Photography, untitled [Muriel Kerr Taylor]; J C Morton; 1908; XAH.GH.6
Photography, untitled [Muriel Kerr Taylor]About this object
This colour-tinted photograph pictures Muriel Kerr Taylor on the occasion of her debut at the State Ball at Government House in 1908. A newspaper clipping which discusses the event notes that Muriel "was much admired in white Louisine-silk, softened with chiffon, and carried a lovely shower bouquet, and wore a white choux in her hair..."
The Kerr Taylor family were members of Auckland's social elite and often attended grand events at Government House, the Northern Club, and the Auckland Provincial Agricultural Association Show. They also held a number of popular events at Alberton including formal dinners, dances, Sunday School parties, and hunting clubs. (1)
Debutante balls were a key feature of the social life of New Zealand's respectable middle and upper classes. Traditionally, the debutante ball represented the change in a young woman's status from child to adult and signalled that the young woman was now ready for marriage. Debutantes wore dresses of white and light pastel shades as a symbol of their purity, chastity and virtue. (2)
Despite the assumption that young women would marry and become mothers, Muriel never did so. She lived with her sisters, Winifred and Mildred, at Alberton until her death in 1972.
(1) Jan Harris, 'Alberton and its Family,' 1999
(2) Lillie Le Dorre, 'Dancing Debs: A Study of Debutante Culture in Twentieth-Century New Zealand Culture, 1920-1976,' 2012, unpublished BA Honours History dissertation.
For more information about the Kerr Taylor family and Alberton, which is cared for by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga, visit our website.
28.8 x 21.5cmObject Type
Photograph, cardboardCredit Line
Collection of Alberton, Heritage New Zealand Pouhere TaongaObject number
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