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Gown

ca. 1775-1785 (block printing), ca. 1780-1785 (sewing)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

In the 1770s and 1780s printed cotton fabrics began to replace silk in popularity for women’s gowns. The material of this gown has a delicate trail of repeating floral sprays. The restrained decoration illustrates the growing influence in the Neo-classical style in textile design.

The gown has a fitted back and open front below the waist, revealing a petticoat, possibly of the same fabric, or a complementary colour and fabric. The lightness of decoration and use of cotton instead of silk indicates that this gown was probably worn during summer afternoons for card games and tea parties, rather than for evening dress.

The bodice and skirt of the gown have been unpicked, either for updating the style in a later decade or recycling into another garment


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Gown Bodice
  • Skirt
Materials and Techniques
Cotton, linen, linen thread; hand-woven, block-printed, hand-painted, hand-sewn
Brief Description
A woman's gown, the bodice and skirt unpicked at the waist seam, block-printed cotton of floral sprays and trails ca. 1775-1785, the gown sewn ca. 1780-1785, English
Physical Description
A woman's gown of white cotton, block printed in a design of vertical undulating and branched yellow scaly stems through which are threaded branched floral trails in black with red and green, purple, with hand-painted blue hare-bell like flowers, and sprays of red leaves. The gown is open at the front with shaped sleeves, ending just below the elbow. The bodice meets at centre front. The back is cut in a curve to point at the centre back. It is lined with linen and was probably boned at the centre back. There are traces of stitching from half way along the sides to the back where the skirt was attached. The back is made of 4 shaped pieces, tapering to a point at centre back below the waist. The bodice and sleeves are lined with bleached linen. Stitching either side of the centre back seam created casings for bones (missing), with small openings for them in the lining just below the neck line.



The skirt is made of 2 widths of cotton with a partial panel in the centre at the back. The skirt fronts curve upward slightly from side to the centre front opening. There is a narrow hem at the bottom of the skirts. The opening at the centre back waist of the skirt, for the point at the back of the bodice, has been sewn up.



The waist seam was unpicked at some point and the gown acquired in two pieces. Part A is the skirt.
Dimensions
  • Pattern repeat length: 34cm
  • Pattern repeat width: 58.7cm
  • Cotton, selvedge to selvedge width: 124.5cm
Style
Production typeUnique
Credit line
Bequeathed by A. M. R. Kenny
Subject depicted
Summary
In the 1770s and 1780s printed cotton fabrics began to replace silk in popularity for women’s gowns. The material of this gown has a delicate trail of repeating floral sprays. The restrained decoration illustrates the growing influence in the Neo-classical style in textile design.



The gown has a fitted back and open front below the waist, revealing a petticoat, possibly of the same fabric, or a complementary colour and fabric. The lightness of decoration and use of cotton instead of silk indicates that this gown was probably worn during summer afternoons for card games and tea parties, rather than for evening dress.



The bodice and skirt of the gown have been unpicked, either for updating the style in a later decade or recycling into another garment
Collection
Accession Number
T.100&A-1966

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record createdDecember 15, 1999
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