Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.


  • Place of origin:

    India (textile, weaving)
    India (textile, embroidering)
    France (sewing)

  • Date:

    1770 - 1780 (weaving)
    1775 - 1780 (sewing)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Cotton, silk, linen, cotton thread, silk thread, linen thread; hand-woven, hand-embroidered, hand-sewn, hand-made bobbin lace

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This elegant gown of the late 1770s illustrates new developments in women’s fashion. Muslin, a very finely spun and woven cotton, began to rival silk in popularity as a dress fabric. This muslin has woven white stripes, alternating with tamboured (chain stitched with a hook instead of a needle) sprays of flowers in white silk thread. A pink silk lining added a delicate blush to the overall shade of the gown. The curvilinear arrangement of decoration seen in the 1760s was no longer fashionable when this gown was made, and the wide lengths of gathered net have been arranged in a straight line on either side of the gown opening.

Physical description

A woman's robe à la française or sack of striped white muslin, lined with pink silk taffeta. The muslin is tamboured in white cotton thread in a pattern of floral trails and srpigs. The sack is open at the front, with elbow-length sleeves. The bodice meets at centre front. The sleeves and back of the bodice are lined with linen, and the armhole seams bound with pink silk. The bodice lining is open at the centre back with five pairs of linen tape for adjustment. There are two double, box pleats, stitched at the neckline. The sack appears to be made from 2 widths of muslin and a partial panel and triangular gore of muslin on each side of the front, and 3 widths of pink silk with a partial width and triangular gore on each side of the front. The two layers are sewn as one, and the hem bound and faced with wide linen tape. There is no waist seam. The fronts are shaped with 2 pleat running to the waist, in front of the bodice side seams. The skirts extend over a square hoop; the pocket openings are bound to form a casing through which runs a drawstring. A band of gathered silk bobbin lace, increasing in width, is applied along the front edges of the skirts from waist to hem. Another band of the gathered lace forms the cuffs on the sleeves. A narrower band of silk bobbin lace decorates the bodice fronts and neckline.

Alterations have been made to the bodice lining, which originally extended into the armhole seams. All that remains are two strips of linen folded in half and sewn to the first bodice pleat. This does not appear to be fancy dress alteration.

Place of Origin

India (textile, weaving)
India (textile, embroidering)
France (sewing)


1770 - 1780 (weaving)
1775 - 1780 (sewing)



Materials and Techniques

Cotton, silk, linen, cotton thread, silk thread, linen thread; hand-woven, hand-embroidered, hand-sewn, hand-made bobbin lace


Length: 172.0 cm shoulder to hem at centre back approx, Circumference: 83.5 cm bust under armholes approx, Width: 109.0 cm muslin, selvedge to selvedge approx, Width: 73.0 cm silk, selvedge to selvedge approx

Descriptive line

A woman's sack or robe à la française, 1775-1780, French; striped and embroidered white Indian muslin, 1770s, pink silk lining

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Hart, Avril and Susan North. Historical Fashion in Detail: The 17th and 18th Centuries. London: V&A Publications, 1998, p.36


Cotton (textile); Silk (textile); Linen (material); Linen thread; Silk thread; Cotton thread


Hand weaving; Tambouring; Hand sewing; Bobbin lace making

Subjects depicted

Flowers; Floral sprays


Women's clothes; Fashion; Embroidery; Europeana Fashion Project

Production Type



Textiles and Fashion Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.