Dress Panel thumbnail 1
Dress Panel thumbnail 2
Not currently on display at the V&A

Dress Panel

ca. 1780 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This magnificent embroidered panel was intended for a woman's 'robe parée', worn at the French court. It shows the high standard of French needlework and the sequence of decorating and sewing up these opulent formal garments. A length of cream silk satin has had the outline of a panel drawn onto it, which has then been decorated to shape. When cut out and sewn, it would have formed the left side of the wearer's train. The matching petticoat and bodice of the robe parée would have been embroidered with the same pattern.

The rich labour-intensive work shows 18th century French embroidery at its most complex. The cream satin ground has pink, mauve and green silk appliqué, folded to create the illusion of swagged fabric drapes. Swansdown, coloured metal threads, chenille embroidery, and small beads of padded satin add further detail and texture. The flowers are cut out of velvet and appliquéd, whilst the leaves and peacock feathers are embroidered.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Embroidered silk satin with silks, velvet appliqué, chenille, metal purl, swansdown
Brief Description
Panel for the train of a woman's court dress, France, ca. 1780; ivory satin embroidered and appliqueed with silk, chenille, swansdown
Physical Description
Court dress panel consisting of a length of embroidered ivory silk satin. The shaped panel is straight fronted but curves to the right at the hemline. The edge is bordered by a row of chenille feathering, and by a floral border of appliqué velvet flowers, coloured metal purl and embroidered leaves. The borders are edged with rows of padded rondels. Within the border is an applied pink satin panel, its inner edge cut into four scallops, which are decorated with padded swathes of green and mauve satin edged with swansdown, and decorated with padded rondels and puffs of swansdown. From the points of the scallops rise exotic sprays of embroidered peacock feathers, appliqué roses, and other flowers. Silks on satin in long and short, and satin stitches.
Dimensions
  • Length: 188.5cm
  • Width: 75cm
  • Width: 29.75in
  • Length: 64in
Credit line
Given by the Royal School of Needlework
Subjects depicted
Summary
This magnificent embroidered panel was intended for a woman's 'robe parée', worn at the French court. It shows the high standard of French needlework and the sequence of decorating and sewing up these opulent formal garments. A length of cream silk satin has had the outline of a panel drawn onto it, which has then been decorated to shape. When cut out and sewn, it would have formed the left side of the wearer's train. The matching petticoat and bodice of the robe parée would have been embroidered with the same pattern.



The rich labour-intensive work shows 18th century French embroidery at its most complex. The cream satin ground has pink, mauve and green silk appliqué, folded to create the illusion of swagged fabric drapes. Swansdown, coloured metal threads, chenille embroidery, and small beads of padded satin add further detail and texture. The flowers are cut out of velvet and appliquéd, whilst the leaves and peacock feathers are embroidered.
Bibliographic Reference
Fastes de Cour et Cérémonies Royales. Le Costume de Cour en Europe 1650-1800, Paris, 2009, p . 259, cat. 113 and Fig. 55, p. 85.
Collection
Accession Number
T.89-1967

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record createdOctober 1, 2007
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