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Baby's dress

  • Place of origin:

    Madeira (made)

  • Date:

    about 1952 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Cotton lawn with hand embroidery in coloured silks

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Diana Glover

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Baby's yoked short dress of unlined white cotton lawn, hand embroidered in coloured silks with national emblems of the UK, using mainly satin and stem stitches. The dress has a rounded neck and short puffed sleeves with narrow cuffs, all with a scalloped edge worked with pale blue thread in buttonhole stitch. The centre front of the yoke is embroidered with a pink rose and bud, with a narrow line of faggotting and a spray of shamrock at each side; the back yoke is plain. The skirt, which is gathered to the yoke at front and back, has a hem with a serpentine upper edge, scalloped and worked with pale blue thread in buttonhole stitch. National emblems of the UK are worked in coloured silks above the hem at the front: a central rose with a sequence of leek, thistle, leek and shamrock on each side; among the emblems on bodice and skirt are scattered motifs of the typical four-petalled flower found on children's garments with Madeira embroidery of this type, with french knots and small sprays of foliage. The garment fastens at the back of the yoke with two pearlised buttons and stitched buttonholes.

Place of Origin

Madeira (made)


about 1952 (made)

Materials and Techniques

Cotton lawn with hand embroidery in coloured silks

Marks and inscriptions

Textual information; neck back opening, true left side; weaving


Length: 39.5 cm centre back

Object history note

The donor's recollection is that the dress was bought by her sister-in-law on a holiday on the island of Madeira in the winter of 1952-53. It was given to the donor for her daughter Rosemary Glover (born 06/08/1953), who was the only girl among several babies born in the family that year.

Descriptive line

Baby's dress of white cotton lawn with embroidery in coloured silks; Madeira, about 1952

Production Note

Attribution note: Children's garments with Madeira embroidery of this type are usually worked in white or blue or cream, with a fairly small range of motifs (most typically a flower with four rounded petals, and simple bird and animal motifs). They were usually produced with the tourist trade in mind, and the advent of Elizabeth II in 1952, and her impending coronation, is likely to have been the impetus for the use of the UK national emblems (and probably the use of multicoloured embroidery silks).
Reason For Production: Retail


Lawn cotton; Embroidery silks


Hand embroidery

Subjects depicted

Plants, shamrock; Flowers, roses; Plants, thistles; Plants, leeks

Production Type

Ready to wear


Museum of Childhood

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