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  • Place of origin:

    Guangdong (textile, painting)
    England (gown, sewing)

  • Date:

    1750 - 1775 (painting)
    1880-1900 (altered)
    1770s (sewing)
    1780 - 1785 (altered)
    1870 - 1910 (altered)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silk, linen, silk thread, linen thread; hand-woven, hand-painted, hand-sewn

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs George Shaw

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

A woman's gown made of Chinese silk hand-painted in a floral pattern of yellow, pinks, mauve and greens including rosses, pinks, cornflowers and grapes in a European style. The closed bodice has set-in elbow-length sleeves. The bodice is lined with linen. The bodice back is fitted but not pleated, cut separately from the skirts, with a point at centre back. The skirt is finely pleated into the waist seam. The open skirt, made of 2 full and 2 partial widths of silk, has curved front edges and is faced with green taffeta at the back hem.

The gown was probably made in the 1770s with robings and sleeve ruffles. In the 1780s, the style was updated; the sleeve ruffles removed and the robings opened out so the bodice met at the front.

In the late 19th century, the gown was altered for fancy dress. The gathered ruching of green silk was added at the neck, the lower edge of sleeve, and around front and hem of the skirt, along with the green silk ribbon rosettes. The two thread loops at the inside of the back waist and two buttons on the outside at the waist to create the polonaise effect. Three lines of green silk braid were sewn to the centre back of the bodice from neck to waist and a stomacher of pink silk, bobbin lace and green ribbon was sewn to the right front.

Place of Origin

Guangdong (textile, painting)
England (gown, sewing)


1750 - 1775 (painting)
1880-1900 (altered)
1770s (sewing)
1780 - 1785 (altered)
1870 - 1910 (altered)



Materials and Techniques

Silk, linen, silk thread, linen thread; hand-woven, hand-painted, hand-sewn


Circumference: 89.5 cm bust under armholes approx, Length: 170.0 cm shoulder to hem at centre back approx, Width: 73.5 cm silk, selvedge to selvedge

Descriptive line

A woman's gown, 1780s, English; white silk painted with flowers, Chinese, 1770s; altered 1870-1910

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

Rothstein, Natalie. Four Hundred Years of Fashion.
London: The Victoria and Albert Museum, reprinted 1992, p.28, 124-5, ill.
ISBN 1852771160


Silk (textile); Linen (material); Silk thread; Linen thread


Hand sewing; Painting; Hand weaving

Subjects depicted

Carnation; Roses


Europeana Fashion Project; Fancy-dress; Textiles

Production Type



Textiles and Fashion Collection

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