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Dress

1893-1894 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This dress has many of the features associated with the dress reform trend of the late 19th century. The trend ran parallel with the Arts and Crafts Movement and advocated a radically new approach to dress in an effort to free women from corsetry.

The clothes were homemade or produced in commercial studios. They used natural and artistic materials and often included hand-embroidered decoration inspired by the countryside and wild or garden flowers. Smocking too, seen here at the waist, on the sleeves and at the neckline, evoked an imaginary rural simplicity. It sometimes featured on dresses designed and sold by the London firm of Liberty & Co, who sold gowns in the Arts and Crafts style.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Plain weave pongee silk with smocking and machine-made lace, brass hooks and silk eyes, bodice lined with silk twill and boned, skirt lined with cotton, trimmed and embroidered
Brief Description
Dress of plain weave blue pongee silk trimmed with smocking and machine-made lace, designed at Liberty & Co. Ltd., England, probably 1893-1894.
Physical Description
Dress of plain weave blue pongee silk trimmed with smocking and machine-made lace. Full length with train, medium height round neck, double-puff elbow length sleeves, trimmed with smocking and frilled edge. Fastens at the back with brass hooks and silk eyes. The bodice is lined with silk twill and well boned. Corded silk waist-band fastening with a double pronged buckle. Skirt is lined with cotton. The dress is cut to fall in soft folds from the neck to the hem and is held at the waist with a diamond-shaped band of smocking. Hem is trimmed with three rows of pale blue silk embroidery and has a frilled border. At the waist there are small silk covered and embroidered buttons with worked silk loops.
Dimensions
  • Height: 163cm
  • Diameter: 850cm
Style
Marks and Inscriptions
'Liberty and Co ARTISTIC & HISTORIC COSTUME 222 Regent St W.' (Label)
Gallery Label
International Arts & Crafts: Smocked dress About 1893 – 4 Britain; made by Liberty & Co. Silk and lace V&A:T.17-1985(17/03/2005)
Object history
Purchased. Registered File number 1984/2252.
Historical context
Comparative Piece:

Metropolitan Musem of Art, New York: Costume Institute Acc No 68.539: Teagown, pale pink silk barathea and white China silk, given by Mrs Carnegie by her husband, 1891.

No. 51 in exhibition 'Liberty's, 1875-1975', July 1975-October 1975, V&A Museum
Summary
This dress has many of the features associated with the dress reform trend of the late 19th century. The trend ran parallel with the Arts and Crafts Movement and advocated a radically new approach to dress in an effort to free women from corsetry.



The clothes were homemade or produced in commercial studios. They used natural and artistic materials and often included hand-embroidered decoration inspired by the countryside and wild or garden flowers. Smocking too, seen here at the waist, on the sleeves and at the neckline, evoked an imaginary rural simplicity. It sometimes featured on dresses designed and sold by the London firm of Liberty & Co, who sold gowns in the Arts and Crafts style.
Bibliographic References
  • Liberty Catalogue (no.25), 'Evolution in Costume illustrated by Past Fashion Plates and Present Adaptions of the EMPIRE AND THE EARLY VICTORIAN PERIOD', Compiled and invented by Messrs LIBERTY LONDON& PARIS 1893.
  • Liberty Catalogue (No.32), 'Catalogues of Dresses', 2nd Series, 1894-5, p.12
  • Livingstone, Karen & Parry, Linda (eds.), International Arts and Crafts, London : V&A Publications, 2005p.224
  • Liberty's Art (Dress) Fabrics & Personal Specialities, Season 1887, 1886 (No. 9)
Collection
Accession Number
T.17-1985

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record createdJanuary 28, 2005
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