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Wedding gown; XCH.63.1

Wedding gown; XCH.63.1
Wedding gown
About this object
This wedding gown was worn by Marian Takotowi Clendon on her marriage to Thomas Lumsden Millar. The couple married on 22 February 1882 in Rawene in the Hokianga region. According to her granddaughter, Florence, Marian's "beautiful pearly-white wedding frock with its short train and sparkling diamante trimming was made by he prestigious firm of Milne & Choyce in Queen Street." (1)

The tradition of brides wearing white wedding dresses dates back to the mid-nineteenth century. It followed the fashionable style set by members of the British royal family, especially Queen Victoria on her marriage to Prince Alfred in 1840. (2)

Although the white colour of a wedding dress is widely believed to symbolise the bride’s virginity and purity, Victoria and Albert Museum curator Edwina Ehrman states that the colour white actually symbolised wealth. In the days when washing was done painstakingly by hand with a washboard, a white dress was almost impossible to clean thoroughly. It was also a dress which was only worn once, so it was only for those who could afford this expense. (3)

(1) Florence Keene, 'Under Northland Skies,' 1989.
(2) Sandra Coney, I Do: 125 Years of Weddings in New Zealand (Auckland: Hodder Moa Beckett, 1995).
(3) Edwina Ehrman, The Wedding Dress: 300 Years of Bridal Fashions (London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 2014).

For more information about the Clendon family and Clendon House, which is cared for by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, visit our website.

Medium and Materials
Cloth, satin and lace
137 x 84cm
Subject and Association Keywords
Credit Line
Collection of Clendon House, Heritage New Zealand Historic Pouhere Taonga
Object Type
Object number


Marian Takotowi Millar (nee Clendon)
Milne & Choyce
Social traditions
Thomas Lumsden Millar
Wedding dress

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