Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Evening dress

Evening dress

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1810 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Machine-made silk bobbin net, hand-embroidered with silver gilt braid and spangles

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Messrs Harrods Ltd.

  • Museum number:

    T.795-1913

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Sprigs, hand-embroidered in chain stitch with gilt metal thread and embellished with spangles (sequins), decorate this delicate evening dress. It is made of machine-made black silk bobbin net and would have been worn over a silk underdress of a lighter colour. Elaborate and delicate dresses like this one were worn for special occasions such as balls.

Net dresses were very fashionable and their popularity was spurred by new inventions. The development of machine-made net in the late 18th and early 19th centuries meant that gauzy lace effects were increasingly affordable either as trimmings or garments. The bobbin-net machine was patented by the Englishman John Heathcoat in 1808 and produced a superior net identical to the twist-net grounds of hand-made bobbin lace. It was so successful that women in the highest ranks of society, including the Emperor Napoleon's first wife, Josephine, wore machine-net dresses. Initially, however, all machine nets were plain and had to be embroidered by hand.

Physical description

Ankle-length evening dress with a high waist and short puff sleeves made of machine-made black silk bobbin net, hand-embroidered with silver-gilt motifs in chain stitch and spangles. The seams and edges are finished with gilt metail braid.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)

Date

ca. 1810 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Machine-made silk bobbin net, hand-embroidered with silver gilt braid and spangles

Dimensions

Length: 93.5 cm nape to hem, Width: 34.5 cm, Depth: 15.5 cm

Descriptive line

Evening dress, machine-made black silk bobbin net, hand-embroidered with silver-gilt spangles and braid.

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

Johnston, Lucy with Kite, Marion and Persson, Helen. Nineteenth-Century Fashion in Detail. London: V&A Publications, 2005. 146-7p., ill. ISBN 185174394.

Materials

Silk net; Metal

Techniques

Hand embroidery

Categories

Fashion; Embroidery; Europeana Fashion Project

Collection

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.