last few years prior to 1840. The front of the bodice also has the lovely pleating. A beautiful gown!

Length from shoulder to hem- 52″
Waist- 28″
Circumference of hem- 112″