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  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    1851 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Linen, and muslin frill

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Miss P. Canton

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Women wore chemises next to the skin to protect the outer layers of clothing. The name comes from the French word for shirt or shift. Chemises were made of cotton or linen so that they could be easily washed. This one is marked with the wearer's name and a number to help identify it during the laundry process.

Physical description

Linen chemise with a straight cut back and front, but the side pieces flare slightly from the under-arm to the hem. The neck is low and square and the sleeves are short, and both are trimmed with a narrow linen frill at the base of which is threaded a drawstring.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (possibly, made)


1851 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Linen, and muslin frill

Marks and inscriptions

'M. J. Sanderson 3'
Written in ink, on the left front corner of neck


Length: 45 in

Descriptive line

Linen chemise, possibly made in Great Britain, 1851

Labels and date

This chemise is typical of the mid-19th century. It is plain and simply cut, with short sleeves and a square neckline. A muslin frill is attached for decoration, but it wouldn't have been seen outside the bedroom as so many other layers of underwear and dress were added on top of this simple foundation.

Britain, 1851
Linen with muslin flounce
Given by Miss P. Canton
V&A: T.148-1961 [2013-2015]
Most 19th-century undergarments worn next to the skin, like this chemise, were made of linen or cotton. Fine garments were handwashed. More robust underclothes were intensively laundered. First, they were soaked, pounded and scrubbed in soap and hot water, then boiled, rinsed, and sometimes starched. They were wrung out, hung up to dry and, finally, ironed.

Chemise, inscribed in ink 'M.J. Sanderson 3 1851'
Britain, 1851
Linen with a muslin frill
V&A: T.148-1961
Given by Miss P. Canton [16/04/2016-12/03/2017]


Linen; Muslin


Textiles; Women's clothes; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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