Small black lace cape

Contributed by: Private collectors

  • Australian dress register ID:

  • Owner:

    Private collectors
  • Date range:

    1895 - 1905
  • Place of origin:

    Orange, New South Wales, Australia
  • Gender:

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Object information

Significance statement

This cape is of historic significance to Orange. It is hand made from machine and chemical lace. It is in as new condition.

Of interest is the fact that the cape has been constructed from one piece of fabric which has been darted and pleated to give it its shape.

After Daisy passed away in 1923, the cape was passed into the keeping of Shirley Duckworth's family - both families being friends.

It was made for and worn by Daisy Birkenhead, the daughter of the first magistrate in Orange around 1900. It was worn by Daisy on formal occasions.

Author: Sandy Taylor, 30th September 2010.


Black, machine and chemical lace cape with narrow fold down collar.

The cape is made from two layers of fabric. The outer layer is machine embroidered net with all over embroidery consisting of small five petal flowers connected with a leaf trail. The inner layer or lining is of similar net with no pattern.

The edges of the cape are finished with chemical lace in a pointed abstract floral.

There is a small turn down collar approximately 6.5cm wide coming to a V in the front, including edging.

History and Provenance

Do you have any stories or community information associated with this?

Daisy Lane was a daughter of John Tom Lane, a pioneer of Orange. He was the first magistrate of Orange. Daisy married an Orange dentist, Richard Carlyle Birkenhead. They had no children. She died on the 4th of December 1923 aged 48 years from burns suffered after her clothes caught alight when a fuel copper fire blew back.

How does this garment relate to the wider historical context?

As Daisy and her husband were involved in the social and musical scene in Orange, she would wear formal clothes to outings and activities. The cape has been held by Shirley Duckworth's (nee Evans) family since the 1920s because they were friends of Daisy and her family.

  1. Place of origin:

    Orange, New South Wales, Australia

  2. Owned by:

    Almost certainly owned by Annie (always called Daisy) Birkenhead (nee Lane).

  3. Worn by:

    Daisy Birkenhead

  4. Occasion(s):


  5. Place:


  6. Made for:

    Daisy Birkenhead

Trimmings / Decoration


Chemical lace edging around entire cape.

Fibre / Weave

The cape is made entirely of black cotton.

It is most likely to be dyed with a natural dye.

  1. Natural dye
  2. Synthetic dye


Garment is all hand sewn. Fabric has been cut in a 'horseshoe' shape and darts and pleats used to shape. There are no seams. There are darts approximately 15cm long at the shoulder and two along the back neck to give a three dimensional effect. The two front point of the cape feature two pleats on each side to give some fitting over the bust. There is a 1.5cm wide strip of netting attached to the entire back (on inside of outer layer) to give stability.

  1. Hand sewn
  2. Machine sewn
  3. Knitted
  4. Other


  1. Bias
  2. Straight


One black metal press stud where edges meet in the front.

  1. Hook and eye
  2. Lacing
  3. Buttons
  4. Zip
  5. Drawstring

Stiffening / Lining / Padding

Black cotton net lining to give body and stability.


Hem circumference 1420 mm
Front neck to hem 200 mm
Back waist to hem 320 mm
Cross back 560 mm
Convert to inches

Edging - 30mm

Collar - 65mm

Additional material

Articles, publications, diagrams and receipts descriptions

A carved wooden mirror, the carving having been done by Daisy Birkenhead.



  1. Excellent
  2. Good
  3. Fair
  4. Poor
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