Dress

17th century (?) (made)
Dress thumbnail 1
Dress thumbnail 2
+2
images
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This dress was acquired on the Greek island of Karpathos by the archaeologist Theodore Bent, from whom it was purchased by the Museum in 1886. It is made in one piece, but has the appearance of a tunic and skirt as a deep pleat has been taken into it, a way of adjusting the length. It is sewn without a shoulder seam.

The silk for the fabric and the embroidery threads was produced locally on Karpathos, as was the green dye, which obtained its characteristic colour from the lichen rocella tinctoria.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Linen crepe embroidered with silk
Brief Description
Tunic and skirt (dress), linen crepe embroidered in silks, Greece (Karpathos, Dodecanese), 17th or 18th century.
Physical Description
Embroidered tunic and skirt of linen crepe with square sleeves, embroidered in tent and long cross stitches with various repeating patterns of floral and other forms arranged geometrically.
Dimensions
  • With sleeves spread out width: 147cm
  • Length: 159cm
Gallery Label
DRESS 17th or 18th century This dress was acquired on the Greek island of Karpathos in 1884. It is made in one piece, but has the appearance of a tunic and skirt as a deep pleat has been taken into it, a way of adjusting the length. The silk for the fabric and the embroidery threads was produced locally on Karpathos, as was the dye, which obtained its characteristic deep green from lichen. Silk crepe embroidered with silk Karpathos, Dodecanese Islands, Greece Purchased from the archaeologist Theodore Bent Museum no. 346-1886
Object history
In a revision of the catalogue from 1888 Cloe states that "this kind of dress is stated by Mr Theodore Bent not to have been worked for 150 years. It is called 'Spertomata' and is of the best quality, and always entered first in marriage settlements. The shape of the sleeves is a survival of that of Byzantine dresses as early as the time of Justinian. The broad bands down the front are suggestive of the 'latus clavus' of the Romans, whilst the double narrow bands down the sides are possibly survivals of the 'Angustus clavus'."



A similar dress was lent by Mrs. Bent to BFAC exhibition, No. 40, with work 'locally known as ****greek lettering**



A similar dress from Casos was published by Stackleberg, P1.XXIV from a drawing of 1810; both Stackleberg and BFAC catalogue (p.xxxiii) mention use of cords for fastening up the sleeves when working.



V&A Register and Cloe's 1888 catalogue assign this object and 348-1886 to '17th century (?)' but suggest that the disposition of the garment is descended from late antique and medieval prototypes.



762 to 763 - 1912 are fragments from the font and back of the bodice of a similar dress.
Summary
This dress was acquired on the Greek island of Karpathos by the archaeologist Theodore Bent, from whom it was purchased by the Museum in 1886. It is made in one piece, but has the appearance of a tunic and skirt as a deep pleat has been taken into it, a way of adjusting the length. It is sewn without a shoulder seam.



The silk for the fabric and the embroidery threads was produced locally on Karpathos, as was the green dye, which obtained its characteristic colour from the lichen rocella tinctoria.
Bibliographic Reference
Ioannou-Yannara, Tatiana, Alexandra Doumas, Xenia Politou, Petros Ballidis, Mouseio Benakē, Greek Embroidery 17th-19th century: Works of Art from the Collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Athens: Angeliki Hatzimihali Foundation 2006
Collection
Accession Number
346-1886

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdJanuary 30, 2007
Record URL