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This delicate orange blossom wedding wreath is a rare survival. Imitation blossom was normally made from wax, paper, or cloth, but this example is made entirely from feathers and silk ribbons on fine wire. The white feathers have been carefully dyed in shades of green for leaves, or tinted with touches of yellow to replicate petals. It is associated with the 1854 marriage of Elizabeth Wroughton Richards to Edward Nugée.

The wreath could have been purchased from a milliner's establishment, or made at home by a particularly talented home handicrafter. Women's periodicals in the 19th century provided instructions for various handicrafts, including featherwork. They advised their readers on how to clean and dye feathers, and how to make them into various accessories or dress-trimmings. Typically the feathers were stitched down flat into mosaic-like patterns, so the three dimensional quality of this wreath is unusual.

Details

  • Title: Wedding wreath
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 1854
  • Location: Great Britain
  • Physical Dimensions: Length: 74 cm end to end of wire, Diameter: 21 cm
  • Provenance: Given by Edward Nugée QC
  • Medium: Dyed feathers mounted on silk-wrapped wire, trimmed with silk ribbons

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