Fashion in Transition of Social Conventions

Textiles and european clothing habits in pictures and objects of the textile collection in the Landesmuseum for Art and Cultural History Oldenburg

Oldenburg State Museum for Art and Cultural History

Oldenburg State Museum for Art and Cultural History

Marble hall (1760/1770) by Heinrich Carl SlevogtOldenburg State Museum for Art and Cultural History

Oldenburg State Museum for Art and Cultural History

Domiciled in the historical rooms of the Oldenburg Castle, the State Museum (German: Landesmuseum) not only conveys the residence's history of the former Grand Dukes of Oldenburg. The collection also includes a large number of artworks from former Grand Ducal property, as well as historical and artistic collections.

Robe à l'anglaise Robe à l'anglaise (ca. 1780)Original Source:

The Landesmuseum's Textile Collection

The Landesmuseum, which was opened in 1923, houses a collection of textiles that dates back to a former museum of applied arts founded in 1888, which was closed again in 1914. The collection’s beginning emerged from a private collection of fabric samples acquired in 1889 from the Frankfurt sculptor Jakob Kraut. Also the Grand Duchess Elisabeth (1826-1896) of Oldenburg generously contributed textile exhibits to the museum. In the following years, the individual patterns were supplemented by completely preserved clothing from the time between 1750 and 1900. Today, the largely magazined collection is one of the most extensive and significant of its kind in the Northwest German region. In addition to the collection of historical textile patterns, the collection includes clothing, accessories, crochet and bobbin laces.

Portrait of Cornelia Sandrin, Quentin Massys, ca. 1514, Original Source:
Show lessRead more

The white, starched hood, which was worn by married women in the Middle Ages and early modern times, completely covers the hair of Cornelia Sandrin. Presumably the portrait was made on the occasion of the wedding with the Antwerp jurist Petrus Aegidius. The filigree pattern on the white linen can only be seen on closer inspection.

Cerements of Count Anton Günther of Oldenburg (1660 - 1667) by Michel Semen (propably)Original Source:

The Landesmuseum's Textile Collection

In the permanent collection on the Oldenburgian history in the Oldenburg Castle - the main building of the Landesmuseum for Art and Cultural History of Oldenburg - a number of important or just typical clothing sets has been introduced. The cerements of Count Anton Günther of Oldenburg (1583-1667) are undoubtedly the most remarkable objects as the oldest and almost completely preserved clothing ensemble. However, as the name suggests, this is not a cerement specially designed for the deceased Oldenburg ruler but ordinary everyday clothes, into which the count was robed after his death for public viewing and his burial. The extraordinary high quality of the silk fabrics used for the cerements is responsible for the very good state of preservation. The garment was taken from the Count’s grave in the Oldenburg Lamberti-church in 1938 and was given to the museum. Well-preserved clothing from the 17th century is very rare and is mostly taken from graves.

Cerements of Count Anton Günther of Oldenburg Cerements of Count Anton Günther of Oldenburg, Michel Semen (propably), 1660 - 1667, Original Source:
Show lessRead more

The cerements could have been made by the Oldenburger tailor at court Michel Semen (Michael Seemann), who used to get his fabrics from Amsterdam and Paris.
The back seams of the coat and jerkin are fully open. Thus the ribbon-closed back parts were a specialty of men's fashion between 1620 and 1660.

Europe is a Lady Europe is a Lady (2002) by Martina GlombOriginal Source:

The Landesmuseum's Textile Collection

From the 18th and 19th centuries, the museum has civic clothes, which for a long time were family-owned and later given to the museum. Three exhibitions of the 1950s, the 1960s and the 1970s gave occasion to publicly ask for loans of time-typical and still well-preserved clothes from those decades. This resulted in a series of generous donations, thanks to which the Landesmuseum now owns a representative collection of fashion articles from the later 20th century. At present there is a growing interest in similar objects from the 1980s. Beyond clothing, however, the collection of lace and fabric samples is also worth attention. The earliest objects are Coptic and come from Egypt from the period of the early Christianitzation. Moreover, a large part of the collection's objects are based on patterns of the 17th and 18th century. In the so-called period of historicism (about 1848 to 1900), these objects were collected, because they should serve as models for contemporary textiles based on historical models.

Portrait of a man (17th century) by Nicolaes Eliasz. PickenoyOldenburg State Museum for Art and Cultural History

Radiantly white, the opulent ruff shines out of the dark picture and corresponds to the lace-sleeves that stick out under the black robe. In accordance with the men’s fashion of that time, the portraitist wears a sash or a cloak over his belly.

Folding Fan, Frankreich, Deutschland oder England, ca. 1795, Original Source:
Show lessRead more

Due to the motivic variety and elaborate production, these folding fans became the social status symbol and fashion accessory for women.
The fan’s central motif shown here is a color print on silk satin, depicting "Cornelia the Mother of the Gracchi", inspired by Angelika Kauffmann, flanked by antique vases with plastic decorations and ancient goric figures in Wedgwood-Style.

Robe à l'anglaise Robe à l'anglaise (ca. 1780)Original Source:

The Manteau dress, up to 1788 in various fashionable forms an important component of courtly attire, was also worn in noble bourgeois circles. The dress of urban-middle-class origin presented here was made in the style of a "robe à l'anglaise".

Robe à l'anglaise Robe à l'anglaise (ca. 1780)Original Source:

This version of the French Manteau dress, created around 1770 by the English rural nobility, already indicates the wish to free oneself from the constricting traditional clothing of the eighteenth century. With the "robe à l'anglaise", for example, the tight-laiced chest was maintained, whereas for the sake of convenience the dressmakers refrained from the wide crinoline. Instead, hip paddings or multi-layered skirts provided for the garment’s body-aesthetic modeling. Originally this robe could have been thought of as a wedding dress.

Cockade, Paris/France, ca. 1790, From the collection of: Oldenburg State Museum for Art and Cultural History
Show lessRead more

As a visible commitment to the aims of the French Revolution, the cockade was worn in France since 1789 in the French national colors blue, white and red. From 1793 to 1800 women also had to wear them. This cockade probably belonged to the Oldenburg Duke Peter Friedrich Ludwig. Perhaps it was brought here from Paris in 1790 by the Justice Council and leading head of the Oldenburg Enlightenment Anton von Halem.

Theater costume set (Train: ca. 1831, Dress: 1991)Original Source:

The costume set here presented is from the State Theatre in Oldenburg and consists of the Grand Duchess Caecilie of Oldenburg’s (1807-1844) original, so-called Courschleppe, as well as a silk dress made on occasion of a theatre play in 1991/92 and a camisole separately sewn on the train.

In the 1950s, the train came to the costume fund of the Oldenburg State Theater. It originally belonged to the actress Annemaria Korf, who is said to have received it from a member of the ducal family. The actress and singer Elisabeth-Maria Wachutka wore the train in her role as Anna Elisa in the operetta "Paganini" after music by Franz Lehar, which was performed in the 1991/92 season in the State Theatre. The silk dress as well as the bodice sewn to the train (each equipped with material of the older stock) was made on this occasion.

Women's Dress Women's Dress (ca. 1905)Original Source:

Women's Dress Women's Dress, ca. 1905, Original Source:
Show lessRead more

This is a one-piece women's dress with decorative lace wrap on a cream-colored chemise made of silk underneath. The high-necked, blouse-like top shows rich adornments. The dress comes from Gut Loy in Rastede. The former owner and wearer of the dress was Alma Funch, née de Cousser.

Portrait of Helene von Racowitza (ca. 1873) by Hans MakartOriginal Source:

In his style mainly influenced by Tizian and Rubens, Hans Makart is one of the most important portraitists of the Viennese grand bourgeoisie of the Gründerzeit. Sweeping sensuality as well as strong pathos in opulent decor stagings characterize his works.

"In that time it also occurred to me that I sat for everything that went through his [Hans Makart] head: soon it would be a Greek bacchantine (...) - soon a Venetian dogin," remembers Helene von Racowitza in her autobiography vividly the sessions with Hans Makart, who often clothed his models in historical robes.

Chemise Dress (ca. 1810) by Area of Oldenburg, GermanyOriginal Source:

The light, flowing chemises (so called because of their shirt-like cut), which are preferably made in light cotton, were worn with undercoats, an undergarment or a flesh-colored tricot. The new, light clothing was created in England towards the end of the 18th century and was based on ancient models (mode à la grecque). Former artificiality in the form of corset and crinoline was replaced by the ideals of simplicity, convenience and naturalness, which were propagated in the course of the enlightenment and the rediscovery of classical antiquity.

Morning at the pond of Rastede (1906) by Hugo DuphornOldenburg State Museum for Art and Cultural History

The painting by the Oldenburg Art Nouveau-painter Hugo Duphorn shows his wife at the pond of Rastede in a reform dress. Without corset and other confining parts, the wearer allowed herself to move freely. The reform dress’s development is accompanied by a political-social as well as emancipatory change, which is also reflected in the art of this time.

Chemise of a Girl Chemise of a Girl, ca. 1810, Original Source:
Show lessRead more

From 1795 to 1815/20 the chemise characterized substantially the European fashion. This chemise is a late, simple example of this type of dress. The typical short sleeves have been replaced by long, narrow sleeves.

Chemise of a Girl Chemise of a Girl, ca. 1810, Original Source:
Show lessRead more

This chemise was worn by a young girl, which explains the very petite form and the modest décolleté. Also the dress is equipped with a small lace-up.

Chemise of a Girl Chemise of a Girl, ca. 1810, Original Source:
Show lessRead more

Jacket of an Oldenburg court dignitary Jacket of an Oldenburg court dignitary (1916) by Bamberger & Theophil, dressmakers at court in OldenburgOriginal Source:

This jacket was an Oldenburger court dignity’s and high official’s work clothing, when they came before their sovereigns. The piece was custom-made for the chairman of the Ministry of State, privy councillor Friedrich Julius Ruhstrat (1854-1916), but could not be worn by his owner.

Instead, after the revolution of 1918 the jacket came into possession of the state theatre in Oldenburg. However, no actor has ever worn it, since some buttons are still in protective covering.

Figure study (Dolina) (1915 - 1916) by Heinrich VogelerOriginal Source:

During the First World War, Heinrich Vogeler, the youngest painter and founder of the Worpsweder Barkenhoff, was stationed as an intelligence officer on the eastern front. In August 1915, during his mission, he also came to Dolina, a place in the Pre-Carpathians, which today belongs to the western part of Ukraine, and produced some colorful detail studies of the Galician population. In the book "From the East", Vogeler published his impressions in 1916.

Minidress (2013)Original Source:

The British fashion designer Mary Quant reintroduced the mini skirt in the fashion world of the 1960s. The Mary Quant look quickly became the trademark of a generation. The minidress shown here was worn as of 1969 by a young teacher in her Oldenburger school.

A Woman's portrait (1927) by Willy JaeckelOriginal Source:

Part of the social changes in the period between the World Wars was the emancipation of women and the development of a new, self-conscious, sometimes androgynous image of women, which became a popular theme for paintings, graphics and photography during the Weimar Republic. Willy Jaeckel's portrait of a woman shows the "New Woman" in fashionable clothing and with a short haircut. Jaeckel was also represented in the exhibition "Das modern Frauenbildnis" by the Galerie Gurlitt in Berlin in 1928 and won the highly remunerated prize for "the best-painted female portrait of the year 1928". In the reasoning of the jury, it was said that in Jaeckel's picture "a strong type of modern woman was most strongly expressed with all artistic means".

Fashion shop at the harbor, August Macke, 1914, From the collection of: Oldenburg State Museum for Art and Cultural History
Show lessRead more

A fascinating series in the work of August Macke are the "shop window pictures", which were created from 1913 onwards. Being part of his central themes the walk’s motif is captured here in a different form. In his charcoal drawing “Fashion shop at the harbor”, which was created at the lake of Thun, the painter shows an elegantly dressed lady, lingering with a rapt glance at a hat shop’s outlays.

Europe is a Lady Europe is a Lady (2002) by Martina GlombOriginal Source:

The object unites fabrics from different european countries, which a characteristic for those countries. It is the realization of the idea "How could a European be dressen to be recognized as european?"

Credits: Story

Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte Oldenburg

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Explore more
Related theme
We Wear Culture
The stories behind what we wear
View theme
Google apps