Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.


  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

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

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

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

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Finely petalled rosettes punctuate the fringe adorning this 1760s sack. 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. These knotted and highly decorative trims were a popular embellishment for women’s dress between the 1750s and early 1780s.

The fringe 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 of ivory silk embroidered with coloured silks and metal threads on the sleeve ruffles, robings and skirt fronts. The sack 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 sack 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)


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



Materials and Techniques

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


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, British 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


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


Hand weaving; Hand embroidery; Hand sewing; Passementerie

Subjects depicted

Flowers; Rosettes


Fashion; Textiles; Clothing; 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.