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Not currently on display at the V&A

Mantua

mid 1760s (weaving), 1765-1770 (sewing), 1870 - 1910 (altered)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

A woman's mantua and petticoat of red silk brocaded with red, silver-gilt, silver, blue and brown in a large pattern of flowers and an ermine motif. The mantua is open at the front, with robings to the waist and elbow-length sleeves and double sleeve ruffles, lined with maroon silk taffeta. The sleeves are lined with linen; the bodice front and back lined with linen, then stitched together. The back pleats are stitched down. The train is separate, made of two widths of silk with a deep hem at the sides and bottom edge, and sewn to the back of the bodice at the waist. The robings and back neck are decorated with wide silver bobbin lace, trimmed with ermine tails (Mustela erminea).

The petticoat is made of 5 widths of silk with 2 triangular gores at each side to shape it for a fan-shaped, French hoop. The silk is pleated at the top of each side. The waist is curved at front and back with no pleats. The petticoat opens at the back, and the hem is faced with a deep border of white taffeta. A narrow edging of woven silver lace (braid) binds the hem and a deep band of white silk taffeta faces it.

The ensemble appears to have been altered for another wearer. The mantua was taken in at the side seams; the train may have been removed and reattached to accommodate these changes. Some trimming to the sleeve ruffles has been removed.

The ensemble was altered for fancy dress in the late 19th century. The robings were unpicked and moved. The waist binding of the petticoat was removed. Muslin ruffles (now removed) were sewn to the sleeves.

Modern cotton tape was added to the petticoat and mantua by Conservation for display.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Mantua
  • Petticoat
Materials and Techniques
silk, <i>cannelé</i> weave, brocaded in silver and silver gilt thread, floss silk, cordonnet silk; silver lace with ermine tails entwined
Brief Description
A woman's mantua and petticoat for court dress, 1765-70, English; red silk brocaded with multi-colour flowers and an ermine motif; silver, silver-gilt, ermine tails, French, c. 1765; altered 1870-1910
Physical Description
A woman's mantua and petticoat of red silk brocaded with red, silver-gilt, silver, blue and brown in a large pattern of flowers and an ermine motif. The mantua is open at the front, with robings to the waist and elbow-length sleeves and double sleeve ruffles, lined with maroon silk taffeta. The sleeves are lined with linen; the bodice front and back lined with linen, then stitched together. The back pleats are stitched down. The train is separate, made of two widths of silk with a deep hem at the sides and bottom edge, and sewn to the back of the bodice at the waist. The robings and back neck are decorated with wide silver bobbin lace, trimmed with ermine tails (Mustela erminea).



The petticoat is made of 5 widths of silk with 2 triangular gores at each side to shape it for a fan-shaped, French hoop. The silk is pleated at the top of each side. The waist is curved at front and back with no pleats. The petticoat opens at the back, and the hem is faced with a deep border of white taffeta. A narrow edging of woven silver lace (braid) binds the hem and a deep band of white silk taffeta faces it.



The ensemble appears to have been altered for another wearer. The mantua was taken in at the side seams; the train may have been removed and reattached to accommodate these changes. Some trimming to the sleeve ruffles has been removed.



The ensemble was altered for fancy dress in the late 19th century. The robings were unpicked and moved. The waist binding of the petticoat was removed. Muslin ruffles (now removed) were sewn to the sleeves.



Modern cotton tape was added to the petticoat and mantua by Conservation for display.

Dimensions
  • Hem of petticoat width: 1850mm (Widest at hem)
  • Height: 1500mm
  • Depth: 1000mm
Credit line
Purchase.
Object history
RF number: 59/2541.



This gown, along with T.251-1959 and T.253-1959, was exhibited at the Bethnal Green Museum Loan Exhibition of Furniture in 1896 by Florence Senhouse. It was actually exhibited in the Costume Court from 1962 to 1979.



They are said to have been worn by Miss Catherine Villiers, Maid of Honour to Queen Caroline. Villiers was born before 1707, died in 1772, married John Craster of Craster, Northumberland 17 January 1727. He was MP for Weobly 1754-61 and died in 1764.



Purchased from Mr. Roger Senhouse together with T.251-1959 and T.253-1959.
Associated Object
Bibliographic References
  • Miller, Lesley Ellis. 'From Cocoon to Court: An Eighteenth-Century Mantua', in Fashioned from Nature, ed. Edwina Ehrman (London: V&A Publishing, 2018), pp. 46-53.
  • Silk: Fibre, Fabric and Fashion, edited by Lesley Ellis Miller and Ana Cabrera Lafuente with Claire Allen-Johnstone, Thames and Hudson Ltd. in association with the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, United Kingdom, 2021, p. 50
Collection
Accession Number
T.252&A-1959

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record createdJune 24, 2009
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