Alternative Name(s): Tea Dress

Black georgette tea dress, ankle length with high straight waist, used circa 1920. The dress is likely to have been worn by Betty Anderson or her mother Minnie.

Betty (Elizabeth) was the daughter of James Caldwell Anderson and Mary Lloyd Anderson, and grand-daughter of renowned architect Lloyd Tayler. Born in 1889, Betty was one of four siblings, all of whom she outlived. The family lived at 'Mynda', 5 Molesworth Street, Kew, Melbourne, designed by Lloyd Tayler. Betty served in the Red Cross during World War I, although details are confined to a nurse's apron and a photograph. She never married, and lived to the age of 92, passing away in 1982.

Mary 'Minnie' Lloyd Anderson was one of five children of renowned architect Lloyd Tayler (1830-1900) and Sarah Toller. She married James Caldwell Anderson; they had a son and three daughters. She died in 1951, aged 91.

Betty (and her mother Minnie) had several items of black clothing in this period, which could suggest mourning clothing. Her father and brother had both died in 1915 (their deaths were not related to World War I). She was actively involved in World War I, serving as a nurse or as a Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) for the Red Cross. It is not known if she lost others to whom she was close during the War.

Physical Description

Black georgette tea dress, ankle length with high waist. The bodice has square neckline, edged with a row single white beads. There are four pleats from shoulder to waist on each side of front bodice. Front bodice features beaded design made up of two spirals. Right front panel wraps across chest and fastens at left side opening, disguised as pleat. Garment fastens from panel at left shoulder with six press studs and two hooks and eyes at waist. Opening continues into skirt with additional press stud. Skirt opening is finished with self binding. Back bodice has three pleats from shoulder seam to waist line. Bodice is bagged out with cream tulle lining. Dress features a decorative belt. The belt is square shaped at centre front and back and tapers into 55mm band. At either side belt has small lace panel and line of 4 decorative self-covered buttons. Belt is self faced and top edge is sewn to bodice on all but left side. Belt wraps over front left opening and fastens at left side with two press studs. Belt is edged with single row of white beads. Centre front and back of belt features beaded design made up of two spirals. Set in sleeves slightly gathered at shoulder with decorative hand stitched fold on upper arm. Cuff has panel which is square shaped on outside and tapers to band. Cuffs are edged with a row of single white beads and have a row of 7 decorative self-covered buttons. Skirt is gathered from waist. Below waist is central panel with spiral pattern & beaded fringe along bottom edge. Skirt hem 90mm with raw edge rolled under and top stitched. Both side seams are salvedge edge.

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