Magnificent Mesh - Purses of the Great Gatsby Era Rampant Lion antiques, 126 Central Avenue Hot Springs AR, will feature “Magnificent Mesh - Purses of the Great Gatsby Era” an exhibition and sale of one of the largest collections of antique mesh bags
News-Antique.com - May 31,2007 - HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK, Arkansas - The Rampant Lion antique shop at 126 Central Avenue Hot Springs Arkansas will feature “Magnificent Mesh - Purses of the Great Gatsby Era” an exhibition and sale of one of the largest collections of antique and vintage metal mesh purses ever presented in the mid-south. The exhibition will begin on June 15th in conjunction with Antique Walk, the monthly evening shopping experience, and will run through July 31st.
The “Magnificent Mesh - Great Gatsby” purse collection was amassed over a period of 40 years by a notable collector from Washington D.C. The materials that these bags are made from varies from gold, silver, nickel, and enameled steel with frames and closures set with precious and semi- precious stones. Many of the bags on exhibition have been featured in collector books due to their excellent condition and rarity.
Metal mesh purses made of real silver and gold were first introduced in the 1820s. By the 1870s, an aristocratic woman was carrying a chain mesh bag of interlocking rings made by hand. Nineteenth century companies sent the links to homemakers who assembled the mesh creating one of the first large scale cottage industries. A simple completed mesh bag may contain as many as 100,000 individual links. By 1895, mesh was made of nickel silver and by 1899; they made steel mesh with a gold finish. In the 1902, Sear & Roebuck Catalog sold silver finish white metal link bags for $75.00, a considerable amount for the time.
In 1907, a machine that made the metal mesh was invented, making the glamorous life and these highly sought after bags affordable to everyone. Whiting & Davis and the Mandalian Company made mesh bags that were the “had to have” bags of their time. The Whiting & Davis, an accessories company known for quality, is still making metal mesh bags, but few compare to the beauty of their antique and vintage creations.
The varied styles of mesh bags that are represented in this exhibition are Whiting & Davis’s “El-sah”, “Princess Mary”, “Beadlite”, “Poiret Pouches“, “Dresden Watercolor” or “Baby Ring”, and Mandalian’s “Lustro Pearl” and “Martha Washington”. We have children’s and adult size bags. There are also “Miser’s purses and compact bags called “Necessaries”.
Each bag is a little work of art; they are extremely popular with collectors, decorators, and the fashionista alike. Visit the Rampant Lion between June 15th and July 31st for a unique opportunity to view “Magnificent Mesh - Purses of the Great Gatsby Era”. For more information on the exhibition, or to make a reservation for a private showing for your group, please, contact Johanna Johnson at 501-627-0608.