A metal frame bustle from c.1884 England.
Bustles were used underneath dresses to create the late Victorian ideal of a small waist/large chest and bottom, ‘hourglass’ silhouette. It was basically a pillow or a metal frame that you wore underneath your dress to emphasize your behind. According to the Victoria and Albert Museum where this artefact is housed, the bustle was given the polite name “the dress improver”.
If you look closely at the bottom corners of this metal-frame bustle, you’ll notice a “pivot” which allowed the frame to collapse when the woman wearing it sat down and which sprung back into shape when a lady stood up.
Is it just me or is it impossible to look at this photo without singing the intro to Sir Mix-A-Lot’s ‘Baby Got Back’?