Dress fabric

ca.1745 (woven)


height: 61 cm, width: 53.5 cm

T.134-2012 T&F

loom width, cream silk brocaded in shades of brown, Spitalfields, ca. 1745

Panel of silk dismantled from a dress; it retains traces of pleats from a waist. It is a loom width, with a seam near the lower edge attaching an addition small section of silk that allows the pattern repeat to be seen complete. There is a narrow line of silk with a cut edge stitched to the top, suggesting another panel was joined previously, and has been cut off. A short length of linen tape is attached to the reverse. The silk is cream in plain weave brocaded in four shades of brown, with self-coloured ground weft floats creating delicate floral sprays in the background. In the foreground the brown brocading creates floral swags across the width of the silk.

Lightweight silks like this with a floral pattern brocaded in delicate colours were very fashionable for women's gowns in the early 1740s. The technique of brocading allowed different colours to be introduced into the pattern of a fabric in specific, sometimes very small areas. It was a more laborious process for the weaver than using patterning wefts running from selvedge to selvedge, but the resulting effect could be much more varied and lively.

Given by Mrs Gabriella Kay Robertson

Location: In Storage

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