Jessie Campbell c1850
Blue water wave silk taffeta crinoline gown
Jessie is made up of three pieces in blue water wave silk taffeta. As well as the skirt, it has two matching bodices, one for day and one for evening.
The full crinoline skirt has three scalloped flounces with each edge trimmed in a matching fringe. It may have been worn over as many as six full petticoats, including at least one stiffened with horsehair, all designed to hold out the skirt. The crinoline wire frames invented later in the decade meant less petticoats needed to be worn.
The day top typically features a high neckline with a detachable cream lace collar and long sleeves, in this case, pagoda shaped. These sleeves were made to be worn with removable undersleeves called engageantes which puffed and closed at the wrist. The collar and undersleeves were detachable so they could be laundered separately to help protect the dress from dirt and wear. It also features a popular decoration of the time, a bretelle, a V-shaped piece of fabric which forms the extended shoulders and reaches to the centre waist. The day bodice has a basque waist, with the jacket-like bodice flaring over the hips into a peplum. The back of the peplum is slightly longer and shaped with two pleats to lie on the full skirt. The bodice is trimmed with blue lace, fringes and pompom buttons.
The evening top has a wide, decolletage neckline and extended sleeves with a cream frill. The boned bodice ends with a V-shaped point at the front and laces up the back. The V-shape is echoed higher on the bodice, one scalloped with a fringed edge and the other with crossed fringed ribbon. The lacing on the back is echoed on the front with crossed fringed ribbon above the waist.
Jessie Blackwood was born in 1833 and married George Campbell, born in 1827 near Bathurst, on 10 July 1855 at Tradeston in Glasgow. The newlyweds emigrated to Australia the same year. By about 1859 they had settled on a property called ‘Jerula’ about a mile from Cowra, NSW. By 1887 George owned considerable acreage on three sides of Cowra. The free- hold Jerula estate stretched for about nine miles along the Lachlan River. Jessie and George had nine children- four sons and three daughters surviving to adulthood. When George died in 1890, Jessie remained at Jerula after his death, until dying suddenly from heart disease in 1903 aged 70. The family property was sold when their eldest son Colin died in 1939.