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A really Welsh collectable for St David's Day; ANTIQUES.

Today being St David's Day is when girls throughout Wales appear dressed in costumes like the ones in these pictures.

'Traditional' women's Welsh costumes were only really standardised in the 19th century. Accounts written by visitors to Wales in the late 18th century describe distinctive dress worn by women here but which varied from place to place.

To a great extent, the sort of costume girls will be wearing today was a result of the revival of Welsh nationalism in the 19th century and part of a conscious effort at establishing a distinctive identity for the Welsh nation.

The main elements are based largely on garments worn by Welsh countrywomen in the early 19th century: an open-fronted bedgown worn over a striped flannel petticoat, along with an apron, shawl and cap.

The bedgowns took different forms in different parts of Wales but were generally of two types: a tailored version with a low-cut top and wide tail, or a looser T-shaped variety.

The distinctive 'chimney' hat only appeared in the 1840s and is thought to have been a combination of a type of high hat worn around 1800 and men's top hats - the similarity is evident in the Victorian print with a man on horseback.

Augusta Hall, later Lady Llanover, is considered influential in encouraging the adoption of a national costume. Another important influence was the popularity of prints and postcards like the ones shown here.

The black and white print is one of a series on Welsh costumes engraved and published by Newman and Co in the 1860s.

The postcard was sent in 1906 and is entitled 'Three of the old school Welsh Women'. Although it may not be immediately apparent, this is actually a joke: the three Welsh women in this postcard are all men in women's dress. The original sender of the card shared in the joke, ending his message, "Love to you all from Auntie Toby."

I paid PS1 for the postcard from a car boot sale; it may be worth a tad more but not much.

Victorian prints of Welsh costumes like these are often found with later colouring and are usually priced at around PS20 each. The three examples I bought are in their original uncoloured condition, which I prefer, and cost me PS3 for the set from a flea market in Carmarthen.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 1, 2014
Words:389
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