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Wedding dress

  • Place of origin:

    United Kingdom (made)

  • Date:

    early 1938 (made)
    18 June 1938 (worn)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    silk gauze over artificial silk, petersham

  • Credit Line:

    Worn by Miss Monica Maurice and given by her family

  • Museum number:

    T.716:1 to 3-1995

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This fashionable red silk gauze dress was a bold choice for a wedding. It was worn by Monica Maurice (1908-1995) for a quiet marriage to Dr.Arthur Newton Jackson (1904-1985) at the Chapel of Our Lady on Rotheram Bridge in South Yorkshire on 18 June 1938. Monica was an independent and unconventional woman who in 1938 become the first – and until 1978 only – woman member of the Association of Mining Electrical Engineers. In addition to her passions for racing cars and flying, she loved to wear striking and stylish clothes. For her wedding she chose a feminine day dress in her favourite colour, a rich ruby red. The sheer dress was worn with a matching artificial silk slip and contrasting deep blue silk belt. She wore a floral wreath with a shoulder-length veil. Although her headdress has not survived and is only visible in black-and-white family photographs, her veil seems to have been either red or blue to match the dress.

For the bride conditioned to think in terms of a traditional Western white-wedding, red is one of the most daring alternative colours. However, in many non-Western cultures, red is traditional for wedding garments. It is often worn by Hindu and Muslim brides, and for Chinese and Vietnamese brides the colour represents good luck.

Physical description

Red silk gauze dress with shirt-waist bodice, button front and short puffed sleeves, mid-calf skirt. Deep blue petersham belt to match the blue glass buttons on the bodice; reversing to red. Slip of red artificial silk

Place of Origin

United Kingdom (made)

Date

early 1938 (made)
18 June 1938 (worn)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

silk gauze over artificial silk, petersham

Object history note

Worn by Miss Helen Monica Maurice OBE (30 June 1908-20 September 1995) for her marriage to Dr. Arthur Newton Jackson (1904-1985) on 18 June 1938 at the Chapel of Our Lady on Rotherham Bridge. The reception was held at Park Grange, Sheffield.

Registered File number 1995/2065.

Descriptive line

Wedding dress, red silk gauze, 1938, British; Red silk gauze, blue buttons

Labels and date

Red wedding dress
Britain
1938

Red is an unusual choice for a wedding dress in Britain. Monica Maurice's dress, worn for her wedding to Arthur Jackson in 1938, reflected her pleasure in the colour and her independence. She travelled as an electrical engineer with the Wolf Safety Lamp Company, visiting Germany regularly in the 1930s.

Silk gauze, with artificial silk slip and petersham belt
Worn by Miss Monica Maurice and given by her family
V&A: T.716:1 to 3-1995 [2011]

Materials

Silk; Artificial silk; Petersham

Techniques

Gauze weave

Categories

Marriage; Fashion; Women's clothes; Europeana Fashion Project

Collection

Textiles and Fashion Collection

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