Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Dress panel

  • Place of origin:

    France (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1780 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Embroidered silk satin with silks, velvet appliqué, chenille, metal purl, swansdown

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the Royal School of Needlework

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

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.

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.

Place of Origin

France (made)


ca. 1780 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Embroidered silk satin with silks, velvet appliqué, chenille, metal purl, swansdown


Length: 188.5 cm, Width: 75 cm, Width: 29.75 in, Length: 64 in

Descriptive line

Panel for the train of a woman's court dress, France, ca. 1780; ivory satin embroidered and appliqueed with silk, chenille, swansdown

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

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.


Silk; Satin; Velvet; Chenille; Purl; Swansdown; Silk thread


Embroidery; Applique

Subjects depicted

Peacock feathers; Flowers; Roses; Scallops; Swags; Wreaths (costume accessories)


Embroidery; Fashion; Formal wear; Women's clothes; Textiles; Europeana Fashion Project


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.