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Dressing gown

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (probably, made)

  • Date:

    1850-1870 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Jacquard-woven silk, quilted and lined with silk

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Rachel Hood

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 125b, case 3

Object Type
Mid- to late 19th-century dressing gowns were similar in style and shape to dressing gowns of today. They did, however, tend to be more formal and tailored. They were often worn with a girdle and a round embroidered nightcap.

Materials & Making
Dressing gowns were made of a variety of fabrics, including patterned silks, quilted silk satin, flannel and velvet. They were often brightly coloured, as the following extract from the book Plain or Ringlets (1860), by R.S. Surtees, shows: 'Mr Bunting appeared in nankin peg-tops, an elegant cerulean blue Turkish silk dressing-gown with massive red tassels.'

Dressing gowns were often quilted on the inside for extra warmth. In 1863 theMinister's Complete Guide to Cutting (3rd edition) listed two main styles: 'The usual form, cut with a broad rolling collar which turns nearly to the waist; usually has a string run inside the waist so that it may be drawn in. THE-FROCK-GREAT-COAT form is sometimes worn, the back cut whole and a banyan pleat at each hip and at the centre of the back.'

Ownership & Use
Until the middle of the 19th century dressing gowns were worn informally indoors, for an informal breakfast, before dressing and in between changes of dress. Subsequently they became more of a bedroom garment or wrap in which to visit the bathroom.

Physical description

Full-length double breasted gown made of jacquard woven silk with shot effect background in dark blue with an all over floral design in maroon of trailing stems and cup shaped flowers.

Quilted throughout and lined with Khaki coloured twilled silk. The quilting and lining continue to form the turned down collar. There are two flapped pockets at the waist each with a smaller buttoned flap underneath of blue face cloth face cloth that fasten with one button. The sleeves are quite full and taper to the cuff. The body of the gown is cut with a centre back and two side seams and a waist seam. Fitted to the waist and buttoned by six pairs of covered buttons. The skirt is full with deep pleats at the centre back finished at the waist seam by a pair of buttons. The gown is made in a style known as the Frock Great Coat, because of its resemblance to that garment.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (probably, made)


1850-1870 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Jacquard-woven silk, quilted and lined with silk


Height: 137 cm back of neck to hem, Diameter: 100 cm waist, Diameter: 118 cm chest, Height: 54.5 in back of neck to hem, Diameter: 40 in waist, Diameter: 46.5 in chest

Object history note

Probably made in Britain

Descriptive line

Dressing gown of jacquard woven silk, probably made in Great Britain, 1850-1870

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Men wore dressing gowns not only over nightshirts but also over trousers and a shirt for breakfast at home. This example is known as the 'Frock Great Coat' style because it resembled an outdoor coat with its lapels, flapped pockets and double-breasted front. [27/03/2003]


Fashion; Men's clothes; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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