Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.


  • Place of origin:

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

  • Date:

    1775 - 1780 (weaving)
    1779 (sewing)
    28/09/1779 (worn)
    1870 - 1910 (altered)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silk, linen, silk thread, linen thread, silver thread, silver spangles, silver strip, whalebone; hand woven textile and fringe, hand sewn

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs R. Stock

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This gown and petticoat worn by Miss Sarah Boddicott, for her celebrations to her second cousin, Samuel Tyssen on 28 September 1779, at St John's church in Hackney, London. The delicate linear design reflects the influence of neoclassisal taste and is similar to surviving silk patterns woven by the London firm Batchelor, Ham and Perigal.

White and silver became popular colours for brides after Oliver Goldsmith's play, The Good-Natur'd Man was first performed in 1768.

Physical description

A woman's gown and petticoat of white silk woven with silver strip. The gown is open at the front with shaped, elbow-length sleeves. The bodice and skirt are cut separately and seamed at the waist. The bodice meets at centre front. The back is cut in two triangular pieces, tapering to a point below the waist at centre back. The fronts and two backs are lined with linen, and stitched together; the sleeves are also lined with linen. The side back seams are boned on either side of the stitching. There is a casing stitched in the linen lining of each bodice front, below the neckline, for a narrow linen-tape drawstring. The skirt is made of 3 widths of silk with 2 partial panels on each side of the front. The skirt is flat pleated into the waist. The front edges of the skirt have been pleated to form a robing, tapering from waist to hem. These are trimmed with a fringe of silver thread and spangles. The same fringe trims the openings of the sleeves.

The petticoat is made of 5 widths of silk. The centre back panel is the same pattern as the silk of the rest of gown, but in a smaller scale. There is a box pleat at centre front, and inverted box pleat at centre back, with flat pleating at the side. The waist is bound with linen tape, forming the ties for fastening on each side. There are pocket openings on each side, with hem casings and drawstring ties. The hem is faced with linen tape. The front is decorated above the hem with a deep fringe of silver thread, strip and spangles.

The gown was altered for fancy dress in the late 19th century. The gown was repaired with piecing under the arms. Darts were added to the bodice fronts, along with a bone, and hooks and eyes at each front edge. The skirt on the right side was unpicked from the waist and reconfigured.

The fancy dress alterations were reversed as far as possible and the gown restored to its original configuration, with reinforcement to the bodice lining by Textile Conservation for Wedding Dresses 1775-2014.

Place of Origin

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


1775 - 1780 (weaving)
1779 (sewing)
28/09/1779 (worn)
1870 - 1910 (altered)



Materials and Techniques

Silk, linen, silk thread, linen thread, silver thread, silver spangles, silver strip, whalebone; hand woven textile and fringe, hand sewn


Width: 51.0 cm silk, selvedge to selvedge

Object history note

This gown and petticoat were worn by Sarah Boddicott for the celebrations of her marriage to Samuel Tyssen at St John's church, in Hackney, London, on 28 September 1779.

Descriptive line

A woman's gown and petticoat, 1779, English; white silk woven with silver, 1775-80, English, trimmed silver fringe, wedding; altered 1870-1910

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

Avril Hart and Susan North, Historical Fashion in Detail: the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, V&A, 1998, pp.130-1
Edwina Ehrman, Wedding Dresses 1775-2014, V&A, 2011, pp. 32-4


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


Hand weaving; Hand sewing


Fashion; Textiles; Marriage; Europeana Fashion Project; Wall coverings

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.