Mary Best's high neck
Mary Best's high neck
Mary Best's high neck
Mary Best's high neck
Mary Best's high neck
Mary Best's high neck

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Mary Best's high neck
c 1807

High necks are unusual for this period. A lovely dress The ties are all for adjusting the bodice to fit. The front skirt would have been pinned to the bodice. My thanks to Rosemary Harden, Curator of Fashion at Bath Fashion Museum who had also not seen a high neck dress of the period. We can send youa photo of the fashion plate.

This dress was worn by Miss Mary Norcliffe of Lanston (house name), town unknown, Yorkshire.   It was probably part of her trousseau.  it is the same size as the wedding dress and has the same length of train.  Mary Norcliffe was born/baptised on 11 Feb 1790 at Tanfield in Yorkshire  Her parents were Thomas Dalston Norcliffe and Anne Wilson. She married Dr. Charles Best on 11 June 1807. Dr Best was a physician running a the York Lunatic Asyluml (later Bootham Park Hopital)   At this period investigations to the care and administration of such institutions was quite usual. Dr Best was found to be negligant not in his medical care but in the running of the instituion and had to resign.  Her husband died in 1817 and  Mary endeavoured to clear his name.  There were  no children and Mary died on 17 March 1837.

 

See: Google Books: Anne Digby From York Lunatic Adylum to Bootham Park Hospital, p 20

National Archives:  York University, Borthwick Institute for Archives, Bootham Park Hospital.

http://studymore.org.uk/mhhtim.htm#1813

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/archon/searches/locresult_details.asp?LR=193

Description

long trained dress, of fine white cotton, the fall front bodice with centre vertical inset hand made Buckinghamshire lace panel, high neck with similar lace inset panel and frill, the lower fall front with original narrow ties for gathering, inside two further ties at back and front, the very long sleeves with slightly rounded and full shoulders gathered into mid upper arm, lace insert, applied over cotton and with shaped ends, the back opening with eight small Dorset buttons, back shoulder seams and two diagonal from sleeve to waist, skirt tightly gathered at back, French seams, very long and trained, shoulder to front hem 52 in or 1.3 m;shoulder to bottom of train 7ft 4 in or 2.20 m

Condition

Excellent. Clean and fresh. There are two very small 5mm holes next to each other on the back and also a few light brown marks mid centre, perhaps blood. It looks as if it would come out.

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