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  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1838-1842 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silk, trimmed with silk braid, lined with cotton, metal, boned, hand-sewn

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs O. T. Wade

  • Museum number:

    T.257 to F-1968

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This dress demonstrates the fashionable style of about 1840. The skirt of the dress is fuller than in the 1830s, and so heavy that it is made separately from the bodice. The bodice is pointed at the front of the waist and boned to hold the point in place. Full, ‘bishop’-style sleeves are set below the shoulder and the bodice has a wide, off-the-shoulder neckline. This was inspired by portraits of the 1660s, as was the popular hairstyle with bunches of ringlets at the side of the face. The dress is worn with a velvet mantle, appliquéd and embroidered with flowers. Loose mantles, cloaks and capes were popular forms of outer coverings during this period. When skirts are very full, they are easier to wear than tightly fitting coats and jackets.

Physical description

Silk dress consisting of a skirt and bodice, belt, pair of sleeves and pair of dress fragments.

The separate skirt, which has a deep border at the hem, is flat-pleated with a panel of tight gauging at the back. The hem is headed by a narrow rouleau band. The skirt fastens at the centre back with a rectangular brass metal hook and round section eye. It is lined with white glazed cotton.

The bodice is tightly fitted, fastens at the back and has a long pointed waist. With a low round neck and sleeves tightly gauged with two rows of puffed gauging at the shoulder and a full bishop sleeve, held at the wrist by a cuff of self material fastening with two brass metal hooks. The bodice has a point at the centre front and is trimmed at the centre back waist with a small bow of self material. A narrow band of silk braid trims the neck. The bodice fastens at the centre back with bronze rectangular section hooks with worked eyes. There is a bone in the centre front and at the centre back. Lined with glazed white cotton.

The belt is of self material, stiffened and lined with glazed white cotton. It has a pointed end and fastens with a double white metal hook joined by a band and a metal eye.

Pair of long and low-set sleeves, medium full and gathered below the shoulder and again above the small turned-back cuff. Pair of trapezoidal dress fragments of self material.

It is probable that this dress was re-made from a dress of the 1820s.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1838-1842 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Silk, trimmed with silk braid, lined with cotton, metal, boned, hand-sewn

Descriptive line

Silk dress consisting of a skirt and bodice, belt, pair of sleeves and pair of dress fragments, England, 1838-1842


Women's clothes; Day wear; Textiles; Fashion; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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