Sequined and beaded cream satin and black net "Butterfly" evening cape (front) by Emile Pingat, French, 1890s. Satin with chiffon shoulder drape beneath two layers of stiffened black net decorated as butterfly wings with silver sequins and faceted jet beads, the high neck having a large beaded wire butterfly at back. Label "Maison Emile Pingat A. Walles & Cie 30. Rue Louis le Grand Paris".
The Victorians liked to have their social classes clearly defined. The working class was divided into three layers, the lowest being 'working men' or labourers, then the ‘intelligent artisan’, and above him the ‘educated working man’. In reality, things were not so tidily demarcated. Photo: Glasgow slum, 1868