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Wedding Dress

1820-1824 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

Ivory figured silk wedding dress with shell motif applied onto the hem in cream silk-satin. The bottom of the skirt is also decorated with bands of padded silk satin, the bottom band forming the hem. There are two pockets on either side of the skirt, both edged with a scalloped border and silk-satin piping. The pocket on the left hand side is false and the pocket on the right is lined with lawn. The front of the bodice is decorated with applied silk satin forming a floral pattern. The back is fastened with corset-style silk ribbon lacing, threaded through eyelets reinforced with silk thread. Two vertical strips of whalebone on either side of the fastenings provide support. Beneath the lacing is a figured silk placket to hide the chemise or underdress. The waistband is made of figured silk edged with silk satin and is fastened with a hook and eye. The puffed sleeves are made of plain cream silk edged with a border of figured silk and silk-satin piping.
The bodice of the dress is lined with cotton and has a drawstring on the inside front of the neck for elevating the neckline. The skirt is unlined.
Separate sleeves of ivory figured silk with braided silk satin piping applied around the wrist.


Object details

Categories
Object type
Parts
This object consists of 3 parts.

  • Sleeve
  • Sleeve
  • Wedding Dress
Materials and techniques
Figured silk satin trimmed with silk satin, cotton and whalebone lining
Brief description
Wedding dress, British, early 1820s, figured silk with detachable sleeves.
Physical description
Ivory figured silk wedding dress with shell motif applied onto the hem in cream silk-satin. The bottom of the skirt is also decorated with bands of padded silk satin, the bottom band forming the hem. There are two pockets on either side of the skirt, both edged with a scalloped border and silk-satin piping. The pocket on the left hand side is false and the pocket on the right is lined with lawn. The front of the bodice is decorated with applied silk satin forming a floral pattern. The back is fastened with corset-style silk ribbon lacing, threaded through eyelets reinforced with silk thread. Two vertical strips of whalebone on either side of the fastenings provide support. Beneath the lacing is a figured silk placket to hide the chemise or underdress. The waistband is made of figured silk edged with silk satin and is fastened with a hook and eye. The puffed sleeves are made of plain cream silk edged with a border of figured silk and silk-satin piping.
The bodice of the dress is lined with cotton and has a drawstring on the inside front of the neck for elevating the neckline. The skirt is unlined.
Separate sleeves of ivory figured silk with braided silk satin piping applied around the wrist.
Dimensions
  • Length: 127.5cm (shoulder to hem)
  • Length: 13cm (centre front to top of bodice)
  • Circumference: 67cm (approx waistband)
Credit line
Given by Miss Amanda C. Dickie
Object history
Historical significance: This is a fine example of an 1820s wedding dress. An interesting feature is the detachable sleeves which allow the dresss to be adapted for evening wear and demonstrate the economical use of clothing in the early 19th century. There is also evidence that this dress may have been reused at a later date as the lacing at the back and whalebone struts are consistent with fashions of the 1890s. This adds to its cultural value and interest to researchers as well as the general public. Although our wedding dress collection is large, the early 19th century is not well represented.
Historical context
The bride's dress was a focal point just as it is today. By 1800 it had become usual for her to wear white or cream. This was a popular colour as it implied purity, cleanliness and social refinement

Queen Victoria helped popularise the fashion for white when she got married in 1840. She set a royal precedent by choosing a simple ivory satin dress which was very much in the fashions of the day. Earlier royal brides had worn white but their dresses were often woven or heavily embroidered with gold or silver.

Weddings were one of the most festive social occasions. They gave families the chance to show off their wealth and even less well-off couples would make an effort to dress appropriately Not everyone, however, wore white. Widows, older brides and the less well-off often preferred more practical coloured gowns. These could then be worn for Sunday best long after the marriage. They would not have looked out of place as wedding dresses in the 19th century were designed in line with the current fashions.

Wedding dresses are one of the rare types of garment for which the name of the wearer and the date of her marriage are often recorded.
Collection
Accession number
T.5:1 to 3-2000

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Record createdNovember 22, 2001
Record URL
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