The Day I brought this piece home my husband remarked on its sculptural quality and asked me where we were going to display it. This was another one of those instances where the heart is saying, “find a spot” and the head is saying “you bought it for resale, don’t get attached”. So, for now, I’m enjoying it in the house as much as I possibly can before it leaves the collection.
Constructed of iron wire and tin on an iron base, this very rare and unusual wire form was probably used in a dressmaker’s shop or factory as a pattern form as it can contract and expand up or down several sizes. One would do this by removing or stretching the horizontal wire “clips” that hold and help to space the vertical wires to form the desired size. There are tin shoulder plated that can be moved into various and sundry slots to expand the form at that point as well. There are other wires as well that adjust the neck opening. It also opens on the stand such as an umbrella, with a push up motion and a catch for expansion and storage. There are several holes in the base that suggest it was anchored to a table by bolting it down.
As it stands, it measures 29 inches tall, with the form itself accounting for 19 of those inches. It now measures 15 inches wide and 6 inches deep.
It date to the late 19th/first quarter 20th C and was found in New England.
I am a collector of early mannequins and forms, and have seen the wire store display forms but have never seen one as clever as this one. The only other such as this that I’ve seen was a full body one that I still lament I did not purchase.
To quote my husband, this is a very nice “piece of sculpture” that just happens to be a sewing object. How much fun is that!