W is for Widow Outfitter
By OTTO, Matthias, 1850
Matthias Otto Junr… Makes all Sorts of Widows Weeds, Robers, Riding-habits, Sultains, Banians, Common Gowns, Vests and Tunicks for boys, Coaks and Hoods, &c. the Newest Fashion
- Author: OTTO, Matthias
- Publication place: London
- Publisher: At the Royal Widow & Sun over against Bullin Court in the Strand, near the new Exchange
- Publication date: c1850
- Physical description: Engraved trade card.
- Dimensions: 155 by 95mm (6 by 3.75 inches).
- Inventory reference: 17963
The first article mentioned on Otto’s card are “Widows Weeds” which, in ‘A Dictionary of the English Language’ (1755), Dr Johnson describes as “a garment of clothing, habit, or dress. Now scarce in use, except in ‘widows weeds’, the mourning dress of a widow”. As well as “Common Gowns, Vests and Tunicks”, Otto also advertises some rather unique garments, namely “Banians”, loose garment worn like a dressing gown and made popular in eighteenth century Europe during the Orientalism craze, and “Sultains”, which may be an alternative spelling of ‘sultane’, a type of dress inspired by Ottoman fashion and popular in France during the seventeenth century. Also shown on the trade card is an image illustrating Otto’s sign of “the Royal Widow & Sun”, of which he appears to have added the later element after inheriting the firm from his father.
- BM Heal 86.54