Tea Gown thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

Tea Gown

ca. 1900 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Tea gowns were originally designed in the 1870s as easy, comfortable garments appropriate for a woman to wear for tea with family and friends in the home, but they became increasingly elaborate and fitted. By the 1890s they combined exotic fabrics and historical references, and were worn for public appearances, such as dinner parties.

This example is very much a hybrid of influences and materials. The richly embroidered front panel of this gown was probably made in India but was designed to appeal to European taste, and it is complimented by the generous falls of Limerick lace. From the back, a long pleat of lace drops from the neck to the hem, a style known at the time as the Watteau pleat, after the dresses seen in paintings by the eighteenth-century painter.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Woven silk damask embroidered with glass, metal thread and beads, and embroidered net and lace
Brief Description
Tea gown of embroidered silk damask, designed by House of Rouff, Paris, panel probably embroidered in India, lace made in Limerick, ca. 1900
Physical Description
Women's tea gown of ivory woven silk damask embroidered with glass, metal thread and beads and purl. Decorated with chain-stitch embroidered net. From the back, a long pleat of lace drops from the neck to the hem in a style known as the Watteau pleat.
Dimensions
    Object history
    Purchased. Registered File number 1990/1965.
    Production
    Plastron panel probably embroidered in North India, possibly Delhi, for the European market. Lace made in Limerick, Ireland.
    Summary
    Tea gowns were originally designed in the 1870s as easy, comfortable garments appropriate for a woman to wear for tea with family and friends in the home, but they became increasingly elaborate and fitted. By the 1890s they combined exotic fabrics and historical references, and were worn for public appearances, such as dinner parties.



    This example is very much a hybrid of influences and materials. The richly embroidered front panel of this gown was probably made in India but was designed to appeal to European taste, and it is complimented by the generous falls of Limerick lace. From the back, a long pleat of lace drops from the neck to the hem, a style known at the time as the Watteau pleat, after the dresses seen in paintings by the eighteenth-century painter.
    Collection
    Accession Number
    T.87-1991

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    record createdNovember 14, 2006
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