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Dress fabric
  • Dress fabric
    Garthwaite, Anna Maria, born 1690 - died 1763
  • Enlarge image

Dress fabric

  • Place of origin:

    Spitalfields (woven)

  • Date:

    1742 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Garthwaite, Anna Maria, born 1690 - died 1763 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silk, brocaded with silver thread

  • Credit Line:

    Given by F. A. Rawlence

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 52b, case 1

Object Type
This fabric is a brocaded silk and was intended for ladies' gowns. The technique of brocading allowed different colours or types of thread to be introduced into the pattern of a fabric in specific, sometimes very small areas. This was of particular importance in silks woven with metal thread, like this, where the gold or silver was too precious to waste on the back of the fabric where it would not be seen.

The freelance silk designer Anna Maria Garthwaite was commissioned to design this silk by Captain Peter Lekeux, one of most prominent master weavers in the English silk industry. He bought at least 18 designs from her, a number of which were to be brocaded exclusively in metal thread, like this one.

The prosperity enjoyed by some of the most successsful master weavers in the English silk industry, like Peter Lekeux, enabled them to buy large houses in the new quarter of Spitalfields, the Old Artillery Ground. The master weaver Giles Bigot's house on the South side of Spital Square was described as having four storeys with a colonade and being 'finished in a Grand Manner'.

Physical description

A pattern of brown leaves and flowers on a blue ground in lustring.

Place of Origin

Spitalfields (woven)


1742 (made)


Garthwaite, Anna Maria, born 1690 - died 1763 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Silk, brocaded with silver thread


Height: 125.2 cm, Width: 55.2 cm

Object history note

Designed by Anna Maria Garthwaite (born in Grantham, Lincolnshire, 1690, died in London, 1763). Woven in Spitalfields, London

Descriptive line

Dress Silk

Labels and date

British Galleries:
This silk was woven from a design by Anna Maria Garthwaite sold in 1742 to Captain Peter Lekeux, one of the most prominent Spitalfields master weavers. The design is coloured in shades of yellow and orange and the finished silk shows this was a colour code for different types of metal thread. [27/03/2003]

Subjects depicted

Leaves; Flowers


Textiles; British Galleries; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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