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[AC] Mead Art Museum at Amherst College; [HC] Hampshire College Art Gallery;
[HD] Historic Deerfield; [MH] Mount Holyoke College Art Museum; [MH SK] The Joseph Allen Skinner Museum at Mount Holyoke College; [SC] Smith College Museum of Art; [UM] University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMASS Amherst

 


Culture:garment: possibly French; textile: possibly Dutch
Title:gown: robe, stomacher and material
Date Made:garment: 1750-1770
Type:Clothing
Materials:textile: polychrome brocaded silk on a cream satin ground; bleached (white) plain weave linen; silk grosgrain ties; metal closures
Place Made:textile: Holland; Amsterdam (possibly); garment: France; Rhône-Alpes: Lyon; Paris, or Tours or United Kingdom; Great Britain: England; Great Britain: Greater London, London
Measurements:overall: 58 in.
Accession Number:  HD F.356
F-356_detail-05t.jpg

Description:
Woman's silk sating gown consisting of an open, sack back robe, stomacher, and material (HD F.356A), probably for a petticoat that has been taken apart. All are in a matching fabric of cream colored silk satin brocaded with twill Chinoiserie landscape scenes with buildings and birds, and scattered floral sprays in red, green, blue, pink, yellow, and green. The patterned silk is thought to be designed by Pillement. The full length robe opens in front and is pleated in the back, at the neckline. The neckline is trimmed with "fly fringe" (a modern term for what perhaps was originally referred to as knotted fringe), from which robings of gathered self fabric trimmed with matching "fly fringe" trim edge the front opening. The robe is constructed around a fitted linen piece lining the back of the bodice on the inside. The skirt of the robe has a train that extends about 9". Each side of the robe skirt has a hidden opening for access to separate pockets that would have been worn underneath. The set in sleeves are gathered at the top of the armscyes. They end at the elbows where they are trimmed with matching "fly fringe" and end in two gathered flounces. The robe is lined in a plaid silk tabby weave. The vertical (warp) threads in the plaid silk lining have disintegrated in many areas, possibly because of dyes used before it was woven. Two cream colored silk grosgrain ribbon ties at the inside of the bodice (bottom edge?) work with four round metal eyes at the inside hem of the skirts to pull the skirts up into three sections, a characteristic of the polonaise style, first made popular in the 1770s. The stomacher is rectangular in shape, with "fly fringe" and rosette rows across the front, and lined in linen. By the mid-18th century, women's fashionable dress consisted of an open robe worn with a petticoat. The sides of the bodice did not always meet in the middle; frequently a triangular insert known as a stomacher was employed to fill in the gap. Stitched or laced to the open robe, the practical function of stomachers was often buried beneath layers of applied decoration, including trim, metallic embroidery, or patterned fabric. For participants in Colonial Revival balls held during the 20th century, a reproduction stomacher was fairly easy to make, though with perhaps a more modern aesthetic. Selvage width is 33.25," inclusive of the 1/4" seam allowances in the robe skirt. The extreme width of the silk sees the design repeated across three times in a straight repeat, using two different colorways. The vertical repeat of the brocaded pattern is about 19".

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