This well dressed damsel dates from the mid-1850s to the late 1860s, when the fashion for crinoline or hoop skirts swept far and wide (and I do mean wide!) through the fashion world. The creation of the crinoline cage allowed wide bell-shaped swinging skirts, some as much as six feet in diameter.
The fashion for hoop skirts was often the target of social satire and even risqué humor. This china charmer shows a whole other side, displaying a damsel in dishabille buried beneath the wide rings of wire and whalebone and the many yards of fabric and flounces.
Just 3.25 inches tall, this comic china figurine is known as a fairing, because these small inexpensive porcelain pieces often were given as prizes or sold as souvenirs at fairs from the mid-1800s through the early 1900s.
A similar spoof from a 1856 cartoon that appeared in "Punch," a British humor and political satire magazine.