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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:textile: English
Title:gown; robe a l'anglaise
Date Made:textile: 1730-1735; garment: ca. 1780 with later alterations
Type:Clothing
Materials:textile: polychrome, supplementary weft-patterned (brocade) silk; plain weave linen bodice lining
Place Made:United Kingdom; Great Britain: England; Great Britain: Greater London, London
Measurements:selvage width: 20.25
Accession Number:  HD F.336
Credit Line:Mrs. Helen Geier Flynt

Description:
Woman’s one-piece robe a l’anglaise with altered apron-front skirt, made from a densely patterned brocaded silk lampas (ground and binding warps with supplementary weft patterned floats (brocade) and additional au lance ground wefts in two shades of green plus one off-white). The pattern consists of large, brocaded flowers (each are about 5” x 5”). There are large floating mounds of the au lance wefts in two shades of green, with oversized brocaded flower buds and three-part, chinoiserie-inspired buildings, diagonal fences, and a brown/gold meandering tree/vine with small, dense two-color green leaves in the background running the length of the pattern. Note: There is not the detailed points rentres (or dovetailing) shading on this silk. The only suggestion of shadowing comes from two shades of one color next to each other. Selvage width is 20.25”. The repeat is 2x across the fabric width. Only the large flowers (blues and pinks) change colorways. The vertical repeat is 21.75”. The current construction of the gown probably dates to themid-1770s. The apron front (two selvage widths) has been unstitched at the center front selvage edges. Ties that are old, but probably not original, wrap the apron front around the wearer’s waist. The gown bodice doesn’t meet center front; it would be filled in by a stomacher or triangular-shaped, decoratve insert. Patterned silks such as this example were some of the costly fabrics availabe for dress and furnishings in the 18th century. It could take many months to design, prepare the loom, and weave them. English and European centers of 18th-century silk weaving included Spitalfields (East London), Lyon (298 miles from Paris), and Amsterdam and Haarlem (Holland). There is evidence that these costly fabrics were imported and worn in New England, but in far fewer numbers.

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