Skirt thumbnail 1
Skirt thumbnail 2
Not currently on display at the V&A


late 19th century (made)

Black silk satin skirt and separate train, the train decorated with a pattern of roses.

object details
Object Type
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Skirt
  • Skirt Train
Materials and Techniques
Silk satin, silk, weaving
Brief Description
Black silk satin skirt with separate train. The train decorated with a pattern of roses.
Physical Description
Black silk satin skirt trimmed with machine made lace and silk chiffon and separate train which hangs from the waist. The train is brocaded with a pattern of roses and a flower that has been identified as probably being larkspur (Consolida). The flowers are accented by using floss silk in the weft and an open weave structure which creates a raised, soft-textured surface.
  • Weight: 3.12kg
  • Height: 1570mm
  • Width: 900mm
  • Depth: 1000mm
Dims when mounted.
Credit line
Donated by Sir Henry Tate, 4th Baronet.
Object history
RF number is 1950/1793.

The skirt and train were donated by Sir Henry Tate (1902-94). Sir Henry Tate was the son of the 3rd Baronet Sir Ernest William Tate (1867-1939) and Mildred Mary Gossage (d. 1942) who married in 1892.

The donor said that his grandmother wore the skirt and train and that the silk was woven in Spitalfields in East London. His grandmothers were Caroline Hill Rigby Tate, née Glasgow (1845-1927) who married William Henry Tate, 2nd Baronet and High Sheriff of Lancaster (1842-1921) and Clara Eliza Gossage (1834-1874) who married Frederick Herbert Gossage (1833-1907). In 1882 the widowed Frederick Herbert Gossage married Amy Perrin (b.1860).

The death of Tate’s maternal grandmother in 1872, the style of the dress, its size and a surviving photograph of Caroline Hill Rigby Tate suggest that she is the most likely wearer.

In the 1890s William Henry and Caroline Tate lived at Highfield, Woolton, Liverpool and had a country estate at Henllan in Denbighshire. Both houses were substantial and had large gardens.

It is possible that the outfit was preserved because it was worn at a significant occasion. For instance it may have been ordered to celebrate a double wedding on 11 June 1896 at Woolton Parish Church when two of William Henry and Caroline Tate’s daughters, Ethel Caroline and Helen Frances, married two brothers, William Winwood and Guy Winwood Gossage, sons of Frederick Herbert Gossage. (‘Fashionable Marriages at Woolton’, Liverpool Mercury, 12 June 1896)

Floral motifs

The species of the roses which decorate the train has not been identified. The other flower is probably a species of Consolida, the plant commonly known as larkspur.

The pattern of the silk used to create the train is striking. The flower stems are arranged as individual specimens as if the blooms had been selected for flower arranging.

Black silk satin skirt and separate train, the train decorated with a pattern of roses.
Accession Number

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record createdJune 24, 2009
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