Friday, 13 September 2013

Sepia Saturday - A Beautiful (Dutch) Dress

This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt is of a lady sitting sewing an American flag.

The dress and hairdo of the lady reminded me of a wedding photo in my collection. 

This photo is of my husband’s grandparents and was taken on 16 Nov 1911 in Enschede, The Netherlands.

I’ve always thought what a beautiful dress it is.
I asked my mother-in-law if her mother might have made it herself and was told that she didn’t sew much at all and wouldn’t have made a dress like this.

My mother-in-law sews beautifully so I asked her where she learned it. 
She said that she learned some at high school, and more from a sort of finishing school where the girls learned how to run a household.

Jitske JURNA (1888 – 1983) was born in Franeker, one of the eleven historical cities of Friesland, founded in the year 800.

a close up of the bodice (and hair)
Enschede, where she married, was about 200km from Franeker. 
Lochem in Gelderland, where she and her husband, Pelegrinus Johannes VAN WINSEN (1884-1967) lived out their days, was a similar distance – a long way from home.

Jitske’s widowed mother lived with the family and my mother-in-law can remember helping her grandmother up and down the stairs in their house.
They had eight children, one dying in infancy and two migrating to Australia post WWII.
Pelegrinus was a saddler, and my mother-in-law remembers helping her mother with display cases in the leather goods shop that was at the front of their house. At least two of the brothers went into the leather goods business.

Jitske lived to the remarkable age of 95 years – she would have certainly seen a huge amount of change in The Netherlands in that time.

My husband didn’t know his grandmother as she only came to Australia once when he was very little, and by the time he started his own travelling days, she had died.

Jitske with her daughter, still sporting
the same hairdo 15 years later.


  1. Such a pretty lady made even more lovely with that smile. I agree with you that the dress is exquisite, so detailed, so intricate.

  2. Such a lovely story and her wedding photograph is beautiful. It was good to see the close up view.

  3. That is such a beautiful wedding photo. His hairdo is almost as good as hers. Lovely stuff.

  4. Your husband's grandmother was such a lovely woman. I've always thought it so sad no one could smile in professional pictures taken in those days. The smaller picture of Jikske with her daughter years later says so much more about her with that wonderful smile.

  5. Mum is very impressed with the beautiful dress. Hard to imagine the trauma of living through 2 World Wars

  6. I hope the family kept some of the leather goods.

  7. The big hairdo seems to balance the long flowing dress. The second hairdo looks similar, but not as big.

  8. I also love the dress.

    95! Wow. She would certainly have seen some changes.

    Australia just does not have the history of other countries.

  9. Thank you for sharing, she is so lovely. Great photo treasures.

  10. I agree - it's a beautiful wedding dress. It's what I noticed right away at first glance of your photo. The designer looked like one who had a charming imagination.


  11. My grandfather and my father were saddlers. The house where I was born is now called 'Saddlers Cottage' but the trade died with the advent of the motor car. My father kept all his leather working tools but they like him have been long gone too.

  12. Beautiful dress. I like the photo of her and her little daughter best.

  13. That dress is just beautiful and I can see why you thought of that photo with her hair

  14. The dress is beautiful - but what about that tiny waist.

  15. The same hairdo and the same lovely face. That dress really was beautiful.

  16. I can understand your fascination with that dress as it has beautiful details.
    Indeed, 95 years does give one some perspective on History when you see so many changes.