With its eight limbs, the octopus was an ingenious choice for a Chatelaine; a belt hook that carried small household items from its chains. Surviving records suggest that Gorham Manufacturing Company made two Octopus Chatelaines (this one is circa 1887).
At least one of these devices was equipped by the factory with its attachments, including scissors, a knife, a vinaigrette (small decorative box), a tablet, a pin cushion, and a needle case. The back plate is marked with the Gorham trademark and stamped with the date letter for 1887. The Octopus and its chains are sterling silver and the eyes are surprisingly not polished garnets, but red glass.
Octopus Chatelaine Installation View
Photographed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
This Pink Satin women’s shoe circa 1858 is typical of the dainty, flat-soled slippers that well-to-do Victorian women wore as evening wear and to formal events throughout most of the 19th century.
The delicate natured of women’s footwear indicates that even when outside of the home, the ideal Victorian lady did not require functional or reliable shoes. As the century went on, flat slippers like these were replace by heeled satin pumps.
Photographed as Part of the Exhibit Rebel Women: Defying Victorianism, On View at the Museum of the City of New York Through January 6th, 2019.
In his painting from 1931, Grant Wood (1892 – 1942) depicts the legendary story of the American patriot Paul Revere, as learned from an 1863 poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. From a bird’s eye view, the painting shows Revere on horseback racing through a colonial town square in Massachusetts. Despite the work’s historical subject matter, Wood did not attempt to depict this scene with factual accuracy. The houses are overly bright, as if lit by electric light, and the dramatic moonlight casts unrealistic shadows. The stylized houses, geometric greenery, and high perspective gives the painting and otherworldly or dreamlike dimensions.