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Sack back

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1740 - 1749 (embroidering)
    1740 - 1749 (sewing)
    1760 -1769 (altered)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silk, linen, silk thread, linen thread, silver, gold, parchment; hand woven and hand sewn, bobbin lace and passementerie

  • Museum number:

    700-1864

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Finely petalled rosettes punctuate the fly fringe (braid) adorning this 1760s sack-back gown. They are made of narrow strips of parchment, covered in silk and twisted into the shape of petals, a technique used in both embroidery and lace since the late 17th century. In addition to the rosettes, the fringe incorporates loops of silver thread with tufts of coloured floss silk. Known as fly fringe, these knotted and highly decorative trims were a popular embellishment for women’s dress between the 1750s and early 1780s.

The fringe of this gown compliments the embroidery of the gown executed in coloured silks, and silver-gilt threads. The pattern of large flowers and leaves is typical of the 1740s, but the the gown was altered in the 1760s for another wearer and updated in style with the addition of the fringe.

Physical description

A woman's sack-back gown of ivory silk embroidered with coloured silks and metal threads on the sleeve ruffles, robings and skirt fronts. The gown is open at the front, with elbow-length-sleeves and triple sleeve ruffles (the middle sleeve ruffle of the left sleeve was removed before acquisition). The bodice and sleeves are lined with linen. The skirts are made of six widths of silk.

The gown has been altered in the 1760s for another wearer, with piecing, alteration of the robings and adding a waist seam to the front panels. The metal thread, silk and silk-wrapped fringe was probably added at this time. A length of white silk lace remains on the seam at each side.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)

Date

1740 - 1749 (embroidering)
1740 - 1749 (sewing)
1760 -1769 (altered)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Silk, linen, silk thread, linen thread, silver, gold, parchment; hand woven and hand sewn, bobbin lace and passementerie

Dimensions

Length: 122.0 cm shoulder to hem at centre front approx, Circumference: 85.0 cm bust under armholes approx

Descriptive line

A woman's sack back, English 1760s; of ivory silk embroidered with flowers, leaves, 1740-49, trimmed with parchment & silk fringe

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. 134

Materials

Silk (textile); Linen (material); Parchment; Silver-gilt

Techniques

Hand weaving; Hand embroidery; Hand sewing; Passementerie

Subjects depicted

Flowers; Rosettes

Categories

Fashion; Textiles; Clothing; Europeana Fashion Project

Production Type

Unique

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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