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Dress fabric

Dress fabric

  • Place of origin:

    Norwich (probably, made)

  • Date:

    1760-1770 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Glazed brocaded worsted

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Worsted is a fabric woven from long staple wool, which is prepared for weaving by combing rather than carding, and can have a smooth finish suitable for glazing. In the second half of the 18th century, there was a considerable export trade in worsteds from Britain. A contemporary writer commented that 'these were woven in various patterns which ... were composed of the richest and most brilliant dyes and variegated by an endless diversity of colours'. The export market was of major importance to Norwich textile manufacture. Norwich Stuffs, as they were known, were exported via London (and later Great Yarmouth), through Rotterdam, Hamburg and Danzig. There were substantial imports into Russia and China, and to the Iberian peninsula, from where they were also re-exported to Central and South America.

The designs for worsted fabrics often followed those popular in more expensive silks. In the 1760s there was a particular taste for designs with trailing patterns of lace and ribbons, as in this example.

Physical description

Dress fabric of glazed brocaded worsted. The main features of the design in pale blue reverse satin on a dark blue warp-faced satin ground. Ribbons variously diapered are its chief motifs. The design has a point repeat, and the ribbons form cartouches, and within these are flowers. The length of the repeat is 31.25 inches.

Place of Origin

Norwich (probably, made)


1760-1770 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Glazed brocaded worsted


Width: 46.4 cm, Height: 93.1 cm, Height: 35.5 in, Width: 18 in, Width: 0.25 in selvedges

Descriptive line

Dress fabric of glazed brocaded worsted, probably made in Norwich, 1760-1770





Subjects depicted



Textiles; Clothing; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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