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Gown

ca. 1735 (weaving), 1735 - 1745 (sewing), ca. 1775 (altered), before 01/06/1882 (altered)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

By the 1730s the open robe was beginning to replace the mantua as formal day wear. The beautifully patterned Spitalfields silk indicates a degree of luxury. The accompanying quilted petticoat suggests that the ensemble was probably worn for afternoon tea parties rather than in the evening at the opera or theatre. The pattern of the silk, with pear-shaped fruits and exotic flowers, is typical of the 1730s. The gown itself was probably made in the 1740s and altered to update the style in the early 1750s.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Silk, linen, silk thread, linen thread; hand-woven brocade, hand-sewn
Brief Description
A woman's gown, 1735-45, English, cream silk brocaded with large flowers, Spitalfields, c1735; altered 1770s, fancy dress 1882
Physical Description
A woman's gown of cream silk brocaded with pear-shaped fruits and exotic flowers in coloured silks of pink, yellow, brown, blue, green, red and black. Ribbed silk ground. The brocaded pattern is bound in 1/3 twill with points rentrés. The gown is in the English (tight-back) style, open at the front with elbow-length sleeves and deep pleated cuffs. The bodice is lined with two different qualities of linen; the sleeves with white silk taffeta. Robings extend to the waist. The pleats at the back are stitched down; the centre back panel extends from neck to hem, but it pieced just below the waist. The gown skirts are flat pleated into the waist seam. The gown is made of 6 widths of silk with a narrow partial panel on each side of the front. The gown skirts are lined with white silk taffeta.



The gown was probably made in the late 1730s or 1740s, possibly a closed English gown. In the mid 1770s, it was updated in style. The centre front panel was cut in two and cut back. Alterations were made to the bodice and a new lining added to the bodice fronts. The skirts were re-stitched at the waist.



Alterations were made to the bodice fronts for fancy dress in the late 19th century. These have been let out unevenly at the side. The bodice lining has been renewed at the front. Three sets of cotton tapes were sewn to the waist and the skirts, for looping them up. Both pocke tslits have been stitched up.
Dimensions
  • Shoulder to hem at centre back length: 141.0cm (approx)
  • Bust under armholes circumference: 75.5cm (approx)
  • Weight: 1.56kg
  • Pattern repeat length: 49.4cm
  • Silk, selvedge to selvedge width: 52.5cm (approx)
Marks and Inscriptions
  • Exhibited at the Museum of the / Royal Archaeologists in the / Assembly Rooms Lincoln / July 1880 / Worn at a Fancy Dress Ball in the / Assembly Rooms Lincoln May 1882 / by our mother Isabella L Wood (Handwritten in pen and black ink on paper stitched to the edge of the right skirt front)
Summary
By the 1730s the open robe was beginning to replace the mantua as formal day wear. The beautifully patterned Spitalfields silk indicates a degree of luxury. The accompanying quilted petticoat suggests that the ensemble was probably worn for afternoon tea parties rather than in the evening at the opera or theatre. The pattern of the silk, with pear-shaped fruits and exotic flowers, is typical of the 1730s. The gown itself was probably made in the 1740s and altered to update the style in the early 1750s.
Collection
Accession Number
T.23-1972

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record createdFebruary 8, 2003
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