Silk, Alençon lace
Worn by Unknown
Gift of Mrs. Clifton Billings
Lydia Billings (née Davies) lived with her husband, Clifton Billings, on Huckleberry Hill Road in New Canaan. Lydia was an active member of the New Canaan Historical Society and the Congregational Church. The wedding dress was worn in 1840 by a family friend and later preserved by Lydia’s great – grandmother, Susanna Howes Avery (1817 – 1915).
Queen Victoria’s wedding to Prince Albert in 1840 is arguably the first, most notable example, of a white wedding dress and had a rippling impact on society that remains today. This dress closely resembles the young queen’s gown with its wide neckline, short sleeves, slim pointed waist, and full skirt. The size of the skirt was achieved by wearing as little as two petticoats, and sometimes as many as six or seven.