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Theatre costume

  • Place of origin:


  • Date:

    mid 18th century

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Child's frock coat worn in private court theatre performances at the Meleto Castle, Tuscany, ca.1750. The basic fabric coarse linen covered with coral-pink brocade woven with stylized floral design in silver thread. Sleeves short on the underside, and on the outside fall to below the elbow in deep point; the point bordered with silver braid and passementerie. Sides open from the waist to hem and on either side of the openings pleated panels inserted to give fullness to the skirt. Under arms and down edge-to-edge front elaborate arabesque motifs as 'frogging', of black silk bordered with silver strip over a padded base, finished with bright sequins held by silver thread knots. Down centre back and from shoulders four strips of silver braiding, accenting line of body, which meet at the waist and continue into the skirt.

Place of Origin



mid 18th century


Length: 74 cm Collar to hem, Width: 38 cm Across shoulders, Weight: 4 kg Boxed weight

Object history note

This costume comes from Meleto Castle in Tuscany, where there is a private theatre, which was opened in 1741. It is a very early example of a costume made specially for the stage and, although probably used in productions of plays, it was also undoubtedly used for masques and other entertainments which included dancing.

Sarah Woodcock & Philip Dyer, 1981.

Textiles Department of the V&A have confirmed that both fabric and embroidery cannot de dated more precisely that mid 18th century

Descriptive line

Child's frock coat worn in private court theatre performances at the Meleto Castle, Tuscany, ca.1750.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Strong, Roy, Ivor Guest, Richard Buckle, Sarah C. Woodcock and Philip Dyer, Spotlight: four centuries of ballet costume, a tribute to the Royal Ballet, London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1981.
Inaugural Conference for the Ricasoli Collection
Patrons, Politics, Music and Art in Italy, 1738-1859.
University of Louisville, March 14-18, 1989


Brocade; Braid; Silk (textile); Fringe; Linen (material); Silver thread; Passementerie; Sequin


Theatre and Performance Collection

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