- Museum number
A woman's festive apron, rectangular in shape, calf length. Made from two equal sized pieces of weft faced tabby woven cloth; polychrome wool bands with additional decoration. The middle section is predominantly red with applied geometric embroidery, worked in coloured wool yarns, metal sequins and gold- and silver-metal wrapped thread plaited into narrow ribbons. The hem has synthetic green and red cloth, a band of interlacing, and woven trim with a fringe, worked in gold- and silver- coloured metal-wrapped thread respectivly. The top section, gathered onto a narrow band, is made from brushed cotton twill cloth, small-scale print, black on red ground. Apron ties (some cloth missing) made from deep red satin silk (?). Top part of lining is natural cream cloth; majority is glazed mid-blue cloth; both tabby woven, industrial cloth.
- Production date
Length: 85 centimetres
Width: 68 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Information from the donor: This collection [2007,8020 1 – 8] belonged to Lucy Hopper, the wife of Frederick Cazalet, and great grandmother of the donor. Frederick Cazalet was a director of Muir & Mirrielees, the largest department store in Russia before the Revolution. Muir & Mirrielees was known to the British community as M & M’s. Its main building still stands in Moscow, at the junction of Petrovka (facing the Bolshoi Theatre) and Theatre Square. M&M’s was nationalized in December 1918 and renamed TsUM [Tsentral’ni Universal’ni Mogni]. Muir & Mirrielees began as a wholesale business in St. Petersburg in 1843. It was founded by Andrew Muir, a Scottish merchant who imported ‘sewing cottons, laces and many other kinds of British manufactures’ and Archibald Mirrielees. In the late 1880s the firm set up a retail business on the site still occupied by TsUM and rented further space on Kuznetsky Most, where carpets, oilcloth, furnishing fabrics, lamps and household equipment were sold. Muir and Mirrielees were among an important group of British men – Scots and Lancastrians in particular - who had key jobs in large Russian textile mills, mills which were almost entirely equipped with British machinery.
By the early 1890s the two shops contained 44 different departments, with almost 1000 staff. (M&M’s modelled itself on Whiteley’s in London.) The cover of the Autumn and Winter catalogue for 1914 – 15 described M&M’s as Russia’s biggest universal store and gave the number of departments as ‘about 80’. In their advertising the firm stressed that their goods could not be obtained elsewhere, sourced both within Russia and western Europe. No attempt appears to have been made to present the shop as a specifically British concern. M&M’s sent out catalogues four times a year, free to all parts of the Russian Empire. An order for goods to the value of 50R or more, accompanied by payment, would be delivered free of charge anywhere within the Russian Empire, the only exclusion being particularly heavy or bulky items.
The store had some famous customers. Chekhov went there to buy his hats and writing paper, and furniture for his home in Melikhovo and latterly in Yalta. He received M&M’s catalogues regularly. He bought things mail order and friends and family living in and around Moscow bought things for him from the shop. His sister gave M&M’s the Russian diminutive ‘Muirka’. Chekhov named two of his dogs after the founders.
Lucy Hopper was born in Moscow on 2nd August 1870. Her father William Hopper (1816 – 1885), with his four sons, owned William Hopper & Sons, an engineering business. The Hoppers were members of a circle of wealthy Britons, including the Smith family, fellow industrialists. (The Smiths were friends of the Morozov’s, who had interests in textiles, railways and banking.) On 16th September 1901 Lucy married Frederick Cazalet, a director of Muir & Mirrielees. Frederick had been born in Moscow, in 1871, a grandson of Archibald Mirrielees. The Cazalets had been in Russia since the time of Catherine the Great, when Noah Cazalet started a rope factory in St. Petersburg.
Lucy made frequent visits to Britain to visit relatives and also when she gave birth to her children, to ensure they had British citizenship. The donor believes the clothes were brought to Britain on one of these trips since, when Lucy, her husband and their two children left Russia, in June 1918, they were allowed to take only two cabin trunks between them and £50 each in cash. It is unlikely these clothes were chosen above other family possessions when the family had to flee. Thus they are most likely to have been brought to England some time before 1917.
The original owner of the textiles is thought to be Florence (Flo) Hopper, Lucy's elder sister by eight years. Florence, who never married, was born and brought up in Russia. She is the woman standing in the attached b/w photograph. The woman seated is her friend, Aggie Makant. Both are in fancy dress in a studio setting.
See: Pitcher, Harvey, 1994: Muir & Mirrielees: the Scottish partnership that became a household name in Russia, Cromer, Swallow House Books; Pitcher, Harvey, 1981: The Smiths of Moscow: a story of Britons abroad, Cromer, Swallow House Books; West, J.L. and Petrov, I.A., eds., 1998: Merchant Moscow: Images of Russia's Vanished Bourgeoisie (contains image of Muir & Merrielees).
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number