Banyan

1740-1750 (woven), 1750-1760 (made)
Banyan thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This is an unusual example of a banyan for a woman. In the 1650s, the introduction of the Japanese kimono to Western society by the Dutch East India Company started a fashion for these simple loose garments for men and women. While it was difficult to import traditional kimonos from Japan, English tailors were soon making them up in the most fashionable silks. The woman’s banyan remained an informal garment throughout the 18th century. It would have been worn over stays and petticoats in the privacy of home, either in the morning before dressing formally for the day or in the evening before changing for bed.

This particular example from the period 1750 to 1770 combines the traditional T-shape of a kimono with the conventional European shaping for a woman’s gown at the back and sides.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Silk, linen, hand-woven damask, hand-sewn.
Brief Description
A woman's banyan, British, 1750s, made of green silk damask woven in the style of Anna Maria Garthwaite, 1740s
Physical Description
Woman’s banyan of green silk damask in a large pattern of leaves and flowers, lined with dark green silk sarsenet. The banyan is extensively pieced with no complete repeat of the damask pattern. It is T-shaped in cut, open at the front, with sleeves reaching to the forearm with a turn-back cuff. There is 1 pleat on either side of the front and 1 tapered box pleat at the centre back.



The piecing and signs of fomer folds and pleats suggest a previous garment. It was possibly then pieced into a man’s T-shaped night gown and reconfigured again for a woman with shaping at the torso and shoulders and addition of a linen lining above the waist.

Dimensions
  • Overall at back length: 145.0cm (approx)
  • Bust under armboles circumference: 97.5cm (approx)
Credit line
Purchased with Art Fund support and assistance from the Friends of the V&A, and a number of private donors
Object history
Formerly part of the Castle Howard Costume collection, the private collection of George Howard. Purchased on 7 October 2003 from the Sotheby's.



Historical significance: An unusual example of a banyan or nightgown for a woman. It combines the T-shape of a man's nightgown inspired by the Japanese kimono with the traditional shaping at the back and sides for a woman's gown. This would have been worn informally in the privacy of home.
Summary
This is an unusual example of a banyan for a woman. In the 1650s, the introduction of the Japanese kimono to Western society by the Dutch East India Company started a fashion for these simple loose garments for men and women. While it was difficult to import traditional kimonos from Japan, English tailors were soon making them up in the most fashionable silks. The woman’s banyan remained an informal garment throughout the 18th century. It would have been worn over stays and petticoats in the privacy of home, either in the morning before dressing formally for the day or in the evening before changing for bed.



This particular example from the period 1750 to 1770 combines the traditional T-shape of a kimono with the conventional European shaping for a woman’s gown at the back and sides.
Collection
Accession Number
T.92-2003

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record createdNovember 18, 2003
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