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Gown

  • Place of origin:

    Spitalfields (textile, weaving)
    England (gown, sewing)

  • Date:

    1740 - 1749 (weaving)
    1740 - 1749 (sewing)
    1760 - 1769 (altered)
    1950 - 1959 (altered)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silk, linen silk thread, linen thread; hand woven and hand sewn

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs H. H. Fraser

  • Museum number:

    T.433-1967

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This 1760s gown features a rose-red silk with trails of ivory flowers woven in a complex technique. The fabric, a type of silk known as gros de tours, dates from the 1740s, but the gown itself has been remade into the style of the 1760s. It may have started out as a fashionable 1740s sack-back gown and would have featured the ‘wing’ cuff sleeve popular during that decade. In the 1760s, the garment was restyled into the popular English style of gown with pleated back. The cuffs were replaced with single ruffles with scalloped and pinked edges.

Due to the great expense of silk, it was very common practice in the 18th century for women to remake and update their gowns. Gros de tours silks were luxury fabrics in the 1740s, costing between 6 shillings and twelve shillings per yard; a sack-back gown required some fifteen yards of silk.

Physical description

A woman's gown of woven in a complex weave with a white ground warp and weft, and supplementary pink weft, in a figured design of large and small floral sprays. The ground warp of white silk is woven in tabby and used for the flush effect.The binding warp is white silk, binding the pink pattern weft in a chevron twill based in a repeat of 4 ends, and binding the white ground weft in tabby under the flush effect. The pattern is created with complex binding, making it reversible with a strongly contrasting pattern, particularly effective on the sleeve ruffles. The gown is in the English (tight-back) style, open at the front with elbow-length sleeves and single, scalloped and pinked sleeve ruffles. The bodice robings extend to the waist, with four buttoned straps graduating in size,on each side of the bodice front. Each fastens with self covered buttons and worked buttonholes. The bodice and straps are lined with two types of inen. The pleats at the back are stitched down and the skirts flat-pleated into the waist seam. The gown is made of 6 widths of silk. A tape is stitched at the centre back waist.

The gown has been altered at least once in the 18th century and the bodice relined. It may have been altered for a smaller wearer. The dress shields were probably added in the 1950s.

Place of Origin

Spitalfields (textile, weaving)
England (gown, sewing)

Date

1740 - 1749 (weaving)
1740 - 1749 (sewing)
1760 - 1769 (altered)
1950 - 1959 (altered)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Silk, linen silk thread, linen thread; hand woven and hand sewn

Dimensions

Length: 137.0 cm shoulder to hem at centre back approx, Circumference: 95.0 cm bust under armholes approx, Width: 51.6 cm silk, selvedge to selvedge

Object history note

The lace cuffs were removed during conservation 2007 and numbered T.433A&B-1967.

Descriptive line

A woman's gown, English, 1760-69; Pink gros de tours silk with flush effect, ivory flowers, Spitalfields, 1740s; fancy dress additions 1950s

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. 86

Materials

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

Techniques

Hand weaving; Hand sewing

Categories

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

Production Type

Unique

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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