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Dress panel

Dress panel

  • Place of origin:

    Spitalfields (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1745 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Brocaded silk satin

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs Zoe Read, in memory of her parents Ferdinand M. G. Bonnaud ARCA and Hilda Bonnaud

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This fabric is a brocaded silk satin, and was intended for ladies' gowns. The technique of brocading allowed different colours to be introduced into the pattern of a fabric in specific, sometimes very small areas. It was a more laborious process for the weaver than using patterning wefts running from selvedge to selvedge, but the resulting effect could be much more varied and lively.
The flowers depicted on this silk are well drawn, and include dodecatheon meadia, from the primrose family, sometimes known as the American Cowslip.

Physical description

Panel of brocaded silk satin for a dress. With a floral pattern featuring three sprays of flowers scattered on a plain off-white satin background. Probably satin of eight; decoupure of 12. The silk is tightly woven and the decoupure is quite course. The selvage is also woven in satin but with one central green stripe.

Place of Origin

Spitalfields (made)


ca. 1745 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Brocaded silk satin


Length: 26 in repeat, Width: 20.375 in repeat, Height: 41.5 in, Height: 105.4 cm, Width: 20.75 in, Width: 52.7 cm

Object history note

Registered File number 1986/85.

Information supplied by the donor:

Flowers on woven silk

'I noticed something that looks like a centaurea, 'sweet sutton? knapweed family', as well as roses etc.

There is a spray of cyclamen-like blooms which is, I think, dodecatheon meadia, primrose family (Dodecatheon Meadia). Comes from N. America and is known as American cowslip. The flower is the right colour and the centres of the flower are also correct. The spray is rather fancifully curved but the designer took botanical liberties with most of his stems. I do not think it is a cyclamen or dog-tooth violet because they are single stems and I think he would have used their rather distinctive and beautiful leaves in the designs. Also the centres of the dodecatheon are more vivid red and orange which the flowers on the silk are.'

Historical context note

Other panels are in the Museum of London, The Macclesfield Sunday School Heritage Centre, Silk Museum, Whitworth Art Gallery Manchester, and the Royal Museum of Scotland.

Descriptive line

Dress panel of brocaded silk satin, made in England (Spitalfields), ca. 1745


Silk (textile)


Satin weave; Brocaded

Subjects depicted

Floral patterns; Flowers




Textiles and Fashion Collection

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