Cape, Woman's, Blue velvet and collar; Unknown maker; 1870-1900; RI.W2011.3064


Cape, Woman's, Blue velvet and collar

About this object

This Victorian era woman's velvet cape and matching detachable scarf were donated by Mackintosh siblings Lesley, June, Robyn and William (Bill) who trace their paternal line to their great-great grandparents, James and Anne Mackintosh who emigrated from Melbourne to Southland in 1866 and farmed properties in Western Southland called Strathmore, then Mayfield and Gladfield near Drummond. James was also an active politician both locally and nationally; his farming and political careers are summarised on Wikipedia.

This pioneering couple had 11 children. The donors’ link to the second son William who married Caroline Bennett in 1880, they had ten children and farmed at Gladfield, the homestead for which was known as Greenlea.

This cape would have been worn by women from the first two generations of the Mackintosh family in Southland. It is ornately decorated with passementerie, including: vertical strips of black ribbon and braid which taper together at the back. Each ribbon ends in two vertical pleats and a baubled tassel. A tassel also decorates the back of the neck.

The same ribbon and braid also trim the cape's lower hems. The cut of the back and decoration all suggest it was designed to drape over a bustle. A band of the ribbon forms a thin inner collar.

The cloak was fastened with four hooks and eyelets at the chest and by an inner waist tie. It has a insulating flap under the fasteners and s fully lined, including a quilted front. The hem is fringed with a strip of black tassels. The matching detachable collar is trimmed with a gathered boxed edging. It is also lined and fastened with a hook and eyelet.


Unknown maker

Maker Role


Date Made


Place Made


Medium and Materials

organic, processed material, textile, velvet
organic, vegetal, fibre, cotton


Neck: 440 mm
Hem circumference: 1250 mm
Neck to hem front: 840 mm
Neck to hem back: 870 mm
Across back: 500 mm
Underarm to underarm: 540 mm

h 780 mm x w 185 mm x d 30 mm

Measurement conventions taken from the Powerhouse Museum's Australian Dress Register. Measurements taken with garments fitted to mannequin.

Subject and Association Keywords

Clothing and Accessories

Subject and Association Keywords

People and Families (including births, weddings, deaths)

Named Collection

Mackintosh Family Collection

Object Type


Object number



Attribution - Non-commercial (cc) Attribution - Non-commercial (cc)

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