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Not currently on display at the V&A

Evening Coat

1905-1910 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This evening coat is a wonderful example of the work produced by Liberty's costume department, which opened in 1884 under the direction of the architect and designer E. W. Godwin. The department became known for its brand of 'Aesthetic' dress, inspired by costumes of the past, and made in beautiful silks, some made in India, dyed in vibrant but natural colours.

The remarkable 'rainbow' lining is a type of fabric known as a strié or dip-dyed silk. A similarly-constructed coat appears in a Liberty catalogue of 1907 priced at 7 guineas. A seamstress at the time would struggle to earn 2 guineas a week, a comparison which indicates the wealthy, upper middle-class character of the typical Liberty customer.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Silk and hand embroidery
Brief Description
Evening coat or opera coat of bronze silk, lined with Liberty 'Aurora' rainbow silk, embroidered with coloured silks at neckline and sleeves. Britain, ca. 1910
Physical Description
Full length evening or opera coat of bronze-coloured silk, with 'rainbow' patterned silk lining, and hand embroidery at neckline and sleeves. Lining silk is Liberty 'Aurora' silk.
Dimensions
  • Centre back, neck to hemline length: 138.5cm
Production
This coat is not labelled but the 'rainbow' silk lining has been identified by the Liberty archivist as 'Aurora' silk, which was woven in Macclesfield (probably) and made exclusively for Liberty, selling at 8/6 a yard. The embroidery on the coat is very typical of the 'aesthetic' style and the pomegranate motif can be found in contemporary Liberty prints. There is very little doubt that the coat was made in the Liberty work-rooms.
Subject depicted
Summary
This evening coat is a wonderful example of the work produced by Liberty's costume department, which opened in 1884 under the direction of the architect and designer E. W. Godwin. The department became known for its brand of 'Aesthetic' dress, inspired by costumes of the past, and made in beautiful silks, some made in India, dyed in vibrant but natural colours.



The remarkable 'rainbow' lining is a type of fabric known as a strié or dip-dyed silk. A similarly-constructed coat appears in a Liberty catalogue of 1907 priced at 7 guineas. A seamstress at the time would struggle to earn 2 guineas a week, a comparison which indicates the wealthy, upper middle-class character of the typical Liberty customer.
Collection
Accession Number
T.36-2007

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record createdAugust 3, 2007
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