Miss Anna Elizabeth Blaxland (1804-1889) was the daughter of John Blaxland (1769-1845), a wealthy landowner and merchant, who came to Australia from Britain in 1807. She wore this wedding ensemble at her marriage to Thomas Walker (1791-1861) on 4 January 1822 at St Johns Church in Parramatta, NSW. This ensemble consists of a very fine cream silk skirt with a matching bodice, silk shoes and hose, kid leather gloves, and a tulle and lace shawl. It has been in the Vaucluse House collection since 1936, which is now part of Sydney Living Museums.
At almost 200 years old, the ensemble was quite fragile. The skirt and bodice needed minor repairs and stabilisation, and all items required new storage boxes, which would provide adequate support, protection and ease of handling.
The bodice had been extensively treated in the past, so basic additional repairs were inserted where needed. The skirt however needed more attention. To strengthen it, a complete silk lining was inserted and secured using a conservation adhesive method and hand stitching.
ICS then fabricated two new, custom-made boxes, which allowed for different secure layers of storage within each box. Each piece of the ensemble was secured in a purpose-made Ethafoam layer. These layers were then specially padded, secured and lined to accommodate each individual piece, and handles attached so that they could be easily lifted in and out of the boxes.
Vaucluse House, Sydney Living Museums
Bodice in purpose-made packing
with handles attached
Bodice housed in new box
with silk skirt stored underneath
Silk shoes in purpose-made packing
Silk hose in purpose-made packing