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  • Place of origin:

    Guangdong (textile, painted)
    Great Britain (ensemble, sewn)

  • Date:

    1735-1760 (painting)
    1760s (sewing)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted silk, chenille, hand-sewn

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 118a, case 9 []

This elegant robe and petticoat are fine examples of women's formal day wear in the early 1760s. The sack was a popular style of dress, with the fabric at the back arranged in box pleats at the shoulders and falling loose to the floor with a slight train. The wide square hoop worn under the petticoat is slightly old-fashioned, but appropriate for formal occasions. In cut, fabric and design, the ensemble is a fine example of rococo design in fashion. The white silk painted in a variety of bright colours reflects the rococo palette, while the scalloped sleeve cuffs and gathered robings create a decorative surface pattern.

The silk was woven and hand-painted in China. The design of fanciful flowers shows the Western influence; the Chinese artists were using patterns send from Britain to make silks expressly for the European market. The outlines of the design was first printed on the reverse of the silk and the areas to be painted on the right side of the fabric covered with white lead paint. Pigments made from materials such as malachite (green), orpiment (yellow) and vermilion (red) delineate the floral pattern.

Physical description

Sack and petticoat of painted Chinese export silk satin trimmed with silk braid. Painted with exotic flowers. The sack has elbow-length sleeves and sleeve ruffles of the same material. The front is decorated with ruched wavy bands of the same material, edged with chenille. With an open front.

The petticoat has small paniers. The front is decorated with ruched wavy bands of the same material decorated with chenille.

Place of Origin

Guangdong (textile, painted)
Great Britain (ensemble, sewn)


1735-1760 (painting)
1760s (sewing)



Materials and Techniques

Painted silk, chenille, hand-sewn

Descriptive line

Sack and petticoat made in Great Britain, 1760s, of Chinese export painted silk satin, 1735-60

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Jackson, Anna & Jaffer, Amin (eds.) Encounters : the meeting of Asia and Europe 1500-1800, London, V&A, 2004


Silk satin


Painting; Hand sewing

Subjects depicted

Floral patterns


Textiles; Fashion; Women's clothes; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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