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Mantua

  • Place of origin:

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

  • Date:

    1745-1746 (weaving)
    1750s (sewing)
    1875 - 1900 (altered)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

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

  • Museum number:

    T.44-1910

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This court mantua of the 1750s features the triple-sleeve ruffle also found in fashionable dress. By the 1740s, the mantua was worn only at court, although it continued to evolve slowly in style through the remainder of the 18th century. In this example, the fashionable 1750s triple ruffle has superseded the ‘wing’ cuff of the 1740s. The curvilinear shape of the ruffles and tiered effect echo the stylistic characteristics of the prevailing Rococo style.

The mantua is made of a Spitalfields brocaded silk lustring dating from about 1745 or 1746, and trimmed with coloured silk bobbin lace. Once a fresh green, warm salmon-pink and ivory, the lace has faded somewhat from exposure to light.

Physical description

A woman's court mantua of figured ivory silk, brocaded with floral sprigs in coloured silks. The ensemble is trimmed with green, pink & ivory silk bobbin lace. The mantua is open at the front, with elbow-length sleeves, each trimmed with triple sleeve ruffles. The bodice and sleeves are lined with linen. The mantua train is sewn to the waist at the back and a broad ruffle extending from the front robings has replaced the side drapery of earlier styles of mantua.

The petticoat is made of eight panels of silk and is fashioned for the fan-shaped French hoop. It has been let down at the waist for length in the 18th century, but retains its original pleating and 18th century ribbon binding.

The ensemble has been worn for fancy dress, but little of the original construction has been altered. Boning has been added to the bodice, as well as a stomacher with hooks and eyes and pink silk ribbons to tie over it.

Place of Origin

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

Date

1745-1746 (weaving)
1750s (sewing)
1875 - 1900 (altered)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

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

Descriptive line

A woman's mantua and petticoat, 1750-60, English; ivory figured silk, brocaded floral sprays, green, white & coral silk bobbin lace

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. 90

Materials

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

Techniques

Hand weaving; Brocading; Hand sewing; Bobbin lace making

Categories

Clothing; Textiles; Europeana Fashion Project

Production Type

Unique

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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