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Day Dress

1830 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This day dress is made of a vibrantly coloured block-printed cotton. Floral prints were very popular in the late 1820s and 1830s. While some designs were quite fanciful, many, like this one, which scatters sprigs of heather alongside stems of marigolds and valerian, were more naturalistic. The vivid red ground was produced by a dye based on madder called Turkey red. The intensity of the colours of the fabric and its exuberant pattern distract the eye from the many flaws in the printing where the design has not been registered accurately, causing over-printing.

The pattern also effectively conceals a panel in the bodice which could be unfastened at the waist and raised for nursing. Although the dress has been adapted for motherhood it follows the fashionable silhouette and its wide shoulderline, created by its modish sleeves, is balanced by a full, bell shaped skirt. The sleeves, which are very full at the arm hole but taper towards the wrist, are finished with self cuffs decorated with gilt buttons.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Hand-made from block-printed cotton and lined with cotton
Brief Description
Day dress hand-made from block-printed cotton and lined with cotton, Great Britain, about 1830
Physical Description
Day dress hand-made from block-printed cotton and lined with cotton. Cut and constructed for nursing.



The dress has a shallow wide neckline and long sleeves which are full at the sleevehead and tapers towards the wrist. The sleeve ends are finished with self-cuffs which are cut to wrap over and form a diagonal line, which is trimmed along the outside edge with six tiny gilt-metal, non-functional buttons. The cuffs fasten with hooks and eyes. The front panels of the bodice are decorated over the breasts with a pair of horizontal self-pleats which meet in a V-shape at the centre front. The dress has a slightly raised waist and a full bell-shaped skirt which is gathered into the waist. The hem of the skirt is trimmed with a deep self-flounce. The bodice has a loose panel which could be unfastened at the waist and lifted for nursing. The design of the print sets boldly drawn flower stems, which include marigolds, heather and valerian rendered in pink, yellow, green and indigo, on a vivid madder ground. The fabric was probably printed with indigo and madder by a resist process and overprinted with yellow to form orange and green.
Dimensions
  • Nape to hem length: 129.5cm
  • Waist circumference: 59cm
  • Height: 1600mm (Note: Dims when mounted.)
  • Width: 700mm (Note: Dims when mounted)
  • Depth: 700mm (Note: Dims when mounted.)
Credit line
Given by Miss D. A. Frearson
Object history
Registered File number 1987/1708.



In May 2016 the dress was analysed by Julie H. Wertz at the Centre for Textile Conservation and Technical Art History, University of Glasgow. Wertz concluded that the dress was dyed using the Turkey Red method. The full report is uploaded on the CMS record as an asset.
Subject depicted
Summary
This day dress is made of a vibrantly coloured block-printed cotton. Floral prints were very popular in the late 1820s and 1830s. While some designs were quite fanciful, many, like this one, which scatters sprigs of heather alongside stems of marigolds and valerian, were more naturalistic. The vivid red ground was produced by a dye based on madder called Turkey red. The intensity of the colours of the fabric and its exuberant pattern distract the eye from the many flaws in the printing where the design has not been registered accurately, causing over-printing.



The pattern also effectively conceals a panel in the bodice which could be unfastened at the waist and raised for nursing. Although the dress has been adapted for motherhood it follows the fashionable silhouette and its wide shoulderline, created by its modish sleeves, is balanced by a full, bell shaped skirt. The sleeves, which are very full at the arm hole but taper towards the wrist, are finished with self cuffs decorated with gilt buttons.
Bibliographic References
  • Johnston, Lucy with Kite, Marion and Persson, Helen. Nineteenth-Century Fashion in Detail. London: V&A Publications, 2005. 194-5 p., ill. ISBN 185174394.
Collection
Accession Number
T.74-1988

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record createdDecember 28, 2007
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