Gown thumbnail 1
Gown thumbnail 2
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Fashion, Room 40

This object consists of 3 parts, some of which may be located elsewhere.

Gown

1770 - 1790 (block printing), 1780s (sewing), 1870 - 1910 (altered)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

A woman's gown and petticoat of muslin, block-printed in a liliy-of-the-valley pattern with hand-painting in blue, and a separate piece of the dress fabric. The gown is open at the front with shaped elbow-length sleeves. The bodice and skirt are cut separately and stitched together. The bodice back is cut in 4 shaped pieces, tapering to a point at centre back below the waist. The bodice fronts and 2 pieces of the back are lined with bleached linen and stitched together; the sleeves are also lined with bleached linen. A casing of narrow linen tape is stitched to the bodice fronts. The skirt is made of 3 widths of muslin, very finely flat-pleated into the waist seam.
There are bound pocket openings on either side.

The petticoat is made of 2 widths of muslin, with 2 partial widths

The ensemble has been extensively altered for fancy dress in the late 19th century. The bodice and skirt was unpicked, the bodice taken in at the side seams with machine stitching, and the skirt re-attached. The sleeves were partially unpicked and a tuck taken to make the smaller. Hooks and eyes were added to the bodice fronts, boning to the right front and a new drawstring at the neck casing. A bone was added to the inside centre back, over a cotton waist tape. Machine-embroidered net ruffles were added to the sleeves. Machine sewing on the petticoat indicates that it was pieced at the back and the back seam resewn. The original tape binding at the waist was unpicked, the pleats altered and the waist re-bound, losing the right side pocket opening. A facing of cotton was added at the hem.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 3 parts.

  • Gown
  • Petticoat
  • Dress Fabric
Materials and Techniques
Cotton, linen, linen thread; hand-woven, block-printed,hand-painted, hand-sewn
Brief Description
A woman's gown, petticoat and a piece of matching dress fabric, 1780s, English; Block-printed muslin, liliy-of-the-valley pattern, English, 1770-90, Brown & Co; altered 1870-1910
Physical Description
A woman's gown and petticoat of muslin, block-printed in a liliy-of-the-valley pattern with hand-painting in blue, and a separate piece of the dress fabric. The gown is open at the front with shaped elbow-length sleeves. The bodice and skirt are cut separately and stitched together. The bodice back is cut in 4 shaped pieces, tapering to a point at centre back below the waist. The bodice fronts and 2 pieces of the back are lined with bleached linen and stitched together; the sleeves are also lined with bleached linen. A casing of narrow linen tape is stitched to the bodice fronts. The skirt is made of 3 widths of muslin, very finely flat-pleated into the waist seam.

There are bound pocket openings on either side.



The petticoat is made of 2 widths of muslin, with 2 partial widths



The ensemble has been extensively altered for fancy dress in the late 19th century. The bodice and skirt was unpicked, the bodice taken in at the side seams with machine stitching, and the skirt re-attached. The sleeves were partially unpicked and a tuck taken to make the smaller. Hooks and eyes were added to the bodice fronts, boning to the right front and a new drawstring at the neck casing. A bone was added to the inside centre back, over a cotton waist tape. Machine-embroidered net ruffles were added to the sleeves. Machine sewing on the petticoat indicates that it was pieced at the back and the back seam resewn. The original tape binding at the waist was unpicked, the pleats altered and the waist re-bound, losing the right side pocket opening. A facing of cotton was added at the hem.
Dimensions
  • Muslin, selvedge to selvedge width: 104.5cm (approx)
Production typeUnique
Marks and Inscriptions
  • BROWN & Co LONDON FOREIGN MUSLIN not more than 3 shillings per YARD. (Stamped on edge of fragment of dress fabric, T.113B-1925)
  • FOREIGN MUSLINS CHARGED AT 10D. GR (Customs stamp along bottom edge of fragment of dress fabric, T.113B-1925)
Credit line
Given by Mrs Emily Ford
Object history
Another piece of the dress material was acquired by Circulation Department (see CIRC.540-1925), this fragment does not have the stamps that the other one does.
Historical context
Example of a dress made from imported muslin. The fabric was probably printed in England after import.
Production
Brown & Co, whose trade stamp is on a piece of the dress material donated at the same time, may be Messrs. Brown, Rogers & Co, Wholesale Linen Drapers of 157, Cheapside, as per their address in a 1799 London Directory.
Subject depicted
Associated Object
Collection
Accession Number
T.113-1925

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record createdJune 24, 2009
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