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A chatelaine is an accessory which was commonly used by ladies in the 1700s and 1800s. In the 1700s, however, chatelaines were more commonly known as ‘equipages.’

Chatelaines were suspended from the waistband of ladies' clothing and, in the early days of their use, their main purpose was a practical one. They contained different attached elements such as sewing accessories, keys, watches or scissors.


The chatelaine on display belonged to a lady from Strathaven. It dates from the late 1800s and was probably worn as a fashionable accessory rather than just used as a tool for carrying practical items.

Instead of containing useful household attachments, this particular chatelaine has personal items that are similar to objects that might be found in a lady’s handbag today. There is a mirror, a little notebook with pages made from ivory and what appears to be the lid of a perfume bottle. The perfume bottle would probably have been made from porcelain, metal or glass.

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