Saturday, 18 February 2017

Fur Waistcoat

I was recently looking though the online William Notman collection of photos. I came across two photos showing unusual waistcoats. Both photos are from Montreal, Canada in 1868-69.

J. Notman, Montreal, QC, 1868-69

William Webb, Montreal, QC, 1868-69

I recognized the material of the waistcoats as a very distinctive fur called persian lamb

While persian lamb waistcoats were unknown to me, persian lamb was very fashionable in the 19th century. I've seen many examples of persian lamb coats, hats and capes so a fur waistcoat doesn't seem unreasonable, especially in the Canadian winter.

Closeup of fur waistcoat.

I have seen reference to fur and leather waistcoats for extra warmth. I also came across the photo below of a fur waistcoat a year ago on Pinterest. Unfortunately the source website is not in english, so the only info I have in a date of ca 1880s. It looks like the waistcoat might be made from seal or beaver fur.

As I happen to have some persian lamb, I think a winter waistcoat would be a good use. Though maybe for next winter since spring is already on the horizon.

Left: Two gentlemen wearing persian lamb coats and caps, Montreal Canada 1876.

Right: 1880s fur waistcoat found on Pinterest.

Mr. Butler & Mr. Hosmer, composite, Montreal, QC, 1876

Fur waistcoat 1880s