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  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1862 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Jaqcuard-woven silk trimmed with satin, lined with glazed cotton, boned and brass

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Miss I. Bowhill McClure

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

A voluminous skirt billows out from the fitted bodice of this outfit, creating an expanse of intense blue punctuated by woven stripes. Both natural and synthetic dyes were used to generate the dazzling hues that became particularly fashionable in Britain during the 1850s and 1860s. The streets and drawing rooms must have been awash with colour. Bright blue was a popular colour, and silk a stylish choice for dress fabric as it took the dye very well, producing an intense glossy sheen.

Not everyone approved of these striking shades and the French historian Hippolyte Taine (1828-1893) found women's dress 'loud and overcharged with ornament' when he visited England in the 1860s. He thought that the colours were 'outrageously crude...each swearing at the others' and cited 'violate dresses, of a really ferocious violet;' 'purple or poppy red silks, grass green dresses' and 'azure blue scarves' as particularly offensive to the eye.

Isobella Bowhill (1840-1920), the donor's grandmother, is said to have worn this dress to the International Exhibition of 1862 in London.

Physical description

Day dress consisting of a bodice and skirt made of blue silk, jacquard-woven with a ribbon stripe and trimmed with silk passementerie. Lined with silk, cotton and whalebone strips.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


1862 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Jaqcuard-woven silk trimmed with satin, lined with glazed cotton, boned and brass

Descriptive line

Bodice and skirt of Jaquard-woven silk trimmed with satin and lined with glazed cotton, Great Britain, 1862


Silk; Passementerie; Fringe; Cotton; Whalebone




Fashion; Day wear; Women's clothes; Europeana Fashion Project; Clothing


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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