Caraco and Petticoat thumbnail 1
Caraco and Petticoat thumbnail 2
+2
images
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
Not currently on display at the V&A
On short term loan out for exhibition

Caraco and Petticoat

ca. 1770-1780 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This young woman's jacket (called a caraco in the 18th century) and matching petticoat are made of painted and dyed cotton fabric (chintz) produced in south-east India's Coromandel Coast for export to Europe in about 1770. The design is entirely hand-drawn, not printed. The red and blue colour scheme is achieved using the complex processes of resist-dyeing (for the blue) and mordant-dyeing (for the red), which also involve repeated stages of bleaching and rinsing. This fabric would have been brought to England by the East India Company as part of the immense trade in Indian textiles that was taking place. It was evidently made up into this stylish ensemble in about the 1770s.

The caraco is ingeniously constructed. One T-shaped piece of cloth forms the back and the sleeves, which fold over the arm, forming a raglan sleeve in the front. The back is shaped using tucks rather than the more usual pleats or seams.


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

  • Jacket
  • Petticoat
Materials and Techniques
Cotton, painted and dyed
Brief Description
F, hand-painted Indian cotton, 1780s, English; Textile



Physical Description
Woman's jacket ('caraco') and matching petticoat of cotton fabric, resist- and mordant-dyed (chintz).
Credit line
Given by Sir Luke Fildes KC
Object history
RF 1927/4601.



The garments were displayed in the Costume Court from 1962 to 1979 and the Asia Galleries.
Production
The cotton fabric was made in South-east India for the Western market, and made up in England.
Summary
This young woman's jacket (called a caraco in the 18th century) and matching petticoat are made of painted and dyed cotton fabric (chintz) produced in south-east India's Coromandel Coast for export to Europe in about 1770. The design is entirely hand-drawn, not printed. The red and blue colour scheme is achieved using the complex processes of resist-dyeing (for the blue) and mordant-dyeing (for the red), which also involve repeated stages of bleaching and rinsing. This fabric would have been brought to England by the East India Company as part of the immense trade in Indian textiles that was taking place. It was evidently made up into this stylish ensemble in about the 1770s.



The caraco is ingeniously constructed. One T-shaped piece of cloth forms the back and the sleeves, which fold over the arm, forming a raglan sleeve in the front. The back is shaped using tucks rather than the more usual pleats or seams.
Bibliographic References
  • Avril Hart and Susan North, 'Historical Fashion in Detail. The 17th and 18th centuries', London, V&A, p.94 (detail and line drawing).
  • Crill, Rosemary, Chintz: Indian Textiles for the West, London, 2008.Plate 76, p. 126
Collection
Accession Number
T.229&A-1927

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record createdJanuary 6, 2004
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