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  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1885 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Velvet, ribbon and silk cord, lined with satin

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs M. Lawrence

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Elegant mantles such as this fanned out over the back of the skirt displaying the new bustle shape of the mid 1880s to perfection. They were know as dolmans and were characterised by loose sling-like sleeves cut with the body of the garment so that they resembled half-jacket, half-cape. Dolmans became popular for outdoor wear in the 1870s as their semi-fitted style revealed the shapely contours of the fashionable silhouette. When made of heavier materials such as velvet or fur, they proved ideal for spring or early autumn wear as they were less restricting and cumbersome than a coat. Often worn with a muff, dolmans were also loaded with trimmings, including feathers, ribbons and passementerie.

In this example, padded velvet balls are suspended from knotted silk cords to emphasise the backward projection of the skirt and to trim the ribbon bow fastened at the neck. Crimson balls are also attached along the tapered ends hanging down at the front, which were another typical feature of this style, helping to balance the design.

This dolman was worn by Minnie Fisher, the grandmother of the donor, who was born in 1870 at the Old Rectory, Bathhampton, Bath. Minnie studied at Gloucester School of Art where she won a “South Kensington prize” for still-life painting. She died in 1963.

Physical description

Dolman mantle of crimson velvet trimmed with matching ribbon and padded velvet balls suspended from knotted silk cords. Lined with satin.

Hip-length and shaped to the figure at the back with a series of inverted pleats set into the centre back seams to accommodate the bustle. The fronts are longer extending into points. The sleeves are set very low, curved at the elbow and have slight fullness gathered in to the back of the shoulder. There is a medium high standing band collar. The mantle fastens from neck to waist with black metal hook and eyes. Trimmed at the neck with a wide ribbon with satin face and ribbed reverse, and with a looped braid border. A padded pompom is attached to its ends. There are pompoms around the bottom edge and on the front points. Lined with matching satin. There is a waistband of elastic covered with satin stitched to the centre back and fastening with a black metal hook and eye.

Place of Origin

England (made)


ca. 1885 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Velvet, ribbon and silk cord, lined with satin

Descriptive line

Dolman mantle of velvet lined with satin, England, ca. 1885


Fashion; Women's clothes; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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