Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Knitted Undersleeves in Daguerreotype

Unknown Baby with Hiding Mother, ca. 1855
Daguerreotype, sixth plate Plate: 3 ¼” x 2 ¾ “
Image: 2 5/8” x 2 1/8”
Gift of Hallmark Cards, Inc.
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Kansas City, Missouri


andrea.at.the.blue.door said...

This is interesting in so many ways:
1. The large gauge
2. The relatively loose, almost droopy fit
3. The stripes
4. The wearer thought it was okay to wear these in public (unless the photographer was a relative and/or this image was made at the sitters' home.) I've always thought that knitting at this period was not considered fashionable - warm, interesting to work, practical, but not something one would wear outside the house.

One More Stitch said...

Thanks for your comments. The droopy sleeve copies the cotton and (perhaps?) linen undersleeves of the era but it is interesting that the heavy knitted version is purely practical and not fashionably light and airy like the fabric ones. I also found it fascinating that the sitter wore these sleeves for such an important photograph. Perhaps she was very proud of them, too. I wonder if she knit them or they were knitted for her by someone who would receive a copy of the photograph?

The onset of published patterns or books of needlework launched the knitting of all sorts of items, many of them knitted versions of other needle and thread worked items. I am currently knitting an 1846 fish serviette which is a cloth placed over the tablecloth, near the dish from which fish is being served to, I assume, catch any of the sauce or liquid dripping from the fish as it is served onto the plate. I would think that these would be easier to maintain as a piece of linen but including it as a knitting pattern in a new book may have added to the interest and, perhaps, inducement to buy the book.

Don't you wish we had that time machine?