A CIRCA 1860 TO LATE-19TH DRESS BELONGING TO MISS CATHERINE "KATE" CRANSTON Of two-piece construction, comprising flounced skirt with weighted hem and 3/4-sleeve bodice with lace-trimmed collar.
Kate Cranston (1849 – 1934)
Kate Cranston was an important figure in the cultural life of Glasgow at the end of the 19th century. At that time Glasgow was the 2nd city of the Empire and a centre for artistic innovation.
Kate is chiefly remembered for pioneering the development of the tearoom in Glasgow.
She promoted the Glasgow Style, garnering international renown for her artistic tearooms among architects and designers. As well as displaying Avant Garde interiors, the tearooms served as art galleries to artists including the Glasgow Boys.
For over 20 years, Kate Cranston was one of the most loyal and generous patrons of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, giving him a free hand to evolve his interior design. She commissioned him to design her various premises, including the now famous Willow Tearooms on Sauchiehall Street. Mackintosh was allowed to experiment with furniture, producing in the course of this his first high back chair.
He worked with other contemporary Designers and Artists in these commissions. George Walton handled decorations and fittings, Margaret Macdonald created gesso panels and graphic designs were produced by Frances Macdonald and Jessie King. Rennie Mackintosh and Margaret Macdonald designed furniture, cutlery, carpets, curtains, metalwork, lighting and works of art for the tearooms.
Kate Cranston was a famously flamboyant and eccentric character and wore the long dresses and petticoats of a former age and fashion.
The dress presented in our June Fine Sale is a well-documented costume worn by Kate Cranston. This dress comes from the estate of Liz Mackinlay, herself a textile specialist, whose grandmother was a cousin of Cranston.
Colour generally faded, with some noticeable inconsistency, particularly within the frills of the skirt. Weighted hem is heavily frayed and has separated from the skirt over a fairly extensive area. General fragility, consistent with the age of the dress. Loose threads and weakened seams in places. Skirt has been adapted with two concealed pockets, which it is understood was a preference of Cranston's. Waist of skirt with small holes visible - fabric here worn rather thin.