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Riding Coat

1750-1759 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Women’s riding outfits, known as riding habits, of the 18th century adapted elements of men’s dress. This riding coat of the 1750s is styled after a man’s coat, although it has been modified with a dart or 'fish' and a waist seam to fit over stays and a wide petticoat. Careful mitring and gathering of the wide silver lace [braid] allows its arrangement around the pockets and into rococo curves down the coat front. The trim consists of three parts: a wide ribbon of silver thread woven in a geometrical pattern, and a narrow gimp of silver on either side.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Wool, silk, linen, silver, baleen; hand-woven, hand-sewn
Brief Description
Woman's coat for a riding habit of brown worsted, British, 1750-1759; trimmed with wide silver lace
Physical Description
Woman’s coat for a riding habit of brown worsted. It has a round neckline, long, curving, 2-piece sleeves with vertical ‘mariner’s’ cuffs. There are wide skirts below the waist seam with a horizontal pocket and shaped pocket flap on each front. The fronts have a deep point below the waist at centre front. The backs are cut in 1 piece with its skirts. The sleeves and bodice of the coat are lined with linen; the skirts with brown silk twill. There is a ‘fish’ [dart] in each front edge at the level of the second buttonhole to shape over the edge of the stays that would be worn underneath. The coat is trimmed with 2-inch (5 cm) wide figured woven lace of silver filé with a ⅜-inch (8 mm) lace of silver filé woven with picot edges applied each side, around the neck, set in tight curves along each front edge, around the pockets, on the pocket flaps and cuffs, and around the open in the centre back skirts. The coat fastens at centre front with 7 silver passementerie buttons on the right side and 7 buttonholes, edged with silver strip on the left front. There are 3 silver passementerie buttons below each pocket flap and 3 on each cuff, the lowest fastening with a thread loop. There is a boned lacing band with 7 worked lacing holes on each side at the centre-front waist.
Dimensions
  • Height mounted height: 1500mm
  • Width mounted width: 800mm
  • Depth mounted depth: 500mm
  • Overall length: 76.5cm (approx)
  • Bust under armholes circumference: 88.0cm (approx)
Object history
Purchased. Registered File number 1993/1280.
Historical context
By the early 1700s, the riding habit was an established element of the fashionable ladies wardrobe, worn not only for riding and following the hunt, but also for travelling and informal daywear, both in town and country. It was a great deal more comfortable and warm than other fashionable dress, and made of more robust materials. It would have been worn with a skirt, referred to at that date as a petticoat, the generous amounts of fabric incorporated in the skirt meant that it was often recycled, assuming it survived the mud and heavy wear. Habits could be in a full range of colours, although certain shades were specificed for the jacket and cuffs when following a particular hunt. By the end of the 18th century, a contrasting colour for the lining was highly fashionable.
Summary
Women’s riding outfits, known as riding habits, of the 18th century adapted elements of men’s dress. This riding coat of the 1750s is styled after a man’s coat, although it has been modified with a dart or 'fish' and a waist seam to fit over stays and a wide petticoat. Careful mitring and gathering of the wide silver lace [braid] allows its arrangement around the pockets and into rococo curves down the coat front. The trim consists of three parts: a wide ribbon of silver thread woven in a geometrical pattern, and a narrow gimp of silver on either side.
Associated Object
Bibliographic Reference
All the Queen's Horses: The Role of the Horse in British History. Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington, 2003
Collection
Accession Number
T.554-1993

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record createdSeptember 10, 2003
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