Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.


  • Place of origin:

    Spitalfields (textile, weaving)
    England (ensemble, sewing)

  • Date:

    1765 - 1775 (weaving)
    ca. 1775 (sewing)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silk, linen, silk thread, linen thread; hand-woven brocade and gauze, hand-sewn

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs E. Bendixson

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The closed front of this sack illustrates the typical style of the late 1770s. The combination of stripes and floral motifs is also characteristic of this period. For formal gowns like this one, square-shaped hoops were worn underneath. While most surviving historical costume is small in size, a stout and fairly tall woman wore this particular gown.

Physical description

A woman's sack and petticoat of silk striped in blue and white cannelé with brocaded floral sprays in shades of pink, maroon and green. The sack is open at the front with elbow-length sleeves with lead weights and double, scalloped sleeve ruffles. The bodice meets at the centre front. The bodice and sleeves are lined with bleached linen. The back has 2 double box pleats, extending from shoulder to hem; the skirts are pleated into a waistseam at the front. The sack is made of 4 widths of silk with a partial width and triangular gore at each front. The hem is faced with white silk taffeta. The skirt fronts are decorated with gathered white silk gauze ribbon and rosettes of green and pink gauze, arranged in a serpentine line. The white gauze ribbon and coloured gauzes also edge the sleeve ruffles and neckline. Down the front edge lies a trimming of purple and green parchment loops.

The petticoat is made of 6 widths of silk, with a box pleat at the front and wide flat pleats at the sides and back. The waist is bound with linen tape which forms ties at either side. The petticoat is decorated at the front with a deep flounce of white silk gauze edged with the parchment trimming, and rosettes of white gauze ribbon and green and purple gauze. A serpentine line of white gauze ribbon with rosettes and tassels is sewn above the flounce and another below.

The sack and petticoat were altered for fancy dress in the late 19th century. A waistband was added to the petticoat and tucks made in the back of the gown (now undone). Metal hooks and thread bars were added to the bodice fronts.

Place of Origin

Spitalfields (textile, weaving)
England (ensemble, sewing)


1765 - 1775 (weaving)
ca. 1775 (sewing)



Materials and Techniques

Silk, linen, silk thread, linen thread; hand-woven brocade and gauze, hand-sewn


Width: 50.6 cm silk, selvedge to selvedge

Descriptive line

A woman's sack and petticoat, c.1775, English; Cream and blue striped brocade, multi-colour floral sprays, Spitalfields, 1765-75, altered 1870-1910


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


Hand weaving; Brocading; Gauze weave; Hand sewing


Women's clothes; Formal wear; Europeana Fashion Project

Production Type



Textiles and Fashion Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.