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Gown

  • Place of origin:

    England, Great Britain (made)
    Bengal (fabric, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1800 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    unknown (production)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Muslin embroidered with cotton thread

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Miss Frances Vickers

  • Museum number:

    444-1888

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, room 120, case 8

  • Download image

By the end of the 18th century, rigidly tailored garments for both men and women were replaced by styles made for ease and comfort, resulting in the neoclassical style of the 1780s. Inspired in part by the statuary of ancient Greece and Rome, the new fashion was epitomised by light cotton gowns falling around the body in an unstructured way, held around the high waist with a simple sash and accompanied by a soft shawl draped around exposed shoulders. This style was ideal for the Indian imports like Kashmiri shawls and Bengali muslin, as used in this embroidered gown. Championed by such influential figures as Emma Hamilton in England and Madame Récamier in France, the so-called ‘Empire’ style catapulted Indian muslin into the forefront of fashion.

Physical description

'Empire style' unstructured muslin gown embroidered with cotton thread

Place of Origin

England, Great Britain (made)
Bengal (fabric, made)

Date

ca. 1800 (made)

Artist/maker

unknown (production)

Materials and Techniques

Muslin embroidered with cotton thread

Dimensions

Circumference: 70 cm bust, Length: 141 cm centre front, shoulder to hem, Length: 172 cm centre back, shoulder to end of train, Circumference: 170 cm hem, approximately

Exhibition History

The Victoria and Albert Museum: Art and Design For All (Kunst und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn 18/11/2011-15/04/2012)
Encounters: The Meeting of Asia & Europe 1500-1800 (01/01/2004-31/12/2004)

Labels and date

British Galleries
GOWN
About 1800

Women’s dress changed dramatically after 1785. The rich fabrics and complicated, formal shapes of the late 18th century gave way to simple, light fabrics that draped easily. These new gowns achieved something of the effect of the simple tunics shown on classical Greek and Roman statues and vases,

Muslin embroidered with cotton thread
Fabric made in India, gown made in England

Given by Miss Frances Vickers
Museum no. 444-1888
[2013]

Production Note

Muslin cloth from India (Bengal)

Materials

Muslin; Cotton thread

Techniques

Embroidery

Categories

Embroidery; Fashion

Collection code

T&F

Download image
Qr_O108504
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