Blundell Day Dress

A rare example of a late 19th century day dress. It is important for its association with the socially prominent Blundell family, well known for their contribution to civic and religious activities in the Brighton (Vic.) area.

Believed to have been made for Jane Blundell (nee Birkett), the absence of boning so common in lady’s costumes in the 1870s suggests that it was designed as a maternity dress. She probably wore it while pregnant with daughter Ethel in 1875/76. Jane passed away in 1878 at just 32 and the dress then passed to Ethel who subsequently wore it while acting as hostess at functions given by her widowed father, John James Blundell Jnr, in the 1890s.

It is a well preserved illustration of late 19th century Australian bespoke dressmaking and an increasingly rare example of a female day dress of that era. Although evening and special occasion costumes are well represented in public collections around the nation, day dresses of the era have not survived to the same extent.

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